Raiders coach on how Michael Mayer has handled first NFL camp

Aug 23, 2023, 2:30 PM

Tight end Michael Mayer #87 of the Las Vegas Raiders catches a pass for first down against the Los ...

Inglewood, CA - August 19: Tight end Michael Mayer #87 of the Las Vegas Raiders catches a pass for first down against the Los Angeles Rams in the first half of a NFL pre-season football game at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood on Saturday, August 19, 2023. (Photo by Keith Birmingham/MediaNews Group/Pasadena Star-News via Getty Images)

(Photo by Keith Birmingham/MediaNews Group/Pasadena Star-News via Getty Images)

On the first day of Raiders training camp with pads, Michael Mayer lined up against defensive end Maxx Crosby.

“My technique was all over the place. I hadn’t been hit in four, five, six months. And he showed it and I got embarrassed. And I think that was definitely my ‘welcome to the NFL moment’,” Mayer told the media earlier this week.

But since then, the Las Vegas Raiders rookie tight end said he’s improved, especially going up against Crosby in practices.

“He’s making me better every single day I’m out there,” Mayer said.

And others are noticing that improvement, too. One of which is his coach, Josh McDaniels. The second-year Raiders coach called Mayer a sponge who’s been working really hard.

“Tight end is a tough position to play right off the bat and do everything the way that it needs to get done at a winning level,” McDaniels told the media Wednesday. Because you have to run block, pass protect, run routes, get open, difference between man and zone, different coverages, read the safety – there’s a lot of things that go into that, so he’s hard at work at it, making progress every day.”

McDaniels was even happy with Mayer’s response after his first encounter with Crosby.

“He had an experience that some would call it fun, some would call it educational, some would call it not so good. But that’s part of the NFL, you go through it,” McDaniels said. “I’d rather it happen in a practice than a game. I thought his response that day was really good, didn’t let it get him down, didn’t walk around with his head down. So, we’re all going to get the short end of the stick every once a while in this league. There’s really good players on both sides of the ball on every play, so you’re going to win some, you’re going to lose some. But he’s very resilient, tough and has had a great attitude since he’s been here.”

The Raiders play their final preseason game on Friday when they travel to Dallas to take on the Cowboys. Kickoff is set for 5 p.m. PST.

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