Nelson, 33, is a 10-year veteran. The rest of the Raiders’ key receivers – Amari Cooper, Martavis Bryant, Ryan Switzer, Seth Roberts, Griff Whalen – average just over 25 years of age and four years in the NFL.
So when those receivers ask Nelson a question, he happily tells them what they should do.
“Especially early on when it was hard for me to teach the offense because I didn’t know it,” said Nelson, who signed a two-year contract with the Raiders on March 15. “I was still learning and still trying to figure out what the coaches wanted as a whole and how they wanted things ran certain ways. Once I started feeling that out, I’ve been able to have more conversations with guys and really get into the fine details of maybe some suggestions or ways to help them create more separation which is what we’re all trying to get at the end of the day.”
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Nelson has brought a veteran leadership to the Raiders that quarterback Derek Carr marvels about. There’s something else that’s less noticed, Carr said:
“He’s faster than I thought. Nothing about him surprises me. He raises the level for all those guys.”
Raiders coach Jon Gruden calls Nelson a “real good influence behind the scenes.”
Nelson’s job is secure, but he said he’s keenly aware of the competition for a spot on the regular-season roster and said he’ll do anything he can do to help his group.
“Just keep reminding them after practice in meetings or whatever that you can’t ride the roller-coaster. For as much as we practice in training camp, you’re going to have good days, you’re going to have bad days. At the end of the day, it might not be the result you want but you’ll be comfortable with it because you took care of what you could control.”
Jordan spent his first 10 seasons with the Green Bay Packers, who will be in Oakland on Friday night for a preseason game. He’ll see some playing time against the Packers, but more than anything, he’s looking forward to seeing his ex-teammates.
“It’s kind of enjoyable as a preseason game so we can have some fun and get in and get out,” Nelson said.
Green Bay Packers at Oakland Raiders
Time/When: 7:30 p.m. Friday
TV: NFL Network, 8 p.m. (in progress)