Raiders rookie Wisniewski, mates hit pool
LAWRENCEVILLE, Ga. — Rookie center Stefen Wisniewski is trying to learn the Oakland Raiders' offense without a playbook.
And if that's not bizarre enough, the second-round draft pick from Penn State spent a couple of hours Thursday working with teammates at an indoor pool in suburban Atlanta.
Such is life during the NFL lockout.
"It's crazy. I haven't even been out (to Oakland) because the lockout ended the day I was drafted," said Wisniewski, a Central Catholic grad. "So, it's a blessing that (quarterback) Jason (Campbell) has been here to go over the blocking schemes and stuff like that. Getting on the field has been great."
Defensive tackle Richard Seymour, who lives in the metropolitan area, organized the mini-camp.
Wisniewski would likely be working at the Raiders' team headquarters in Alameda, Calif. — alongside his uncle, assistant offensive line coach Steve Wisniewski. Now, Stefan Wisniewski isn't even allowed to talk to him.
"I haven't tried to contact him, and he hasn't tried to contact me," Stefen Wisniewski said. "It's weird, but this is a strange time in the NFL."
Oakland linebacker Quentin Groves can't imagine what it's like to be a rookie under these circumstances.
No official mini-camp. No official offseason training activities.
"It kind of takes away from the rookie experience with the vets yelling at you. 'Hey, rook. You got all that money. Now it's time to show up,"' Groves said. "Now you're talking about these rookies just getting thrown into the fire. Mini-camp, OTAs — those things give you a little bit of a chance to get adjusted to the speed of the game, but if you take that away, all you have is training camp.
"And what if we don't have training camp• They'll just get thrown out there on the field. That'll be tough."
About 25 players participated in the pool session, which was designed as a cross-training recovery workout after two days on the field and in the weight room.
"It's just getting them moving, getting their heart rate up and then we finish off with the (heavy resistance rubber) band work," said Competitive Edge Sports founder Chip Smith, who's hosting the camp with Seymour. "Some of these guys can't swim. That's OK. We put flotation devices on them, but hopefully we teach them a life skill."
Wisniewski can swim, so that's no concern. Getting an understanding of the playbook is a different matter.
That's where Campbell comes in. After playing last year under offensive coordinator-turned-head coach Hue Jackson, Campbell knows what's expected of Wisniewski on the field.
"I tried to go off some of the stuff Hue does in practice and some of the plays I've run before that I know he's real high on," Campbell said. "It's just a way to introduce it to the young guys for the terminology but also to reintroduce to myself and the other veterans."
Linebacker Kamerion Wimbley learned enough from the pool session that he plans to follow the offseason training patterns of Groves and Campbell and make water activities a weekly routine.
"It's a total body workout," Wimbley said. "You work every muscle you can possibly think of. Your heart is pounding hard, and it's a very strenuous cardiovascular workout. There's everything tested in this workout."