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Raiders wearing heady expectations on training camp report day

NAPA, Calif. -- Marquette King showed up rocking a green Power Ranger mask, with a Kick Squad tank top ... just in case you forgot he’s a punter.

Sean Smith was wearing a baseball cap with “SMITH” emblazoned in gold across the front ... just in case you forget the new cornerback’s last name.

Reggie Nelson, who is entering his 10th NFL season but first with the Oakland Raiders, adorned the title of “fine wine” to himself ... just in case you forgot the Raiders were training in the heart of wine country.

The rest of the Raiders, who officially reported to the Napa Valley Marriott Hotel & Spa on Thursday for the start of training camp, well, they wore the welcomed expectations of a team projected to be a contender in 2016 ... just in case you forgot the Raiders have not had a winning season or playoff appearance since 2002.

“Coach [Jack] Del Rio, Coach [Ken] Norton, those two are masterminds,” Raiders cornerback TJ Carrie said of the Raiders' head coach and defensive coordinator. “We added a lot of pieces to the puzzle. Now we have to see how they all fit.”

Indeed, many observers saw the Raiders as “winning” free agency with the signings of Nelson to replace the retired Charles Woodson at free safety, Smith to solidify things at cornerback, outside linebacker Bruce Irvin and left guard Kelechi Osemele.

But Nelson did not participate in any of the Raiders’ offseason practices with an undisclosed injury and was coy when asked if he would be a full-go at Friday’s opening camp practice.

“I’ve been 100 percent; you just haven’t seen me,” he said with a laugh. “I’m ready, man, I’m going by, doing the process, continue getting out there on the field and when coach says that he wants me full-go, that’s when it happens ... so when I find out, y’all will find out.”

Nelson’s eight interceptions last season with the Cincinnati Bengals were tied for the league lead. And while he has playoff experience, no homegrown Raiders do.

“As long as we’re winning, that’s the only thing I care about -- getting the chemistry down with the team,” Nelson said.

The Raiders improved from 3-13 in 2014 to 7-9 in 2015.

“I mean, that’s last year,” Nelson said. “It’s a new team. I mean, there’s no way in the world [the younger players] should be worrying about last year. What they need to do is focus on this year and Day 1 of camp is coming up, so that’s how it starts -- start from scratch.

“That’s why we’re here, for camp, to start from scratch.”

And to wear those heady expectations.

Following are some of my tweets from report day…