Mack Hollins has been given a real opportunity with Raiders. He’s grabbed ahold and ran away with it.
Day two of joint practices with the Patriots saw more of the same from Davante Adams. The All Pro receiver lit up Patriots defenders once again for several touchdowns. That’s what we expect from him. More of a surprise has been the emergence of Mack Hollins.
The fifth year receiver had a couple big time touchdown catches of his own in Wednesday’s practice versus Patriots defenders.
The first came on the next play right after Derek Carr found Adams for a long touchdown up the right sideline. Hollins said ‘I can do that’ and beat his man on a post route for a long score.
Adams had a couple jump ball fade touchdowns in seven-on-sevens, so a bit later Hollins showed his corner-of-the-endzone abilities running a corner route and making an over-the-shoulder grab.
It’s fun to watch these two work. While there’s no mistaking one for the other in terms of talent level, you’d never guess they have had such vastly different careers. It’s all Hollins can do to emulate Adams in an attempt to see a fraction of the targets Adams gets.
“He’s a great resource to use,” Hollins said of Adams. “Because he don’t miss. He really don’t miss. It’s crazy. And in my mind, I’m like ‘I’m going to do that same move,’ and then I do it and it doesn’t work like that. Because I’m not Davante and Davante’s not me. So, learning how to take the little knowledge that he gives me and turn it into my game and use it for my game is big and going back to having extra days, that’s extra days sitting next to him and just hearing how breaks down one-on-one and hearing how he breaks down a defense or leverage of a defender. That’s been big for my game.”
Even bigger for Hollins’ chances to break out with the Raiders has been the situation he entered into with the new coaching staff.
Hollins came over as a free agent this offseason with a grand total of eight career starts. He entered an open competition for the third receiver spot this offseason with several other receivers, many of whom have quite a few more career starts than him.
A lot of coaches *say* there’s an open competition at a position when there really isn’t. In the end they just go back to the guys they liked before the supposed competition began. Jon Gruden was notorious for that.
Based on what we’ve seen thus far in the Josh McDaniels era, when he says open compeition, he really means it.
Mack Hollins is proof of that. He’s taken full advantage of his opportunity and put himself in position to potentially start for this team.
“A big reason why I came to Las Vegas was to have an opportunity to compete as a receiver as well as in the kicking game,” said Hollins. “So, every day, I came out it was a competition. I continue to do that. I don’t think any spot is locked at all except number 17 (Davante Adams) and number 13 (Hunter Renfrow). Every other role after that is competed for every day. All I can do is compete for them.”
One of the others who were initially in the competition – Demarcus Robinson – was released, The others who will be playing roles in the offense are Tyron Johnson and Keelan Cole. All of whom bring something different to the table.
What Hollins seems to have done is prove to the staff that he brings enough versatility and playmaking ability to consistently run with the first team and earn more looks.
He said he hasn’t discovered anything new in his game that has put him in this position. Which, if that’s true, suggests it was this coaching staff who discovered his abilities. It’s a credit to him that he was able to take full advantage of it.
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