NAPA -- Veteran defensive end Justin Tuck knows he's being watched. By Raiders coaches, players and fans. That's just fine with Tuck, too, because he knows what he's doing works.

"The biggest thing is just coming here and going about your business, like I always have done," Tuck said.

For Tuck, that means showing teammates, especially the younger players, how to comport themselves in meetings and practices, walking the walk and backing it up on a daily basis.

"That's what people watch," Tuck said. "They don't (listen to) what you say, or rah-rah this or whatever. They watch you by example and how you walk every day."

Hence, Tuck went about his business Friday in the first training camp practice without saying much.

In time, he is hopeful that much of what he has learned during his 10-year NFL career will rub off on his teammates.

That will take time, just as it's going to be awhile before Tuck gets a sense for how good the Raiders are going to be this season.

"The only things you can tell is how excited they are to play the game and if they're in shape or not," Tuck said of the first practice in more than a month. "You really find out what kind of team you're going to have when you throw the pads on. Right now, we're in jerseys and shorts, so everybody's flying around, everybody looks like all-stars."

If Tuck gets his way, the Raiders are going to go from 4-12 each of the past two seasons to playoff contender in short order.


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And, it won't be for lack of trying. Tuck said one of his missions is to change the mindset of a Raiders franchise that has gone 11 straight seasons without a winning record or a playoff berth.

"I'm an underdog story guy, man," Tuck said. "I've always rooted for the underdogs in movies and all this stuff. They act like we don't get paid to play football for some reason.

"We've got a lot of talent on this team. We've got to put it together, obviously, and we've got to exorcise some demons that have been here, some thought processes of some guys that are used to having 4-12 seasons. The mindset has to change. We hear it. I hear all the things that people say and I'm in the business of proving people wrong."