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Notebook: DeAndré Washington Gearing Up For First NFL Home Game

Posted Sep 16, 2016

The Oakland Raiders were back on the field Friday afternoon at their Alameda, Calif., facility.

Running Back DeAndré Washington

The last few months have served as a checklist for rookie running back DeAndré Washington.

Rookie minicamp? Check.

Training camp? Check

First regular season game? Check.

So what’s next on the docket? Playing his first regular season game at home in front of the crowd at the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum.

“It’s something I’m definitely looking forward to,” said Washington. “I think our fans, when they come out, they come out in full effect, so just being able to get the first game of the regular season, man, it’s something I’m really looking forward to.”

Washington enjoyed an impressive preseason, and then turned in a quality effort in the Week 1 win over the New Orleans Saints, rushing the ball five times for 14 yards, as well as hauling in a pass from Derek Carr.

The rookie running back has grown more and more comfortable with what offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave has asked him to do, but with just a few months of NFL experience to his name, every day serves as a learning experience.

“I definitely feel like I belong here, but like I said, it’s a process,” Washington said. “There’s always work to be done, no matter how comfortable you get, how good you feel. Even the greatest find something to get better at every day. I definitely feel like I can play on this level, but there’s still definitely a lot of room for improvement.”

The Raiders rushing attack was impressive in the season opener at the Superdome, finishing the day with 167 yards on the ground, and a trio of touchdowns.

It was certainly a strong way to start the 2016 campaign for the Raiders backs, but fundamental to that success was a good week of practice, and Washington believes the group enjoyed another good week of practice this week, heading into their matchup with the Atlanta Falcons.

“I think we had very good practice this week,” Washington said. “[Offensive coordinator] Coach [Bill] Musgrave and the rest of the offensive coaches put together a great game plan, and so, I think it comes down to execution at this point. It starts at practice. It just doesn’t happen on Sundays where you have big games, your preparation that goes into the week is what makes Sunday a lot easier.”

The trio of Raiders running backs will look to continue their hot start Sunday afternoon at the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum, and the fact that each of the backs brings a unique skillset to the table makes them all the tougher to game plan against.

“I’m glad I don’t play defense,” Washington quipped.  “I think that’s what makes our room as special as it is. Every guy brings a little something different to the table. It’s a little harder to game plan, it’s not just like everybody is the same type of back. We’re all different in our own way, and I think that’s what makes our room special.”

Injury Report:

T – Austin Howard – Ankle – Full

C – Rodney Hudson – Knee – Full – Questionable

G – Gabe Jackson – Knee – Full – Questionable

RB – Taiwan Jones – Concussion – Full – Questionable

T – Matt McCants – Knee – Did not participate – Doubtful

T – Menelik Watson – Groin – Did not participate – Doubtful

Notable:

-Menelik Watson and Matt McCants were both sidelined once again during Friday’s practice, and following the session, both players were officially designated as “questionable” for Sunday’s clash with the Falcons.

-While Watson and McCants are both likely out of the Week 2 matchup, tackle Austin Howard was once again a full participant in Friday’s practice, just as he has been all week.

-Friday was dubbed a “Throwback Fast Friday” by Head Coach Jack Del Rio, and Hall of Famer Willie Brown really embraced the spirit of the day, wearing his Grambling State jersey out to practice.

-Kevin Harlan and Rich Gannon will be on the call for Sunday’s game, and the former Raiders quarterback took in practice Friday, even spending a few minutes chatting with former teammate Sebastian Janikowski.

Quotable:

Head Coach Del Rio on carrying 52 players on the active roster:

“I’d like to have them all. (laughter) We’re making it work. I’d defer to [General Manager] Reggie [McKenzie] on that, let him handle that one. But, we’ll coach who we have.”

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