Raiders players check into the team's Napa Valley Trainiing Complex. Photo by Tony Gonzales.
Quotes from players arriving at Training Camp 2013, presented by California National Guard, in Napa.
Q: What are your thoughts on your first training camp in Napa?
Kluwe: I’m excited. It’s a bit of a change from Minnesota, but I’m really looking forward to being on the team, competing for a spot, and just trying to make the team better.
Q: How about the history [of the Raiders]? Obviously there’s a lot of that with this organization.
Kluwe: Oh yeah, great history. This is the, ‘Just win, baby!’ Decades of excellence, it’s the Raiders. Everyone knows who the Raiders is. That’s really cool for me to be able help try and contribute to that and help contribute to that legacy.
Q: The group you’re stepping into, the special teams group, you have some explosive returners, you’ve got the best long snapper in the game, and now Bobby April comes over; how are you feeling about the unit as a whole?
Kluwe: Really good. It looks like a really solid special teams unit. Guys want to work hard. My main thing is just how can I fit in and make sure that I’m doing what Janikowski needs me to do and contributing to the team because it’s a team sport.
Q: How are things different this year now that you know what to expect out there at camp and next month?
Bergstrom: That is the biggest difference, just knowing what to expect. There’s not a ton of surprise and with that you can go in with a little more confidence just knowing what’s coming. We have a whole lot of extra time there in the off-season workouts to learn everything. There’s really no surprises coming at you now.
Q: What’s been the impact of adding Tony Sparano to the coaching staff?
Bergstrom: He just brings a whole wealth of knowledge. He’s coaching things I’d never even heard of in my life and all of a sudden you realize how much it helps. He also brings a sort of intensity with him. He’s a fun guy to be around, but when it comes down to business, he’s pretty intense. The whole o-line kind of mimics that character. The o-line coach creates the personality for the o-line and that’s the kind of personality you want is a Tony Sparano personality.
Q: It’s early, but how do you want this team to be defined, the personality, when there are so many moving parts and new pieces coming together?
Bergstrom: I think it’s the typical Raider personality that everybody wants where we want to be a hard working, hard hitting, physical team. I think with the change we made this year, we’ll be able to do that.
Q: Even though the numbers may not have shown it, do you feel like this team is headed in the right direction?
Bergstrom: Absolutely. I think Coach Allen and Mr. McKenzie have done a great job this off-season. I think we’ve done a great job as a team in this off-season during OTAs and mini-camps. I think all the pieces are there now and it’s just a matter of getting them to work together in the right way from this camp.
Q: When you are blocking in front of a talent like
Bergstrom: That’s always a nice thing having a guy back there that can not only do his own thing and make his own holes, but he takes advantage of everything you give him. If you can give him an inch, he’s going to take a mile, which is something that’s great about having Darren back there. He’s a great talent and it just gives you a lot of confidence up front.
Q: What are your perceptions coming in so far?
Jennings: Growing up, I’ve always watched the Raiders. There’s a lot of history, a lot of tradition with this team and I’m proud to be a part of it. I’ve always seen the Raiders as just backyard football. Fourth-and-one we’re going to run power type of team. It’s ugly, it’s nasty, it’s exactly what you think about when you think about football. This is a staple of me. Being a part of that history, I’m ecxited to get out here and have my first camp as an Oakland Raider.
Q: You have some familiarity with Greg Olson; how’s he fitting in as offensive coordinator?
Jennings: Good. A lot of the guys are really respecting him and we’re all buying into the system, studying it in and out. A couple of the guys called each other during the off-season making sure we’re staying abreast and we’re excited with where we’re going to go.
Q: How does this suit your skills as a running back?
Jennings: As a running back, I always see myself as a complete running back – being able to catch the football, protect the quarterback, run the football and see the offense like a quarterback, be able to block like a lineman and catch like a receiver and run like a running back. I think that’s what any running back strives to do. I plan to do nothing short of that.
Q: What are your thoughts entering your first NFL training camp and how did that competition in the SEC prepare you for life in the NFL?
Wilson: It’s exciting. There’s always a rush, whether it’s training camp, whatever it is, it’s important. You have to look at it that way. I’m going to approach it the way I’ve always approached it and that’s come in here and view it as a job.
Q: Who have you talked to out here about what this is going to be like?
Wilson: I came back to Oakland early, about a week, and I was in the office and saw Coach Saunders and talked to him about it. He said it’s the best training camp in the league. It’s right up the road in Napa. So talked with him a little bit about how camp goes as well as Matt [Flynn] who hasn’t been here, but he’s been in other camps. It’s been good. I think that we’re all excited for it.
Q: Did you assign yourself any homework after the off-season program? Is there anything that you thought, ‘I could have done better, let’s work on that?’
Wilson: I always feel like there’s an opportunity to get better. Whether it be throwing the ball, footwork, those kind of things, conditioning, I try to push myself a little bit in the off-season. Also come back here early and try to get acclimated and do some things that I thought were necessary to get myself mentally prepared, that way I can come in and execute day one.