Sunday the Oakland Raiders held one afternoon practice at their training facility in Napa Valley. Just passing the two week mark, fatigue is starting to set in as each and every player fights for the opportunity to wear the Silver and Black in Nashville, Tenn., come September 12. Raiders Head Coach Tom Cable spoke briefly about how the players will fight through the upcoming slough of camp, where a team's identity can be truly defined.
One of the techniques that Cable uses to get the players through the "dog days" of camp is variety and focus. Coach Cable and his staff will change the daily routine while stressing key ideas each day so that the players can fully grasp them. "We have been pretty specific on a task every day, making a big deal out of it and talking about the night before as well as the morning of. Really just giving them something to focus on, and let it become kind of like ground hogs day, and give them something to really wrap themselves around. They can come out and have a purpose for why they are out here and what they are working on," Cable explained to the media at a press conference after practice.
Cable has also highlighted the importance of correct technique in all facets of the game, whether it is tackling ball carriers to the ground or run blocking. Cable's philosophy is that if players can fulfill their own roles, the team's larger goals can be attained. One of the areas that the Oakland Raiders and Coach Cable are determined to fix through perfecting technique is stopping the run. Players are motivated to return to the days when teams feared to run the ball against the likes of Matt Millen and Howie Long.
It seems as if the team has put itself on the right track for reaching that goal, as the Raiders held the Dallas Cowboy's potent rushing attack to just 66 yards on 22 carries in Thursday's preseason contest.
Second-year DE Matt Shaughnessy spoke about the focus that the team has highlighted in stopping opposing teams' rushing attacks. "I feel like the run defense always must be an emphasis. If you can't stop the run, you won't be able to produce sacks or do much else on defense. It all starts with stopping the run," Shaughnessy explained.
The Oakland Raiders hit the practice field tomorrow for two practice sessions at their training camp facility in Napa Valley.