The Oakland Raiders continue to practice through the ups and down of a grueling training camp. As players continuously line up at their respective positions and go through their necessary training exercises, one thought always seems to pop into their minds. Soon an 80-player roster will become a 53-player roster. That is the nature of the beast for an NFL training camp. Football isn't looked at as a game anymore, but as a job opportunity to these 80 men competing for a roster spot. And at this point in training camp, the competition has brought the intensity of the practices to a new height.
Raiders Head Coach Tom Cable spoke at his press conference Tuesday about how players will start to separate themselves from their competitors. Coach Cable stated, "That is what the pre-season games are about. We have played the one at Dallas. I am not sure a lot of separation happened. So as we go through camp and the guys who can really handle the fatigue and the grind and handle those things, and still put it out there on game night, ultimately that is how you separate yourself." While players apply themselves not only on the practice field but also in film sessions, preseason games are tryouts in themselves for players to go out and perform to their best ability.
Veteran TE Zach Miller has made it through multiple training camps and has solidified his role on the offensive side of the ball. But Miller sees the competition for jobs as being a positive; the intensity of practices coincides with players' desire to make the team. "We've been hitting each other and fighting against each other every day now for three or four weeks. So tempers flare and guys get into it out here and it gets physical. Players are fighting to make their mark on this team, and it really brings more to our practices," Miller said.
Rookie CB Jeremy Ware says the players are battling with the same opposition repetitively. "Everybody here is fighting for a spot on the team. Right now it's the dog days of camp. We've been out there for three weeks, going against the same guys. You're in a fight for your job," Ware explained.
In his second year as a Raider, C Samson Satele said it best in describing training camp and the competition that it brings. "We are all brothers here. Right now, we have 80 guys on the roster and we need to get that down to 53. It's tough going against your brother, but everyone knows that this is a job, and the best man is going to take his spot," Satele said.
The Oakland Raiders will hit the practice field tomorrow once during the afternoon at their training facilities in Napa Valley.