The Oakland Raiders took the field Wednesday afternoon for the only training camp practice of the day and continued their preparation for the Chicago Bears match-up this weekend. The Silver and Black continued to work with their position coaches on technique and came together as a team for special teams' drills and scrimmage. Saturday the players will be contending with a Mike Martz-directed offense and a defensive unit led by veteran DE Julius Peppers.
Playing a Mike Martz-coached St. Louis Rams team in the Super Bowl after the 2001 season, veteran DE Richard Seymour is not fazed by the match-up on Saturday and views the game as an opportunity for the defense to do the job it sets out to do every week. "In any offense if you can disrupt the rhythm of the offense, jam the receivers, disrupt the quarterback, I think you can be successful," said Seymour. "Our job on defense is to get the ball back so if we can jam the receivers, disrupt their timing, put the linemen in the quarterbacks' face I think we'll be successful."
Head Coach Tom Cable said that Martz's play-calling involves a wide variety of passing plays. "They are going to throw it around; Mike Martz is going to spread the ball and throw it all over the place." Coach Cable said. "We will have to be dialed in a little bit in terms of coverage and trying to rush the passer."
Coach Cable said that the addition of veteran DE Julius Peppers has changed the Bears front seven dramatically. "I think that with the addition of Julius Peppers, particularly our first group will have to deal with him and Tommie Harris and the good linebacker crew," Coach Cable said. "So the front seven I think will be a very good test for us early in that football game."
On Saturday, T Mario Henderson (pictured) will be matched up against the strong defensive play of Peppers. "It's going to be a good [match-up]. I've been hearing everyone is talking about it, but for me it's just another time for me to see where I'm at and where we're at as a team," said Henderson. "I look forward to it as a good challenge. Going against him, I can't let up off him. It's a great challenge for me. He's a great player, probably one of the best defensive ends to play in the league and to have the opportunity to go against him is a good thing for me."
Although the teams are still in the preseason, Henderson prepares for each game the same way. "First you take it like it's a real game," Henderson said. "You know even though it's a preseason game depending on what game it is I might play a certain amount of series. I just take it as getting the rust off. Even though it's the preseason, you want to get your mind ready and your body focused for a regular season game."
As the team gets further into the preseason, the former 3rd round draft pick's mentality remains constant. For the fourth-year man out of Florida State, the only difference between preseason games is the amount of playing time in each contest. "The only thing is as you get further in the preseason you play less, you have to be sharper mentally because you're not playing as much," explained Henderson.
The game against the Bears is especially important for rookie WR Jacoby Ford. As his first opportunity to prove himself in a game, Ford looks to translate the things he has learned during training camp onto the playing field. "I think I worry more about doing my job, focus on everything I do in practice so I can go out there and do everything right. I want to get myself open and put myself in the best position to make plays," said Ford.
In order to mentally prepare for his preseason debut, Ford visualizes the game. "I visualize myself making plays and just going out there and doing it. I study the playbook too, that can definitely help out a lot," said Ford.
The Raiders take on the Chicago Bears in their second preseason game of 2010 this Saturday on KTVU FOX 2 with kickoff set for 5:30 p.m. PT. They will have one more practice Thursday afternoon before heading to the Windy City Friday.