The three-week mark to the start of the 2018 regular season came and went Sunday for 28 NFL teams, however, the Oakland Raiders had to wait a day to reach that milestone for themselves.
The Silver and Black open the 2018 campaign against the Los Angeles Rams under the bright lights of Monday Night Football in just three weeks' time, and with two preseason games, as well as a plethora of roster battles still left to work themselves out, Head Coach Jon Gruden's squad will be busy over the next 21 days.
The first item on that agenda? Preparing for Friday night's game against the Green Bay Packers.
"With the two first preseason games, you don't ever really prepare for them, the third one is like a mock [game], how do we prepare, how do we go about our week, me figuring out my lift schedule with the new coaches, me figuring out when Coach Gruden's going to want to meet with me and what do I need to have ready and done by what point," explained Derek Carr. "So, it's all different. Really, the biggest part of this week, obviously the game you want to go out there and win, but really the most important part is the preparation. How are we going to lay that out? How are we going to do that? And making sure we're on top of that stuff."
While Monday was just that – a Monday – for most of us, the day actually served as a "Wednesday" for the Raiders in advance of their Friday night game against the Packers at the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum.
From practice times to media availability, Carr and the rest of his teammates got a pretty accurate taste of what to expect from an in-season Wednesday once the game planning really begins in earnest in just two weeks' time.
"We're going to look at Green Bay and try to put our team on a Wednesday schedule during the regular season," Head Coach Jon Gruden explained. "This is not going to be exactly how it's going to be because we have 90 men on our roster still, but we did show them some Packer film this morning. We did have a walk thru preparing ourselves for Green Bay, but it's not going to be a whole lot of intense game planning, but we will see the starters play a little bit this week, and we have looked at Green Bay a little bit, yes."
Yes, Friday's game in Oakland will be a preseason affair, but nevertheless, since the third preseason game is largely considered a dress rehearsal for Week 1, you should expect to see Carr, Jordy Nelson and starters on both sides of the ball getting more work than they have in the past two weeks.
So, with Nelson poised to get the most run he's had since he joined the Raiders in March , what will the veteran wide receiver look to accomplish Friday night?
"Same thing I've been doing the last two weeks: continue to get in a chemistry with Derek, continue to get in shape, everything that you can slowly build on towards the season," Nelson said. "It's going to be here quick. It's a decently short week and we'll be into another one next week. Just building that chemistry and that work, to continue to grow through these next couple weeks and throughout the season."
The Silver and Black will be back on the field tomorrow and Wednesday before kicking off against the Packers Friday night at 7:30 p.m.