Head Coach Del Rio Wraps Up Camp, Looks Ahead To Minnesota

The Oakland Raiders held their last practice of Training Camp 2015 Thursday afternoon at their Napa Valley Training Complex.

The team flies to Minnesota tomorrow to take on the Vikings, and upon their return will once again practice at their Alameda, Calif., facility.

Following Thursday's practice, Head Coach Jack Del Rio addressed the media and spoke about the conclusion of camp, as well as the team's upcoming matchup with the Minnesota Vikings.


When reflecting upon his team's time in Napa, Head Coach Del Rio said that he was pleased with the work that was put in, but acknowledged there was still much more ahead of them.

"It's been very productive. The time up here has been very productive. The facilities here are really good with us being this close, and it allows us an environment where we can be very productive teaching and getting our work in on the field and in the meetings."


In a bit of a scheduling oddity, the Raiders play the Vikings in the preseason and then match up with them once again in the regular season.

Head Coach Del Rio spoke about game planning for the Vikings, knowing that they will match up again in a few months.

"It's not ideal to play a preseason game and then play that team later in the year. Every now and then it happens with the scheduling. Both teams have the same body of work to go through and will have the same experience, so it's not an advantage for one or the other. It's almost like playing a divisional opponent in that you're going to play them again."


Head Coach Del Rio was asked about the changing culture in Oakland, and he said that in addition to changing the philosophy of the team, he wants everything they do to be "high performance."

"We're looking to be high performance in everything we do, coming up here and having a productive camp, coming out with great energy, learning what it looks like, how we're going to practice, how we're going to treat each other, how we're going to meet, all the fundamentals of what we want to do on the field, how we shed blocks, how we block combination blocks, how we tackle, all the little fine points of coming together as a football team, it's all important. It all matters."


Cornerback Neiko Thorpe is another young player competing for snaps in the Raiders secondary.

Following practice, Head Coach Del Rio spoke about what he sees from the former Auburn Tiger.

"Neiko is a good-sized guy, very physical. I think he's grown in the time we've been working with him in terms of mental discipline, keeping his eyes where they belong and playing with the kind of leverage that we're looking for. I think those are areas where we're trying to grow him and help him improve, but he's long, he's fast and he's very competitive."


The Raiders are now entering their second game of the preseason, and as the team continues progressing through the preseason, Head Coach Del Rio wants to see continued improvement from his group as a whole.

"We want to continue to improve as a team. We want to take a step forward. This will be our first opportunity to play on the road. It's going to be imperative that we understand what a business trip looks like, how we conduct ourselves, how we meet, how we go through meetings at the hotel, just how we do things leading up to the game."


During his press conference, Head Coach Del Rio was asked his initial thoughts on the Vikings and what they do well as a football team.

"I think they're a football team that's on the uptick. I know Coach [Mike] Zimmer. I think he does a really good job. I think he's done a nice job building a foundation there, like us, I think they have a young quarterback they're excited about. It's an emerging football team I would say."

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