The Oakland Raiders were back on the field Sunday at their Napa Valley Training Complex, taking part in another padded practice.
After the afternoon session, Head Coach Jack Del Rio addressed the media and touched on a variety of subjects, including his approach to preseason games as well as his thoughts on Raiders legend Tim Brown being inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
APPROACH TO THE PRESEASON
The Raiders begin their preseason slate Friday night with a matchup against the St. Louis Rams at O.co Coliseum, and after practice Head Coach Del Rio spoke about his approach to the preseason, specifically the first game.
"There won't be any game-planning, not for the first preseason game. We'll basically just pair down things that we've installed and try and really evaluate the players, their ability to play fast and some of the basic concepts that we want to be able to utilize. We're not trying to outsmart the opponent in this game. We're trying to get a real thorough evaluation of the people we have and what they're capable of and really looking to kind of settle some of the battles at different positions."
GEARING UP FOR GAME DAY
Since taking over in Oakland, Head Coach Del Rio has constantly preached about the importance of gearing up the team's work so they are peaking for game day.
He stressed this point again Sunday, less than a week before the team's preseason opener.
"Everything we do is geared toward performing well on game day. We want to have that heightened sense of urgency. We want to be able to take what we've been able to teach and accomplish on the practice field and be able to apply that in a game setting."
TODAY WAS A GOOD DAY
The team has their league-mandated day off Monday, and leading up to the off day, Head Coach Del Rio has been pleased with the work his players have been putting in.
"We had a great first week or so of camp. I think a lot of productivity – a lot of energy and effort – but a lot of productivity. I think we grew as a football team this week. We went through a lot of different situations. Fundamentally, the teaching that went in, the work and the sacrifice and the coming together and understanding how we're going to apply ourselves within the system. I think all of that was really excellent. Good first week."
CONSISTENCY IS CRUCIAL
While Head Coach Del Rio has been pleased with what he's seen from the Raiders through the first week of Training Camp 2015, he still wants to improve the team's consistency going forward.
"We're looking to flatten it out and be more consistent on a daily basis. So where we're seeing ups and downs, we want to see the up at a high level and be maintained and be consistent with it. So that's what we're striving for. Yeah, if we fall down, we get up. If we stumble, we get back on track. So we're going to continue to do that, hit the reset button where we need to, but we're looking to sustain excellence, looking to sustain a high level of play and that's what we're striving for."
CONGRATULATIONS, TIM BROWN
Raiders legend Tim Brown was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio, Saturday, and during his remarks to the media Sunday, Head Coach Del Rio was asked about his thoughts on Brown's induction.
"Well, he certainly earned it. A terrific player, a great Raider, and I'm really happy for him. I think everybody that's associated with the Raiders is proud to have another member going into the Hall of Fame."
EVALUATING THE WIDE RECEIVERS
Amari Cooper and Michael Crabtree have been as advertised, but even outside that pair, Head Coach Del Rio has been happy with what he has seen from the wide receivers group as a whole.
"I like the approach. I think we've had some outstanding catches and separation and attention to detail. I think we started fast in that area with the receivers connecting with the quarterbacks. I think having that early time helps a little bit, and then it hasn't been as consistent throughout the week as it needs to be. There are a lot of numbers there to work through for us, so that will be a good position to evaluate. Getting some game reps against other people will be good for us and seeing how that position continues to grow. We feel like we have some options there; some guys that maybe will develop beyond what they've been in the past."