James Cowser's Training Camp Diary: The Conditioning Test And Pre-Camp Workouts

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*Rookie linebacker/defensive end James Cowser will be contributing to Raiders.com throughout Training Camp 2016, discussing his first experience at the team's Napa Valley Training Complex.

Here is his first entry.

By James Cowser

I flew in to Northern California on Friday the 22nd. After I landed the rookies went to the hotel, got some food – it was kind of cool just seeing all the other rookies again, just getting back into the flow of the team. I went back to Utah so I was kind of by myself. Giorgio [Tavecchio] – the kicker – came in for a couple of days, so I got to work out with him, but mostly I was by myself, so it was cool getting back with the team, and back with the guys.

The next day, Saturday, was the bus ride over.

The bus ride wasn't that long – probably about an hour – but there's a lot going through your mind. What's Napa going to be like? What's the weather going to be like? You're just trying to envision everything. How's practice going to play out? What do they want us doing as rookies? But really, the biggest thing on everybody's mind was the conditioning test, because that was the first real thing we had to do.

Sunday, we had meetings. Meetings are cool, you're going to learn. We're used to meetings, we've done a million of them throughout our lifetime, but the conditioning test was the first test, so that's all the guys were talking about. Everyone was talking about how they trained, and how they think they're ready, so that was the big first thing we had to get into – the conditioning test.

There are no surprises really going into it, but at the same time, you want to be sure that you're ready. I've been by myself. I've been running the conditioning test – the program that they gave us – but I've been doing it at altitude, and it was really hard, so I was thinking, "oh no, is it going to be really hard here?" I had all these questions, but then you go out and you just run it, and I was ready – I passed.

The first four days of pre-camp workouts we had, I think they were really good. I've been talking to my roommate [linebacker] Shilique [Calhoun] and he feels the same way. It was like Rookie Minicamp back before OTAs [Organized Team Activities]. It's just good to get your feet wet again, just to get back in rhythm and give you a chance to knock some rust off before the pads come on. Now it's time to practice and go play real football again.

I think there's going to be an added level of intensity tomorrow at our first practice, just from everybody. At the same time, I just have the mindset that football is football. I'm going to give my full effort no matter what, so it doesn't matter if it's training camp, or if it's a game, I'm going to try to do my best, no matter what.  My mindset is, this is football, and I've done it forever. I love this game. Let's go have some fun and get better. 

That's kind of my mindset with training camp in general, just trying to get better every day. There's a lot of practices and a lot of time, so people can get better really fast in training camp, and that's what I want to do.

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