Raiders Head Coach Tom Cable gets ready to address the team after Monday's morning practice. Photo by Tony Gonzales.
The Oakland Raiders took the practice field in Napa, Calif. for the first two-a-day since the win against the Dallas Cowboys last Thursday. Players suited up in full pads for a cold and foggy morning practice. Position coaches worked with the team on technique before transitioning to short yardage and scrimmage drills. The intensity of practice has not waned despite the team being immersed in the preseason. "I thought [practice] was supposed to get lighter," said S Mike Mitchell. "But today we were in full pads going live." LB Trevor Scott agreed with Mitchell. "Right now we're still in the grind of camp," Scott said. "We're still doing two-a-days and we're focusing on us."
As the Raiders begin week three of Training Camp 2010, the team is using the success of the first preseason game to build confidence, inspire continued improvement, and maintain a winning attitude. After a come-from-behind 17-9 victory against the Cowboys, the players know they can execute on the playing field. "I think it helps build confidence knowing we can come from behind, knowing we can hold teams to low points, and the offense knows we don't need to score 30 points a game," Mitchell explained. "If they can just get a reasonable amount of points, we should be able to win every game and that's going to give us good confidence going into the real season."
The players emphasized how important the first preseason game is for confidence building. "It's huge. I don't care that it's preseason. I don't care about that," said Scott. "We still have to win. It's still a confidence booster. We see guys can play, we know who can play. It's huge with us coming into Chicago this week."
S Michael Huff explained that playing in the preseason helps remind the players what training camp is for. "It helps a lot because anytime you're practicing and you're going at training camp and beating on each other, you know what it's for, but it's kind of like once you actually win a game and you're playing against somebody else it feels good, it gets your confidence up," said Huff.
The team looks to build on their first victory and achieve continued success throughout the 2010 campaign. "We know how it feels to win so we want to keep that up and we want to do that every week and keep winning," stressed Huff. Learning from their mistakes and recognizing their successes, the Raiders are using this week's practice time to get ready for their Saturday game in Chicago. "See what you did good, learn from that. And see what you did bad and hopefully learn more from [that]," said Mitchell. "Then you can play an even better game going into Chicago. That's our plan."
As the week continues, the practices will focus more on the second preseason game versus the Chicago Bears. "We're starting to focus more on the games. [Practice is] less about us versus the Raiders and more about last week versus Dallas and now it's going to be versus Chicago. [Preparation will] definitely start in this second practice and going into tomorrow," said Mitchell. While the team prepares for the upcoming game, the players are careful to keep each other healthy as the regular season nears. "We're just trying to ease up a little bit and take care of each other more because we're getting closer to the season and you don't want to lose a guy late," Mitchell continued.
The Raiders will take the field for one afternoon practice tomorrow as the team continues to prepare for Saturday's preseason contest against the Bears.