Cornerback David Amerson
The regular season has arrived, and for the members of the Oakland Raiders secondary, they're getting thrown into the proverbial fire at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome this weekend.
The Silver and Black officially open the 2016 campaign Sunday afternoon in New Orleans, and along with it being the first game of the regular season, they're also set to face off against Drew Bees and the vaunted Saints offense that finished first in the NFL last year with 310.6 passing yards per game.
"It's going to definitely be a challenge," said cornerback David Amerson. "I think as a competitor, these are the kinds of games you live for. You're going up against, like you said, the best quarterback, the best passing offense, and as a secondary. If you really want to test yourself and see how good you are right now, and see how good you can be, this is the perfect game to just go out there and just compete balls to the wall and go after them."
Amerson and the rest of the team's revamped secondary will get that opportunity against Brees, who over the past 15 seasons has proven to be one of the most dynamic and versatile quarterbacks in the NFL, earning nine Pro Bowl berths, and winning Super Bowl XLIV.
"[I'm a] huge fan, huge fan of Drew Brees," said quarterback Derek Carr. "He's a Hall of Famer. He's one of the top five most accurate quarterbacks of all-time. Some of the balls that he has thrown, those are throws you dream of and he does it almost every week. I have nothing but respect for him. I think that he's definitely one of the best to ever play this game."
Last season, the Silver and Black entered the regular season with renewed expectations – albeit not as high as this season – but in their Week 1 matchup with the Cincinnati Bengals, the team fell flat, losing at home 33-13. Now with the 2016 season about to kick off, Amerson wants to ensure that the team doesn't replicate last year's result.
"You really want to get off on the right foot, especially for us, coming off a decent season, compared to the last decade here in Oakland, I think it's important for us to go out there and really give the fans something to be excited about," Amerson said. "I think there's been a lot of hype this offseason, a lot of what we can do, and the players we got, the young players, and guys growing into dominant roles, things like that, so I really just want to see everybody go out there and compete, and play to their ability. If you're considered to be one of the top guys, play like that."
T – Austin Howard – Ankle – Did not participate* *
-Wednesday's practice was the first time the Raiders active roster – which currently sits at 52 players – hit the field together. Including the 10-man practice squad, every player was able to participate in the day's session, except veteran tackle Austin Howard.
-The best way to ensure you make interceptions during the game is to practice making interceptions, and that's exactly what the Raiders secondary did Wednesday. During practice, each member of the secondary caught passes and practiced their return skills, emulating what would happen when they were able to haul in an interception during a game.
-Wednesday's practice soundtrack strayed away from the usual hip hop mix, and instead predominantly leaned on rock music, with featured artists including Alice In Chains, Twisted Sister and Def Leppard.
David Amerson discusses Reggie Nelson being named a team captain:
"I think from day one, from what I've seen when he came in here, this guy was just given respect out of the gate. He just came in here and brought all positives to the defense. he's out there communicating all the time, a veteran back there, always in the right spot, always trying to line people up, helping people out if they forget something, just little stuff like that that really makes a difference, especially in the secondary."
Head Coach Jack Del Rio shared his memories of playing in the Superdome:
"It was a fumble recovery that I scooped and scored a touchdown on. I slammed it down and couldn't keep my balance. [I] went down on both knees and just went, 'Yeah!'"
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