Notebook: Oakland Raiders Look Ahead To Matchup With San Diego Chargers

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Each NFL team is only guaranteed 16 opportunities.

Sixteen opportunities to secure as many wins as possible, and hopefully earn a berth in the postseason tournament in the process.

The Silver and Black weren't able to take advantage of their last opportunity – a 21-13 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs – and with the defeat, the Raiders no longer have control of their own destiny, as far as the division is concerned at least.

That being said, in the days since falling in primetime to the Alex Smith and the Chiefs, Head Coach Jack Del Rio has been consistent in his messaging, saying that everything the Raiders want to accomplish this season is still in front of them, and that's an attitude that has been adopted by the Raiders players as well.

"Everything out there is still for us to get," said rookie offensive lineman Vadal Alexander. "We learned from that game, and now we're moving on to the next one, and that's San Diego. We said this week is as important as last week, if not more."

Sunday's game at Qualcomm Stadium is indeed an important one; not only because the Raiders desperately want to get back in the win column, but a win against the division rival Chargers will also secure the Raiders a berth in the postseason, their first since 2002.

Although the Derek Carr is now just in his third season under center, the Raiders 25-year-old signal-caller has witnessed the entire spectrum of the franchise's rebuilding process, and the gravity of the team being able to clinch a playoff berth Sunday afternoon is not lost on No. 4.

"Starting 0-10 was not fun, so it makes these moments so awesome," Carr said. "It makes these moments really cool; to already have ten wins and those things. I know for our team, our sole focus is beating the Chargers, because if we don't, then we're still sitting there hoping and wishing. Our focus is just going down to San Diego, and just trying to come out with a win." 

While the possibility of ending a 14-year playoff drought is certainly cause for celebrate, clinching a spot in the coveted postseason tournament isn't the ultimate goal for the Raiders; they're still thinking about winning the division.

Granted, they'll need a little help, but with three games left on the docket, a division title remains within reach heading into the Week 15 clash with the Chargers.

That might be looking a little too far down the road though, as the Silver and Black are channeling the words of Del Rio and staying singularly focused on Philip Rivers and the Chargers.

"We're just a reflection of our head coach," defensive tackle Dan Williams said. "He just tells us to stick to the process. We've been doing it each week. Hey, alright, let's put this behind us. Let's focus on San Diego. There's nothing we can do to change the past; just full-steam ahead."

"Our approach has been very consistent throughout the year about how we approach it and the things that we do," added Del Rio. "We just dig into our preparation, recover from the last game and then get ready to go compete."

Injury Report:

Linebacker – Shilique Calhoun – Knee – Did not participate

Quarterback – Derek Carr – Right finger – Full

Wide receiver – Amari Cooper – Shoulder – Limited

Wide receiver – Michael Crabtree – Finger – Limited

Safety – Karl Joseph – Toe – Did not participate

Defensive Tackle – Darius Latham – Ankle – Limited

Defensive Tackle – Stacy McGee – Ankle – Did not participate

Guard/Tackle – Kelechi Osemele – Knee – Limited

Linebacker – Perry Riley Jr. – Hamstring – Limited

Linebacker – Malcolm Smith – Hamstring – Limited

Notable:

-During his Wednesday press conference, Del Rio mentioned that rookie safety Karl Joseph would not practice, and that was indeed the case, as No. 42 remained sidelined for the day's session after not playing in the team's Week 15 loss to the Chiefs.

-Along with Joseph, linebacker Shilique Calhoun, and defensive tackle Stacy McGee were also unable to hit the field Wednesday at the team's Alameda, Calif., facility.

The good news though, is that defensive tackle Mario Edwards Jr. – who is still technically listed on the Reserve/Injured; Designated for Return list – was back on the field again, going through his second week of practice.

-Wide receiver Seth Roberts certainly has a flare for the dramatic, and before practice Wednesday, the crafty slot receiver spent a few minutes working on hauling in over-the-shoulder catches. As they say, practice makes perfect.

-As the third-string quarterback, one of Connor Cook's duties is to dress up like the opposing team's quarterback, and the rookie was back at it today, donning a glove on his off hand, a la Philip Rivers. He was wearing his usual No. 8 jersey though, and not a No. 17 like the Chargers quarterback.

Quotable:

Head Coach Del Rio shared what he's looking to see from defensive end Mario Edwards Jr. this week during practice:

"Just see him work, see him get himself in game shape and in football shape. Been working hard on the conditioning aspect outside of football, now it's a matter of playing football."

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