Tight End Clive Walford
The third preseason game is commonly referred to as the final dress rehearsal for the regular season, with the starting units on both side of the ball getting more run than they had in the previous two games, before tapering it down in the preseason finale.
However, for the Oakland Raiders, the dress rehearsal began earlier in the week, with Head Coach Jack Del Rio electing to use the days leading up to the team's matchup with the Tennessee Titans to simulate what a game week will look in 2016.
"[Head Coach Del Rio] wants to everything to be simulated, just how we would once the season starts, and just get our mindset right for the season," said tight end Clive Walford.
From the way the team meets, to its attitude approaching practice, and even practice itself, this week is serving as a test run for how things will go once the preseason concludes, and the team embarks on the regular season journey.
"The schedule is very different," Walford explained. "We're not in meetings all night. Everything is very precise. There are more periods in practice focused on our opponents and what we have going forward."
As the Raiders march towards the regular season, they find themselves in a unique position, as they not only square off with the Titans Saturday night at the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum, but then also fly to Nashville to face Marcus Mariota and Co. in Week 3 of the regular season.
Because of that proximity in matchups, Walford said that both teams will be using the game as a warmup for the regular season, but also as a chance to get an initial read on their opponents, even if the play calling and scheme will be rather vanilla.
"We do play these guys, so I'm pretty sure on both sides – on Tennessee's side, and our side – we're going to be looking to try to see different tendencies from each other," said Walford. "We do play these guys, so I'm pretty sure on both sides – on Tennessee's side, and our side – we're going to be looking to try to see different tendencies from each other."
While Walford will be using Saturday's bout with the Titans as a first look at a regular season opponent, he was also quick to note that there is a tangible difference between the preseason and regular season, and that success on Saturday don't necessarily correlate to success in late September.
"I'm pretty sure if it works in the preseason, they're going to game plan on how to stop it once we play them," said Walford. "Right now, I'd say it's very limited with the plays, but once we play those guys in Week 3, it'll be all hands on deck."
-After returning to practice Tuesday, undrafted free agent running back Jalen Richard addressed the media before Wednesday's practice, and spoke about his return to the field.
"I'm slowly working my way back into it," Richard said. "I'm going to give it another shot today, see how everything feels, but I definitely feel good enough to be out there, as far as the intensity standpoint of being able to move around and be in pads, and things like that. It's a day-by-day thing."
-Richard adds a new dynamic to the running game, and offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave was pleased to have the rookie rusher back in the mix.
"It's too bad he had a little knee injury the last couple weeks," said Musgrave. "There for a while he was doing something spectacular each and every day in practice, so it's good to have him back out there. It really reminded us of what we've missed the last two weeks, at practice with him not being there."
-After not being a full participant in Tuesday's practice, wide receiver Amari Cooper was back to work Wednesday. Also, safety Reggie Nelson once again worked on the side with trainers during Wednesday's on-field session.
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