A lot of good has come from the Raiders hosting the San Francisco 49ers this week.
The two former cross-bay rivals competed at a high level Thursday and Friday for one sole purpose: to get better. It's hard to argue there's a better opponent for the Silver and Black to practice against, considering the 49ers had the No. 1 ranked defense in 2022, plus weapons in all three phases of the ball.
"I compliment the 49ers organization, their coaching staff, their guys," Head Coach Josh McDaniels stated Friday morning. "[I]t's hard to simulate that kind of work. You can't simulate it on your own, so to be able to work together and get as much fundamental technique work, one-on-ones, competitive and situational work, and do it the way we did it.
"These are always spirited, but clean. I think everybody did the right thing, and I think both teams had an opportunity to improve. I give Kyle [Shanahan] and John [Lynch] and their group a ton of credit for this, and we would do it again with them."
Even with a few high intensity moments between the two teams, cooler heads prevailed in both practices. The common goal of improving was not lost on either sideline.
"I think there [were] a lot of repetitions by both sides where both teams did some things very well and the other team's going to learn from them," said McDaniels. "That's kind of how I look at these practices. I don't really try to worry about who's got the advantage in terms of winning the practice or the period. I just really focus on each individual play or period and what the focus is."
"We saw a lot of things last night in the film that we needed to do better as a football team," he added. "I think our guys had great intentionality today in terms of like, let me try to fix something that I can control. We'll see what the tape shows, but there's always going to be things to fix."
While these practices provides the chance for stars like Jimmy Garoppolo and Fred Warner to compete against each other, it's also a huge opportunity for younger players to try and stake their claim for the 53-man roster. Jakobi Meyers remembers being in the same boat as an undrafted rookie in New England.
"Nobody's going out there sticking their toe in the water. Everybody's diving in trying to be the best, competing with them, competing with ourselves," Meyers said after joint practices concluded. "A lot of people are just showing us how talented they are, so I appreciate them for working hard."
After a week of two joint practices, the Raiders and 49ers will close things out with the first preseason game of the year in Allegiant Stadium. Despite the game not being counting towards the Raiders' regular season record, it will be vital in the beginning evaluations for both teams' 2023 rosters.
"Soak it in," Meyers tells teammates battling for their spot.
"My only advice would be just enjoy it and just let the moment come to you. There's a lot of things you can't control that we try to control, and that usually ends up in a bad situation. So, go out there, be free."
Download the Raiders + Allegiant Stadium app to be the first to know the latest about the Silver and Black with push notifications and livestream alerts straight from the team.
The Raiders hit the practice field at Intermountain Health Performance Center with the San Francisco 49ers one last time before their preseason matchup.