Raiders continue to work towards their road game in Chicago during Week 4.
The Oakland Raiders were back on the practice field Thursday as preparation for this weekend's trip to the Windy City to face the Chicago Bears continues. The focus is squarely on improving as a football team in all areas.
The defense made a statement on the road in Cleveland last week dropping Browns quarterback Josh McCown five times after not recording a sack in the first two games of the year, and shutting down the Browns running game. Defensive coordinator Ken Norton, Jr., says coverage and pass rush go hand in hand.
"The coverage is very much connected with the rush. A lot of times you hear coverage sack or you hear great rush because the coverage held up, but they have to work hand and hand," Coach Norton said. "I think when you have guys that are covering the way we are, learning the way we are and now you have the rush coming together and working together and learning how to run the games and put the pressure on the quarterback, the combination of the two has always been a plus."
Photos of the Raiders taking on the Chicago Bears through the years.
The defense's greatest leap has come in run defense and are now ranked 13th in the league in yards allowed on the ground. After yielding 126 yards to a pair of Bengals running backs in Week 1, and 102 to a Baltimore duo in Week 2, the Raiders held the Browns to 39 yards rushing in Week 3.
With quarterback Jay Cutler and wide receiver Alshon Jeffrey hobbled by injuries in recent weeks, Chicago has had to rely on one of the more consistent threats in the league. The Bears have a dual-threat runner and receiver in Matt Forte who will present a formidable challenge for the Raiders.
"Forte is a really good football player. When you look at his stats, he's running the ball well, he's catching the ball well, he's a high target for them," Coach Norton said. "It's good to have our good players back to match with their good players. We just plan on going into the game being very competitive."
Forte has rushed for 276 yards on 59 carries and has caught 9 passes for 69 yards so far this season. He has logged over 900 yards rushing every year he has been in the NFL and has recorded five 1,000-yard rushing seasons. Last year, he caught 102 passes.
Regardless of the weapons the Bears plan to bring to bear, Coach Norton says the Raiders have to ready for a tough challenge.
"We have to get ourselves ready to play. We have a lot of improvement to do. We have a big challenge in front of us," Coach Norton said. "Going on the road has always been tough, playing in a hostile environment. And that's our purpose, to improve ourselves and play really good on the road."
Safety Charles Woodson (shoulder) and defensive end Justin Tuck (knee) returned to practice after sitting out yesterday's session and participated on a limited basis. Defensive end Khalil Mack was added to the injury report with a hip injury. He was limited as well. Click here for the full injury report for the Raiders and the Bears.
Song of the Day
Today's song of the day, heard during individual position drills, is Drake's Know Yourself from this year's If You're Reading This It's Too Late album. Another slow groove, autobiographical kind of track. I prefer more upbeat, almost anthem type stuff to get me going. But, as it's been pointed out, I am dating myself with my musical taste.