The Draft. Free agency. Offseason program. Organized Team Activities. Mini-camps. Training camp. Roster cuts. Practice squad. All done. It's on now. The NFL's 2015 regular season kicks off tomorrow night as the Pittsburgh Steelers take on the New England Patriots. The Oakland Raiders open the season on home Sunday against the Cincinnati Bengals. Today marked the first full regular season Wednesday practice.
Game-planning for the Bengals, a playoff-caliber team, is in full effect. Translating the film study and meeting room work to on field execution is in the works.
The two head coaches in this matchup are no strangers to each other, having worked together (and won a Super Bowl?) with the Baltimore Ravens. Bengals Head Coach Marvin Lewis said that he's happy Raiders Head Coach Jack Del Rio got the opportunity to coach Del Rio's hometown Raiders.
"I'm extremely happy for him now. We've been close friends for a long time, and I'm just glad he has the opportunity to do this and to do this back home," Lewis said. "You go into any opening game, there's going to be changes and so forth that you're going to have to adjust to. But I think that the foundation of what they do is you have to practice it in order to do it, and then evaluate it on tape."
Coach Del Rio is looking forward to facing Lewis and the Bengals. He said that he enjoyed his time coaching with Lewis and that his friend will present a well-coached team this Sunday.
"Marvin and I had a great three years together in Baltimore. I've known him a long time. We've remained good friends. He's a good friend and a really good coach, and looking forward to going against him Sunday," Coach Del Rio said. "Marvin is going to build a team that's tough, fundamentally sound, plays good defense. They want to be physical and that's what they've been able to do."
"You definitely approach every game like it matters, like it counts, but we all know once the regular season starts, things like a little more intense, a little more serious and you seem to just naturally turn it up a notch," running back Taiwan Jones said. "You can just tell by the whole atmosphere, we're down to what we think is our best 53, so we're getting closer. We're pushing each other that much harder, and you have to take advantage of every rep you're getting."
With the beginning of the new season, we have our first official injury report.
Defensive end Benson Mayowa did not participate with a knee injury, wide receiver Andre Holmes (hand), defensive end Justin Tuck (calf) and tight end Clive Walford (knee) were full participants.
Quick Hits from the Practice Field
Defensive line coach Jethro Franklin was very animated and gave a passionate motivational speech to his group.
The defensive backs spent quite a bit of time drilling on how to defend a particular route, with assistant defensive backs coach Rod Woodson emphasizing catching the footballs they get their hands on.
Defensive end Justin Tuck was very vocal at practice today.
Northern California is in the middle of a heat wave as the temperature hit 90 degrees in Alameda today. It's expected to be 75 and partly sunny in Oakland for the game Sunday.
This Sunday's game will air on TV on CBS and on 98.5 KFOX on the radio in the Bay Area. You can watch the game ON DEMAND after its conclusion with NFL Game Pass (formerly Game Rewind).
Song of the Day
DJ Khaled (Feat. Drake, Lil Wayne and Rick Ross) – I'm On One.