LB Darryl Blackstock. Photo by Tony Gonzales.
The Raiders took the field for their 13th official practice of Training Camp 2011. WR Denarius Moore continued to shine, along with many of the young players. "I'm so excited about all of our young talented players, DeMarcus Van Dyke and Denarius Moore," said Head Coach Hue Jackson. "We have some young, skilled players. I could go on and on with [David] Ausberry, Richard Gordon, [Stefen] Wisniewski, and [Joseph] Barksdale. They are all doing a tremendous job considering we've been doing this for three weeks and these guys are all showing up. Not just one of them, but all of them. All of you get to see [Denarius Moore's] plays because he jumps over people, makes all these spectacular catches, and runs with punts. Let me tell you that those guys in the trenches with Barksdale and Wisniewski are getting it done. I'm excited about all of our young players and I'm looking forward to watching them play again this weekend."
The players have made it to the halfway point of camp and both veterans and rookies have to find ways to stay mentally and physically fresh day in and day out. Putting their bodies and minds through the training camp grind takes special care and focus, but the players are up to the challenge as the Raiders chase perfection.
"It's tough to stay physically fresh, but mentally you just have to go out there and prepare yourself the best you can every day and do what needs to be done," said veteran RB Rock Cartwright. "And that's to go out and put in the work and just focus on one day at a time."
Although keeping their bodies healthy is a difficult task, they push through to prove to the coaches that they deserve to wear the Silver and Black. "We know we're all aiming for perfection," said Cartwright. "That's what we're chasing so in order to get that we're going to keep grinding and that's what we're going to do to get where we want to go."
Rookie T Joe Barksdale is going through an NFL training camp for the first time. Despite the physical demands, which he combats with ice tubs and prayer, Barksdale continues to succeed because he knows what an important opportunity he has been given. "Honestly, I'm from Detroit," said Barksdale. "I played football with a lot of people who wish that they could be here right now. I just remind myself of that as I keep going on. There are people who would kill to be out here tired on the football field and that kind of gets me through."
For LB Darryl Blackstock, making it through training camp means doing all the things necessary to keep the body healthy. "You have to do everything," said Blackstock. "I just got out of a deep tissue [massage]. You have to do all that stuff. You have to put the time in. You have to use your break time as rehab time. You have to do the hot/colds, the deep tissues and get what you need to get right for the next day. All that stuff piles up. You learn that as you go. Some of the young guys think you go out to practice, throw your clothes on, and run out. But they're going to learn after a 16-20 game year."
Between individually taking care of their bodies and minds and Coach Jackson's watchful eye, the players are able to continue to put in hard work on the practice field. The team takes the field again Monday afternoon for their 14th practice. Log on to Raiders.com, Facebook, and Twitter for complete coverage.