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Winning Begins in the Mind

For the second straight training camp, Head Coach Tom Cable has implemented eight "intensive learning" workouts to help those new and old to the organization grasp the Raiders' team concepts.

With a less physical and more technical and cerebral approach to practices, players are given the opportunity to better understand their responsibilities on the field, as well as focus on the details of the game without so much worrying about their bodies.

With many pass plays being run without the ball being thrown the concept of the learning workouts is to get timing and positioning down before we hear the noise of pads colliding.

Longtime Raider and Pro Bowl cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha says, "We want to get the mental aspects down, so when we actually go full speed we're prepared for it."

The practices introduce the players to the new schemes and strategies and help eliminate typical first week injuries, while introducing game-time situations and plays.

Defensive tackle Chris Cooper, who was with the Raiders from 2001-03, feels that "it's a great way to get your body acclimated to your football movements."

It's evident that players are prepared to put on their pads and use their bodies but Coach Cable needs their minds to be prepared as well. The mind leads the body and that is where the discipline begins.

While training camp may evoke thoughts of immediate hitting on the field, offensive tackle Langston Walker sees it this way, "this helps us before we incorporate the physical aspect of the game and Monday we'll put it all together and see where we're at."

With a mentally sharp and physically fit team and an optimistic and hardworking staff going full throttle, the Raider Nation should look forward to these important steps helping the team make strides to once again rise in the AFC West.

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