The Oakland Raiders held their first practice since recording a 19-17 victory over the Dallas Cowboys Friday night. Players watched the game film and used meetings and practice to correct the mistakes from their first preseason game.
Each preseason game is an important learning experience for the Raiders rookies. Undrafted rookie QB Matt McGloin’s went 4 for 7 for 78 yards in his NFL debut. He connected with rookie WR Brice Butler on a beautiful 30-yard throw and catch for the Silver and Black’s only touchdown.
“It was exciting to get out there and get the first one under your belt,” said McGloin. “I’m able to relax more now. But you definitely learn how fast you need to make adjustments, how much quicker it is than what you’re used to.”
Sixth-round draft pick TE Mychal Rivera soaked up his first NFL-game experience. “It was great. It was great being out there for my first NFL game,” said Rivera. “I had a lot of fun, made some really good blocks. Really got to see how competitive the NFL is. Whether it’s the starters or the backups, everybody is in there fighting for a job. It’s all about competition and it’s all about winning each play.”
Rookie DT Stacy McGee, also a sixth-round selection, started the game for the Raiders. “It was pretty good. It was new. It was exciting,” said McGee. “It was the first time I got to play in an NFL game and I got to start. And I got announced so it was kind of overwhelming at the same time.”
As exciting as the game was for the rookies, and the veterans as well, they know it is important to learn from the film and apply that knowledge to practices and the next game. “Just learn from what you did, mistakes you made and try to improve on them,” said McGloin. “We watched the film the other day and it’s never as good as you think it is and, at the same time, it’s never as bad as you think it is. So you be your own worst critic, you write down all your mistakes and that’s what you try to correct them and make sure you don’t make the same mistakes during the next week.”
Improving each week is the players’ key to earning a spot on the 53-man roster. “That will be the big thing is improving on the things I notice in the game,” said McGee. “That’ll be another thing that will help me make the team.”
“Basically you learn from your past mistakes every week. You never make the same mistake twice,” added Rivera.
Now deep into training camp, with one game under their belt, players are tired and sore, so having games to reflect on and to look forward to each week helps them get through training camp.
“You have something to look forward to now,” said McGloin. “There’s, in some ways, a light at the end of the tunnel. You’re working toward something so you’re preparing all week to try to perform and play well, in our case Friday night against New Orleans. That’s what we’re looking forward to. We’re correcting our mistakes today from the Dallas game and now we’re looking forward to New Orleans and moving on and getting ready for them.”
One thing they will remember from the Dallas game and anticipate for the future is the support they felt from Raider Nation at the Coliseum Friday night. “It was amazing to have support like that. It gives you a lot of energy on the field and it helps you,” said undrafted rookie WR Greg Jenkins. “It was like a dream come true [playing in an NFL game]. Everything was happening real slow and it was a great feeling.”
Rivera appreciated the fans in the stands. “It was awesome. I had so much fun seeing all the fans before and after the game,” said Rivera. “They’re always cheering loud and it was like a college environment but at the NFL level. They were really loud; it was awesome.”
McGloin, who played college football at Penn State and is used to loud crowds, was not disappointed by the fans at the Coliseum. “It was great experience,” he said. “I was fortunate enough to play for Penn State and have a great fan base there and a great crowd week in and week out there. It was no different playing on Friday night. It was a tremendous atmosphere and the support they showed even after the game, people reaching out and things like that, was really exciting. Hopefully just continue to improve and continue to get their support and approval.”
The encouragement from Raider Nation meant a lot to McGee, who came from a passionate fan base at Oklahoma. “Oh man…I can’t really explain it. It was exciting though,” said McGee. “I love the crowd. I feel like the crowd was loving me too. Looking up there and seeing all that black was a lot different than seeing crimson and cream so it was really exciting.”
The rookies will experience their first hostile NFL environment this Friday at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. But they will keep Raider Nation’s support in mind and continue to try to make them proud.
The Raiders have two more practices before traveling to New Orleans. Check out all the training camp coverage on Raiders.com, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
Tags: Greg Jenkins, Matt McGloin, Mychal Rivera, NFL, Oakland Raiders, Preseason, Raider Nation, Stacy McGee, Training Camp
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