The Oakland Raiders held their 14th practice of Training Camp 2013, presented by California National Guard, Tuesday afternoon. DE Lamarr Houston, LB Billy Boyko, and FS Charles Woodson (day off) returned to practice as the team prepares for Friday’s match-up with the New Orleans Saints.
Yesterday, the players were 13 practices and one preseason game into camp. Head Coach Dennis Allen, recognizing the mid-camp exhaustion, scheduled a team-outing to a local bowling alley. “Coach realized we’ve been in camp for a couple weeks now and he didn’t want us to lose focus,” said WR Josh Cribbs. “He wanted to give us a night off to show us like, ‘hey, I’m not all whistles and chalkboard and on the field.’ I think we needed that.”
The offense was pitted against the defense. Not only was the bowling competition about pride, but there was a prize involved. The winning squad won a steak and lobster dinner, while the losing team was stuck with create-your-own sandwiches.
The offense won and apparently it wasn’t even close.
“It’s obvious to me that the offense is better than the defense,” said Coach Allen on the Raiders bowling skills.
The offense’s win was crucial for Cribbs. “Yes, we did win. I knew we were going to win anyway, but it felt great because we get a decent meal and not just a gourmet sandwich,” he said. “We need a lot to eat to refill our bodies and a sandwich isn’t going to do it. If we have to win another game of bowling to get it again, then so be it.”
The players were determined to win once they heard about the competition. “That was the goal,” said Ausberry, who bowled a team-high 194. “The offense, we always try to take over. Got a chance and we took advantage of it. We’re athletes so we want to compete and anything offense versus defense is going to be fun.”
The defense had a different explanation for the offense’s win. “I don’t know what you’re talking about. I have no idea what you’re talking about,” said S Reggie Smith on the loss. “I think somebody messed up the counting. They just gave it to them, so I don’t know.”
LB Sio Moore had a different explanation for the loss. “Yeah, so what ended up happening was the defense, we decided we didn’t want steak and lobster, we wanted a sandwich,” said Moore. “We’re blue [collar] guys and gave the offense the steak and lobster…We took the ‘L’ so we’ll have sandwiches tonight but it’s all good.”
Both sides of the ball were able to laugh about the win and loss and they were also able to appreciate Coach Allen allowing them a night away from training camp. “You know what, it was needed,” said Smith. “I don’t think anybody was looking forward to the night meetings yesterday so it was really good to get out there and have some fun, get out there and bowl.”
The timing of bowling night was perfect for the team. “It was really important. It’s sluggish,” said Cribbs. “I think we needed that. I feel like we had a really good practice today. We showed coach that given a day off we can make the most of it.”
Cancelling evening meetings and doing something fun revitalized the squad. “It was good just to get away from the camp scene for a little bit and just hang out with your boys,” said Ausberry. “We’re out here every day grinding so any chance you get to bond with your teammates and get out of your element a little bit, it’s pretty good for the team. All that team cohesion is really good.”
Team bonding is important for success on the field and the bowling night was a great way to build that camaraderie.
“It’s everything. How we know each other off the field helps on the field being able to work with each other,” said Moore. “Having more and more opportunities allows us to be a family. That’s just how it is when we’re out here – we’re a family, together.”
Cribbs believes camaraderie is extremely important. “When you have that bond with a guy, you tend to fight harder for him because you don’t want to let him down,” explained Cribbs. “When a guy doesn’t mean that much to you, you go out there and do whatever and not even care. But that camaraderie, it builds confidence within the players, and it builds dependability. When a guy can be dependable to another that’s one of the greatest things you can have on a football team.”
Bowling night was a success for the entire team, although more so for the offense.
It was also successful for Raiders.com, who was championed by the offense. The steak, lobster, and strawberry shortcake were excellent. Thanks guys!
Tags: Bowling, Camaraderie, David Ausberry, Focus, Josh Cribbs, Oakland Raiders, Offense vs. Defense, Reggie Smith, Sio Moore, Training Camp
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