The Oakland Raiders hit the field Tuesday for their penultimate practice of Training Camp 2013, presented by California National Guard. The temperature in Napa has increased during the course of the past week, but the Raiders have been pushing through the heat and are avoiding the malaise that can come with four weeks of intense training away from home.
Head Coach Dennis Allen says the energy level, the enthusiasm and work ethic have remained throughout.
“I thought it was pretty good; I thought we had a pretty crisp practice today. I thought the guys got after it,” Coach Allen said. “I think the guys have continued to work throughout training camp.”
For veterans like T Khalif Barnes, pushing through the grind of training camp and working toward the end result is what being a professional football player is all about.
“You just got to. It’s part of what we do. Dog days, you have to get through them,” Barnes said. “You try not to survive them, you try to get better as you go on. It kind of simulates the fourth quarter or the end of the season. You try to train your mind to push. That’s what I try to kind of use it for.”
For a rookie like defensive back Chance Casey, the training camp experience is different than the college football season preparation. One of the main differences is Casey is able to concentrate solely on football and not a class schedule.
“Honestly, I’m just excited to be here. It’s an awesome opportunity. I’m blessed to be here,” Casey said. “It’s different. College, there’s school involved. Here it’s football all day. I was sitting in meetings one day and I thought to myself, ‘this is all I’m doing today is football.’”
Many players on the Raiders roster have played their college football or started their pro careers in warmer, more humid climates. Casey says the weather is just another one of those elements you have to push through.
“First of all, coming out here playing a game that you love, it should never be much of a thought that you have to push yourself,” Casey said. “You should be out here having fun, flying around. Regardless of that, we had Teddy Atlas come in. He spoke to us and he gave us a speech talking about there’s this dark room that you don’t want to go in to. When [people] give up they go into this dark room. We’re trying to stay away from that, just fly around, be fast and compete.”
The Raiders will get a chance to compete in a game again this Friday night as they host the Chicago Bears in Preseason Week 3 action. Barnes says the Bears will present a tough, physical challenge.
“They’re a good team, they’re a good defense, they play well, they swarm to the ball, their front is active,” Barnes said. “But, they also have to play us too. We have to make sure we match their intensity and we have to come prepared and worry about what we control. If we do that we’ll be fine.”
The Raiders conclude Training Camp 2013 with a final practice at their Napa Valley Training Complex tomorrow morning. After a walk-through Thursday at the team’s Alameda facility, the Silver and Black will return to O.co Coliseum in Oakland to face the Bears Friday night.
Tags: Andre Carter, California National Guard, Chance Casey, Chicago Bears, Head Coach Dennis Allen, Khalif Barnes, NFL, O.co Coliseum, Oakland, Oakland Raiders, Preseason, Progress, Raiders.com, Training Camp
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