Oakland, CA – The time is finally here, a chance to see the new and improved Raiders open up the season at home against the Minnesota Vikings this Sunday. The team and organization are looking to turn things around from the previous 4-12 seasons of years past. New head coach Jack Del Rio brought in veterans and former players as coaches making the atmosphere much more relaxed.
Many players have expressed how easy it is to speak with the coaches this season. DE Shelby Harris said during preseason, “Because they’ve been here before, it makes sense for a coach to explain the same mistakes we’ve made.” In becoming a better team, every player must understand their place and position. The preseason is over and now it’s showtime. The anxiety for the season to start is here and the Raiders want to kick it off right.
“We have in my opinion, top to bottom really good coaches,” said Charles Woodson. It’s about gaining the confidence in whatever your doing and once you do that than everything is going to be better for every play. It’s time to roll, training camp is over.”
“We had a really good camp,” Del Rio said. “We had a productive time and productive off-season and it’s time to cut loose and move on to the next phase, the regular season.”
Last year as a rookie, he faced an up and down season. That experience will be used to show a better and wiser Derek Carr. The franchise quarterback for Oakland says he’s improved mentally from last season. Labeled as the “mature” rookie, Carr took the blame for almost all of the teams loses once he took over as quarterback. Without much preparation, he got through a tough season. But now, Carr had the entire off-season to prepare.
“This time around it’s a little different,” Carr said. “You’ve already played in the games, you’ve already seen it, so there’s lots of benefits obviously that were not here last year that we have this year.”
One benefit is the emergence of running back LaTavius Murray. Listed as the first-team running back since the departure of Darren McFadden. Murray has impressed Del Rio who wants to bring back the running game to balance things out and open up the offense more. Murray is the guy to set things into motion, his height and presence is a huge upside to Oakland’s offensive scheme. The running back wants nothing more than to improve his stats from last year where he rushed for 424 yards and two touchdowns.
“We progressed a lot, Derek has grown and we got some weapons now,” said Murray. “We’re ready, we’ve got some explosive things ahead. I’m a lot better this year, as far as my health, I’m better and I’m much smarter as a player. As I get older I want to become a better player everyday in practice and mentally on the field.”