This week the Raiders practice schedule has officially shifted. Since camp began, the schedule has consisted of either a morning practice or an afternoon practice and often alternating. Those weeks were all about this team simply getting better and becoming acclimated to the playbook as well as their new teammates and coaches. That time is over now and it's now time to move to the next phase.
Although the team doesn't break camp in Napa until Thursday, as of Tuesday, the practice schedule changed to the same as it will be throughout the season. The purpose is to simulate an actual regular season preparation week where the team focuses their efforts on preparing for their next opponent.
"It's m ore of a dress rehearsal," said head coach Dennis Allen. "Kinda taking the guys through, how we're gonna go about gameplanning for a week all the way up until game day and we've got a little bit more in from a gameplanning standpoint this week than we normally do. Still not full gameplan but more than what we've done in the first two preseason games."
This is not how the Raiders had done it in years past and it seems like a beneficial way to utilize training camp both for the coaches and the players. They can still practice and get better while at the same time easing into the regular season routine.
"It's been great." Said Carson Palmer. "It gives you a chance to get a feel for just how organized everything's going to be for the in-season stuff. I've never done it this way before, having a full-on game plan week for a game. But it just gives you a chance to get your mind and really your body prepared for what the in-season schedule's going to be once the actual season hits. So it's really cool to get a feel for when meetings are going to be, how practice is going to be, what time in your day's going to be to get your workout in, stretch, whatever it may be. So it's just a good chance for everybody get kind of acclimated with the way the schedule's going to be in the regular season.
The game coming up will offer a tough test for the Raiders and it couldn't come at a more perfect time. The Lions have a high powered offense and a stout defensive front. And the Raiders first teamers will face off against both for what should amount to about three quarters of the game. There is a lot that can be learned in preparation as well as in the game.
"We were preparing more for Detroit so we got a lot more Detroit looks." Said Allen. "Their defensive scheme, a little bit more of a four man front, a lot of eight man fronts so our offense got ready for that. So obviously our defense, we gotta be prepared for, you know, Calvin Johnson's an outstanding player. Obviously Matt Stafford is an exceptional quarterback so we've got our hands full on defense. So it was really getting a chance to take a look at the things that they like to do and getting ourselves familiar with that."
"They rush the passer really well." Said Palmer. "They rush the passer so well with their front four that they don't have to bring a lot of exotic blitzes and bring guys from all over the place. They're not a team that brings a ton of different pressures. They really allow their front four to rush the passer and they rely on their front four to rush the passer. So it's a good defense with a very good offense behind it. Their defense is kind of bend-don't-break style where they're going to play a lot of zone coverages and sit back, and hope their offense puts up a lot of points and try to contain you and not give up big plays on defense."
With the simulation of the regular season, fans can expect to get their first real taste of the kind of team the Raiders will be this season. That regular season is just over two weeks away. Coach Allen is trying to make sure his team and his staff aren't just coming out of the blocks when that ball kicks off on September 10 but rather already in a full stride.