The Oakland Raiders wrapped up two days of joint practices with the Los Angeles Rams on Thursday, and now await them inside the Oakland Coliseum on Saturday.
Outside of losing starting right guard Gabe Jackson for a reported eight weeks, there was a lot of good that came out of the Raiders two-day practice with the Los Angeles Rams. With those sessions in the rear-view mirror, the team will now focus on their first preseason game, which will be against those same Rams on Saturday night.
Coach Jon Gruden was pleased with the effort the revamped Raiders team. The Super Bowl-winning head coach faced off with the Rams all week in practices in hopeful to get the winning spirit back in Oakland.
Gruden spoke to the Raiders team site saying:
"“That was a lot of good work. Some really good things. Things we’re really excited about and obviously we have some things to clean up but two really good days. I compliment the Rams and their staff and their players and our players and coaches did a good job. We had one scuffle that was uncalled for but I thought for the most part our players played hard and we got a lot of work done.”"
The scuffle, of course, referring to Aaron Donald and Gabe Jackson which we will probably see on next weeks episode of Hard Knocks on HBO. The Raiders continue to get better despite Gabe Jackson being carted off with an injury and all-pro receiver Antonio Brown missing nearly all of training camp to a foot injury.
Oakland took a break from competing against teammates to competing against the NFC’s best team of last year. It was the Rams who fell to the Super Bowl winning New England Patriots in the big game last February, as they were only able to muster up three points against Tom Brady and company.
One of the bigger matchups of the two-day session was this revamped Oakland Raiders offensive line going up against one of the better front 7s in football.
Gruden also said what to expect on Saturday from the starting group:
"“You’re not going to see some of the starters. You’re just not going to see them. You saw them today. You saw them yesterday. They took about 120 reps so we’re going to take a look at some young players, some guys that need the opportunity, and I don’t have that for you right now but I’ll have it for you tomorrow.”"
Gruden also said got to see the first team in action against a good opponent and allowed him to gauge where the team is at on offense:
"“You know we got to see what the health of this team is. We had a hard time today. We only had one personnel group in. We had limited tight ends so we had to go with one personnel group almost the entire day with the exception of about ten plays. So we got to see who’s healthy at tight end, which receivers are healthy and when we have that we’ll go with our game plan.”"
The focus now shifts to some live action, though it is not expected that the Raiders will deploy a lot of their veteran starters. The younger kids will get a chance to shine, and we may see some of the rookie starters get some run, but this game will be more about seeing what bubble players can make a name for themselves against the NFC champs.