This past week the Oakland Raiders began their offseason workouts in preparation for the 2014 season. A lot of new faces were seen around, as well as not seeing some old faces. Gone are rising upstarts such as Lamarr Houston and Jared Veldheer, but in their place are dependable veterans like Justin Tuck, James Jones, Maurice Jones-Drew, and Donald Penn.
It was also a chance for the Raider media to meet face to face with many of the new acquisitions, who spoke on what their new path as a Raider is like.
“I actually had a chance to talk with Maurice [Jones-Drew] a little bit and we’re excited because we have a lot of guys with chips on their shoulder, a lot of guys coming from teams that didn’t want them, didn’t want to pay them a certain amount of money, didn’t think they were worth it, didn’t think they had enough gas left in the tank. Everybody we brought in has a lot to prove. We all have a chip on our shoulder and we’re ready to go, ” said wide receiver James Jones, formerly of the Green Bay Packers, including their 2010 Super Bowl team.. “A lot of guys are excited. A lot of guys are glad to be here, glad to get to work, glad to see a lot of the new faces. For me, it was good to meet some of the guys that were here. We have a good vibe, a lot of guys ready to get to work, ready to grind, and ready to prove some people wrong.”
” A lot of people always say that you go to Oakland for your career to die. No, I’m not looking at it like that. I’m looking at it like this is an opportunity to revive a very historic franchise in a city with a great fan base that is going to be behind this football team. The energy and excitement around this football team should be great. I’m excited about it,” said defensive end Justin Tuck, formerly of the New York Giants with Super Bowl Rings in 2007 and 2011.
It’s a promising sign that veterans like Tuck and Jones are more interested in winning for the Raiders, rather than gunning for a final pay day.
It also gave insight on how these veterans plan on contributing to the team, such as Jones-Drew’s battle with incumbent Darren McFadden for the starting running back position.
“The way I’ve heard it, no one really knows how it’s going to be. Number one and two are going to split carries anyway. I want to compete. That’s the reason I came here, was to compete. From afar, being an Oakland Raider fan, I always envious of Darren because he got to wear the jersey and he played well when he was healthy. So, to be able to get the opportunity to come out here and compete against one of the most talented younger backs in the league, it’s going to be fun.” says Jones-Drew. “If I carry the ball 20 times and we lose, what’s the purpose of carrying the ball that many times? If I carry the ball two times and we win, that’s what it’s all about. My goal is to come in and do whatever I can to help this organization get back to where it belongs and if that’s starting, it’s starting. If it’s backing up, it’s backing up.”
“We’re going to score 50 points a game…I don’t know; it’s the first day. I’ve got a chance to look at the playbook and stuff and go over some plays. A lot of good plays in the playbook. They have a great scheme, so I’m excited to learn the terminology and be out there with Matt and get to work,” says James Jones about the new Raiders offense. “We’re going to get together at one of these elementary schools or something around the neighborhood, go throw, get to know each other, get a feel for one another, go through some route trees and stuff like that and try to get some time in and get going before this thing gets started.”
With so many new contributors, its exciting to see what the Raiders can do in 2014. Although their schedule is the toughest in the league, they have high hopes they are setting for themselves.