Opening week is here for the Las Vegas Raiders. Speaking with the media today, head coach Josh McDaniels addressed several aspects of the crucial matchup with the Los Angeles Chargers. Among the topics covered were the team’s health and whether Sunday’s matchup has any additional meaning.
Throughout training camp, the Raiders dealt with a plethora of injuries that generated headlines and concern among Raider Nation. For example, Darren Waller was absent for most of the team’s offseason activities and didn’t play in the preseason. On defense, you had the cornerback group deal with injuries consistently, though in hindsight that allowed players such as Nate Hobbs to make the most of others’ absence. The interior defensive line also struggled for most of the preseason with the Raiders’ two key defensive tackles mostly unavailable. Luckily for McDaniels, Bilal Nichols and Johnathan Hankins are back and ready to go.
As far as the team as a whole, McDaniels expressed optimism about his roster’s health.
“Yeah, I think we’re headed in the right direction. I feel like we’ve kind of, as most teams do, we’ve tried to manage ourselves to get to this point and be as healthy as possible. Hopefully, we’ll have a chance to have a full group out there on Sunday, and that’s the goal. That would be a good thing.”
Josh McDaniels is fully aware that the Las Vegas Raiders are looking forward to this matchup
Switching gears, the Raiders head coach was asked about the excitement surrounding his locker room for Sunday’s contest. It’s the regular season opener, but it’s also against a divisional rival. The Raiders have tons of history with them, including the fact that they eliminated them from the playoffs back in January.
Obviously, emotions are running high when you consider how the regular season ended for these squads. Both teams have high expectations for 2022 and both find themselves as media darlings for several outlets. Regardless, McDaniels knows that all of this serves as motivation, but the key is to control it and not let it get out of hand, as he alluded to.
“They’ve earned the right to be excited. No doubt. They’ve put in all the work. I think there’s a difference between being excited to play and compete and going overboard and then wearing yourself out because look, there’s no question that the energy and excitement that you feel can take its toll on you if you’re too far past the line. We’ll try to contain it I think is a better word and just try to funnel it towards Sunday. And once we kick the ball off, our guys are going to play with their hair on fire. So, it’ll be fun. They’ve earned the right to be excited about this one.”