The Raiders will kick off the regular season in Los Angeles on Sunday against the West Division rival Chargers in a game matching teams that battled down to the last game of last season for the last playoff spot.
In that game, the Raiders won, 35-32 in overtime, to swipe that playoff spot and end the Chargers season.
“You never know how that’s going to go, but we have a healthy team right now. Knock on wood,” said coach Josh McDaniels. ”Excited to have an opportunity to go to the first game. Hopefully we make it through (Friday) without anything coming up here at full strength.”
McDaniels said the team has had a good week of practice and the team is focused, with their energy in the right place.
“We’ll start with the plan we have in place and then we’ll change course if we need to, but I think the guys feel good about the direction that we’ve put in,” he said. “Like I said, they practiced well.”
The Raiders defense will be challenged by the high-powered Charger attack led by quarterback Justin Hebert, wide receivers Keenan Allen and Mike Williams, and running back Austin Ekeler.
Ekeler poses a lot of problems with his versatility in both running the ball and catching it out of the backfield.
“You have to know where he is at, and he lines up in a lot of different locations,” McDaniels said. “Catches the ball like a receiver, runs really good routes, factors in on first, second and third down, red zone.”
Team chooses captains
The team captains were announced, as voted on by the team. On offense, captains are Derek Carr, Davante Adams and Kolton Miller. On defense, captains are Maxx Crosby, Denzel Perryman and Duron Harmon. Special teams captains are AJ Cole and Mack Hollins.
“All those guys have done a tremendous job for us and look forward to their leadership as we go into the season here,” McDaniels said.
The Raiders listed only linebacker Divine Diablo on its injury report with a wrist injury. However, he was a full participant at practice on Friday.
The Chargers had two players who haven’t practiced all week in cornerback J.C. Jackson (ankle) and tight end Donald Parham Jr. (hamstring). Both are doubtful for the game Sunday. Two others were also listed in linebacker Drue Transquill (back), listed as questionable, and running back Isaiah Spiller (ankle), who was a full participant on Friday.
Kickoff is scheduled at 1:25 p.m. (Pacific time) Sunday at SoFi Stadium in Los Angeles. The game will be broadcast on CBS with Kevin Harlin, Trent Green and Melanie Collins on the call.