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The 24-hour rule is effectively in place around Raiders camp. Safety Charles Woodson approached defensive end Justin Tuck on Monday morning, and didn’t discuss the previous day’s 52-0 whooping by the St. Louis Rams.
Woodson made reference to the following Sunday’s game against the 49ers and made a simple request.
“Let’s get this one,” Woodson said.
Woodson is one of a precious few Raiders to have played a Bay Area clash before. He knows how much it means to both fan bases, even though the teams have met just 12 times in the regular season.
“I’ve played in some rivalry games as far as same city, same backyard-type rivalries playing the New York Jets and things like that,” said Tuck, a longtime New York Giant. “You know that it’s going to be a game that you’re going to come out of it very sore. You’re going to come out of it very banged up, but it brings the best out of you.”
The Raiders need a reason to quickly move on from the Rams debacle. The 49ers are the carrot leading them away.
“I think the best thing for us now is to turn all of our attention and our focus to what lies ahead, and that’s this bloodbath that I think we’re about to have against the 49ers,” Tuck said. “Big rivalry game. Everybody in this area has been waiting for this game for a long time. I think that’s the best thing that could have happened after a loss like that, is to have this type of game where all of your attention has to be focused on the 49ers going forward.”
This Raiders roster has a strong connection with their fan base, and certainly wants to show better than they have this season. That’s why an inter-conference opponent feels like a division rival. They want Raider Nation to have bragging rights. It’ll be extremely tough, especially against a 49ers team starving for victories during a late playoff push.
That’s why this game should be physical.
“I just know they’re a very physical team and they play with a lot of heart, a lot of passion,” receiver James Jones said. “They have a lot of good players over there. I know they play hard. They take a lot of pride in what they do, so we’re going to have to come out, we’re going to have to match their intensity, if not exceed their intensity. We’re at home in front of our home fans. Yeah, there are going to be some 49ers fans there, but we’re at home and we have to go out there and protect our house.”
It’s no secret that the 49ers have more depth of talent at most positions. From Monday’s comments, it doesn’t sound like the Raiders are backing down in a lost season.
“We’re all men,” Jones said. “We’ve been playing football for a long time, so if you let the man across from you out physical you, that’s you. You have to look yourself in the mirror at the end of the game. We have a lot of dogs on this team, a lot of men on this team that have a lot of pride, and trust me, we’ll hold our own.”