Linebacker Mason Foster is nursing a shoulder injury this week in practice but hopes to be ready for Sunday night against the Raiders, the team he grew up watching.
After dislocating his shoulder, returning to game action and recording the interception that would seal the Redskins' first victory of the season, linebacker Mason Foster is aiming to stay on the field for Sunday night's matchup with his hometown team.
Foster, a Seaside, Calif., native, grew up with heavy rooting interest for the Oakland Raiders and will be flying out family members for the primetime game. He hopes they'll be able to see him play but that will depend on how his shoulder responds during and after practices.
Foster has played against the Raiders just once in his career, then a member of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, in 2012.
"When [the Raiders] drafted Charles Woodson, if you didn't have a Charles Woodson jersey, you weren't cool on Seaside," Foster said of his childhood. "We all pretty much grew up Raiders or 'Niners fans, and my dad was a Raiders fan so I was a Raiders fan."
Foster's most impressionable memories of rooting on the black and silver were heartbreakers, watching the "Tuck Rule" game in 2001 when the Raiders lost to the Patriots in the playoffs, and then the following year, watching Jon Gruden take down the Raiders, who were then led by current Redskins offensive line coach Bill Callahan.
"I didn't really talk to [Callahan] about that, but it broke my heart as a little kid, I couldn't believe it," Foster said. "But it's all good, you know what I mean. The Raiders have always been the hometown team, but now, like I said, it's all about the Redskins now."
On Wednesday, Foster praised the training staff for their efforts in Sunday's game against the Rams for getting him back on the field and for developing a plan for this week's recovery.
Check out these photos of the Redskins' defense and special teams preparing for their Week 3 game against the Oakland Raiders Wednesday, Sept. 20, 2017, at the Inova Sports Performance Center at Redskins Park.
"Just take it day by day," Foster said. "Of course, you're always going to be sore after a game, but just keep getting treatment, keep working and it'll feel better. As of right now, just going in there, getting my treatment, doing whatever they tell me to do and keep getting ready."
Foster did explain that having his shoulder popped back in on the sideline wasn't as big of a deal as people might perceive, disregarding his own pain tolerance relative to the regular fans.
"It's kind of like, whatever," Foster said. "You just sit there and you could just move it around and it goes back in. The doctor has to get in right, then you're alright to go. It's not like the movies or nothing, I think people think it's like the movies, like Friday Night Lights. Boom, once it goes in, it's 'Alright, cool.' Before that, it's just kind of like, numb, feels like you don't have an arm. I'm alright, just take it day by day and get better."
Foster will certainly need his shoulder strong to take on the Raiders' physical attack, headed on the ground by running back Marshawn Lynch. In two regular season games, Oakland ranks fourth in yards per rush (5.2) and fifth in rushing yards per game (144.5) while its offense as a whole ranks first in points per game (35.5).
The Redskins biggest strength on defense, however, has been their ability to limit the opponent's run game. Foes are averaging just 75 yards rushing against Washington, good for ninth best in the league. Foster likes the team's physicality and effort and knows it must be on full display Sunday night.
"It's always a challenge," Foster said. "In this league, guys are so big, the O-linemen are huge, the running backs are quick and strong, so it's always tough, but I feel like with the guys that we have, we've been able to play pretty physical in the run game, knock guys back and make plays. That's pretty much what we've got to do, just continue to make plays and execute this game plan."