The Raiders bye week comes after the team has played seven games . But it seems like it’s been 70 games.
The team started hot, winning its first three games before stumbling on the road against the rival Chargers. Then the email situation forced head coach Jon Gruden to resign and the team had an unimpressive loss against the Bears. Interim coach Rich Bisaccia stepped in and has been a steady force, leading the team to two straight wins and first place in the division at 5-2.
“I think this team and coaching staff has been really grinding for a while,” Bisaccia said. “We had a big stretch before the opening game and we kind of all worked through it, the players worked through it, and then we had the multiple Monday night games and we had short weeks there. So, I think the message for the bye week for the players is to get rest, be really smart and run.
“I think what they do when they are alone is really going to show up the most when we come back together. They understand the schedule for when they come back next Monday and what it’s going to look like when they start practice again on Wednesday. So, we’ll just see how it works for us, but we feel like we have a schedule in place that hopefully can be advantageous to us.”
It also helps that the team seems to be pretty close-knit to be able to handle the Gruden situation. Before the season started, the team had a meeting about mental health, which seemed to be a little prescient considering what has happened in the last couple of weeks.
“Well obviously we take mental health very seriously around here,” Bisaccia said. ”We have great leaders in that department with Maxx (Crosby) and Darren Waller and the things that he’s done for our teammates and certainly our organization. That’s part of our meetings like I talked about before, they can come upstairs, or we can have it in our meetings that we’re in and just let them know that we’re all available for them at any time.
“We can talk about everything from a lot of guys have kids, a lot of guys have things going on off the field. So, when it’s time to talk about football, we can deal with football. When it’s time to talk about some issues they may have or things they may have, we’re going to have a great support system for that. The coaches as well, we are a part of that support system. A lot of us are older guys and we’ve been through some issues, so we’d like to think that we could possibly have some wisdom to share with them.”
Raiders bye week allows for rest, healing
After six games, every team in the NFL is facing issues with injuries and the Raiders are no different. The Raiders bye week gives the team a chance to rest and, in many cases, heal. Just this past weekend against the Eagles, the team lost tight end Darren Waller, running back Josh Jacobs and guard John Simpson to injury. That’s not even counting some of the players on the injured reserve list such as Richie Incognito, Treyvon Mullen Jr. and Damon Arnette.
Bisaccia said Jacobs had a chest contusion and should be ready to go by the next game on Nov. 7 at the New York Giants. Waller is day-to-day and plans to stay in the area during the bye week to get treatment. The Raiders bye week gives both players the opportunity to rest up and get healthy without missing time.
“John right now, we are still in the evaluation process with him,” Bisaccia said. “But he was walking around okay, and we’ll see how the next few days go. He’s going to stay here as well and get treatment this week.”
Bisaccia wasn’t sure about the timetable for the players on injured reserve.
“They are all on a little bit different schedule, but I think there is progress being made by all and we’ll see how that goes over the next three to five weeks,” he said.
For Bisaccia, the Raiders bye week allows him to catch a breath after the past three weeks of insane events.
Raiders bye week doesn’t mean they’re done adding players
As the Raiders bye week begins, GM Mike Mayock has stayed busy. Las Vegas signed free agent tight end Daniel Helm, the club announced Monday.
Helm originally entered the league as an undrafted free agent with the Los Angeles Chargers in 2019 before making stops with the San Francisco 49ers (2019, 2020-21), Kansas City Chiefs (2020) and Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2020). The 6-foot-4, the 225-pound tight end has played in five games, all with San Francisco.
A native of Chatham, Ill., Helm spent one season (2014) at Tennessee before playing out his collegiate career at Duke for three seasons (2016-18), appearing in 51 games collectively. He totaled 75 receptions for 804 yards and six touchdowns over his career.
Additionally, the club has signed offensive lineman Hroniss Grasu to the practice squad and placed safety Ha Ha Clinton-Dix on the COVID-19 Reserve list.
The Raiders bye week may not please fans who are high on their team, but the team can use the time to take a breath and get healthy before the remainder of the season gets underway next week in New York.