Raiders coach Tom Cable has added Father Time to his job title this week, moving everything forward three hours in an attempt to trick the body clocks of his players.
In theory, the fact that the Raiders got up earlier and practiced three hours earlier all week will make a 1 p.m. start in Jacksonville seem like a 1 p.m. start on the West Coast. Rather than wiping the sleep out of their eyes, the Raiders hit the field ready to play.
Cable cited this year’s games in Tennessee and Pittsburgh as problematic (although the Nashville game was a two-hour change _ noon in a central time zone), games the Raiders looked sluggish from the outset and lost by a combined score of 70-16.
He didn’t like the way the team opened the game against Pittsburgh last season in a 27-24 win, with the Raiders scoring three touchdowns in the fourth quarter to pull it out. A trip to New Jersey for a 1 p.m. game that fit the 10 a.m. West Coast window was over early. Giants 44, Raiders 7.
(The Raiders beat Tampa Bay in that time slot 31-24 to close the 2008 season in a game that went a long way toward Cable being named head coach).
Madden, during his regular spot on KCBS (740-AM) Friday, didn’t think Cable’s clock management would necessarily hurt, but he didn’t think it would help, either.
“That really doesn’t have anything to do with anything,” Madden said. “It’s who you have get up at 5 o’clock in the morning. It’s always going to boil down to that. If you have the better team and you go and play like you should you’re going to win. If you don’t have the better players, you’re going to lose. , whether you get up at 5 o’clock or 6 o’clock or 7 o’clock.
“I don’t know that that’s going to make them play any better, I really don’t.”
But what about the Raiders’ troubles in East Coast games?
“Which Raiders? I mean, those Raiders have been lousy every place,” Madden said. “They’ve been lousy at home. They’ve been lousy when they go down to San Diego for years and other places too. When the Raiders were good it didn’t seem to bother them.”
Madden said the only time he could recall a “morning” game being a problem was a Thanksgiving date in Detroit during a short week. The Raiders jumped ahead 14-0, then ran out of gas and lost 28-14.
When asked what he would say if Cable asked him about the strategy, Madden said, “First of all he’s not going to ask me. If he did I would say that it doesn’t make any (difference), if you believe in it and maybe the payers believe in it and it helps, then fine. I don’t necessarily think it’s going to change either way.”
Madden’s right in that it can’t hurt, and it’s not as if the Raiders haven’t pushed the boundaries of logic looking for any edge in the past. For years, the Raiders almost always switched hotels after they lost a road game, using a different one the next time they visited that city.