Most NFL coaches prefer their bye week fall somewhere near the middle of the season. Raiders coach Dennis Allen said his team’s bye week comes at an ideal time, given there’s so much work to do.
Allen said he and his coaching staff will spend an inordinate amount of time breaking down videotape from the first four games in an attempt to find answers as to why the Raiders started this season 1-3.
“We’ve got a lot of work to do,” Allen said Monday, one day after the Raiders lost to the Denver Broncos 37-6. “We’ve got a lot of areas that we’ve got to improve on. This bye week comes at a good time for us, gives us a chance as coaches to look at and evaluate what we’re doing, who we’re doing it with and come up with solutions that can help us get better and help us win some games.”
Specifically, Allen and his staff need to find out why the Raiders are getting outplayed in the second half, why the defense is allowing more than 31 points per game, why the run game is last in the league and how the Raiders can jump-start things for the final 12 games.
This isn’t what Allen hoped to be doing during the bye week. Yet, he said, he is confident that he and his staff can get things turned around before their next game, Oct. 14 against the Atlanta Falcons.
“We’re not going to stick our head in the sand,” Allen said. “We’re going to evaluate everything and see what things we need to improve on and where we can get better, and there’s a lot of things that go into that. We’re going to go from A to Z. We got a lot of getting better to do.”
Free safety Michael Huff was one of many that felt as if the Raiders possessed a top-five defense entering the season.
Watching video tape of the Raiders games, Huff said the most frustrating thing is, he and his defensive mates oftentimes are in position to make plays. Many times, the plays they aren’t making are the kind that has the potential to change the complexion of games.
“Plays are there to be made, but we just don’t make them when it’s time to make them … ,” Huff said. “We see what we can be. We’re still one play here, one play there. It’s there to be had. We just got to make the plays.”
Veteran defensive tackle Richard Seymour sees a Raiders team that is on the verge. The key is, staying the course, paying attention to detail and being accountable.
“We got a week to think about it,” Seymour said, “but anytime you play a game like that, you definitely want to get back on the field and get it going again. We have some work that needs to be done. If you’re a competitor, you accept that challenge. I feel like we’re headed in the right direction.”
Running back Darren McFadden said he isn’t worried about the Raiders ineffectiveness running the ball so far.
“It’s one of those things where you just got to keep running,” McFadden said. “With the zone scheme, it’s going to hit here and there, but you just have to keep running. Stick with it and keep pounding the ball.”
– Right offensive tackle Khalif Barnes underwent a surgical “procedure” 10 days ago in an attempt to expedite the healing of his groin injury, Allen said.
Barnes suffered his injury against the Miami Dolphins on Sept. 16. He missed the past two games. He is week-to-week for now, Allen said.
– Injured starting cornerback Shawntae Spencer still needs a protective boot on his right foot, Allen said.
Allen said he won’t be able to gauge Spencer’s status until Spencer sheds the boot. He has missed the past two games, as well.
– Allen said he is “hopeful” of getting back starting wide receiver Darrius Heyward-Bey from a concussion in time for the Falcons game.
Heyward-Bey got hurt against the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sept. 23 as a result of a helmet-to-helmet hit by Steelers safety Ryan Mundy.
He was hospitalized overnight and has not practiced since the injury. He also suffered a strained neck.
– The official stat book from Sunday’s game against the Broncos credited the Raiders with no hits on quarterback Peyton Manning.
The Raiders review of the video from the game showed their defenders actually hit Manning nine times.
– The Raiders are 28th in defense at an average of 411.5 yards and 31.2 points per game. They are 22nd against the run at an average of 128.5 yards.
— The Raiders are last (32nd) in the league in rushing at an average of 60.8 yards per game. They were seventh last season and second in 2010.
– The Raiders lost the first game coming off a bye each of the past nine seasons. They lost those games by an average of 14 points
Up next: a game against the undefeated Atlanta Falcons, the sexy pick as the team most likely to represent the NFC in the Super Bowl.