ALAMEDA, Calif. -- Before the players’ lot at the Raiders facility more closely resembled nearby Sonoma Raceway on Wednesday, what with players in a hurry to get their four-day bye weekend started, coach Dennis Allen had a piece of advice for his team.
Don’t become a headline.
“Coach said it best,” said Raiders free safety Charles Woodson. “This is a time where you’re supposed to go relax, go have fun ... but do it with a little bit of, keep it cool. Keep a cool head and don’t find yourself in any bad positions.”
Sound counsel, especially in a league that has had image problems with arrests.
The Raiders would obviously not want to worry about players going wild. They would prefer that the players on their 2-4 team take time to reflect and rest, rest and reflect.
“The big message is, our job is to be accountable and be available,” Allen said. “We’ve got to go off and take some time to get away a little bit, but yet not get too far away. Understand that when we get back rolling, we’ve got to have our body and our mind ready for the stretch run of the season.
“That will be critical for our success moving forward.”
A year ago, the Raiders had their bye after just four games ... and played their best game to date coming out of the break in a losing effort at Atlanta.
The Falcons needed a 55-yard field goal with one second to play to pull out a 23-20 win and stay undefeated at 6-0.
This year, the Raiders will come out of the bye by playing host to Pittsburgh. And yes, the dirt baseball infield should be long gone by Oct. 27.
“We feel like we’re moving in a good direction, regardless of what our record might say it is,” said punt returner/defensive back Phillip Adams. “We’re moving in a good direction. So, it’s important being in the bye week that you stay in tune with techniques and stuff like that.”
Allen also took a different approach to the bye week practices in his second year as head coach.
In 2012, he ran the workouts just as if they were going to have a game that coming weekend. This time, with so many veterans banged up -- especially on the offensive line, he used it more as a teaching tool for the youngsters and rehab for the vets.
And that was just fine with veterans like Woodson, back in Oakland after seven years in Green Bay.
“You know, I’m surprised our record ain’t better,” Woodson said. “I feel like we’ve had our chances to win games. Here we are, sitting at 2-4, so it is what it is, but we’ve had opportunities to win a couple of those games that we lost.”
It’s all part of that rest, relaxation and retreating-from-headlines philosophy Allen encouraged.