ALAMEDA, Calif. -- The Raiders’ bye week came a mere four weeks into the 2012 season after the team started 1-3 in Dennis Allen’s first season as a head coach at any level.
Before the Raiders were released for their mandatory days off, Allen rode them pretty hard during two practices.
What about this season, after six weeks, a 2-4 record and just as many what-ifs?
“We handled it a little bit differently this year,” Allen said Tuesday. “I just felt like with where we’re at as a football team, especially with the health of the football team, that I thought it was important for the veteran players to get some time to really take care of their bodies and get themselves back healthy and ready to go for next week.”
Meaning, the “practice” Tuesday morning was more of a glorified workout in that only players with four years or less of NFL experience were on the field for seven-on-seven drills, while the veterans used the time to rehab inside the building.
And unlike previous years, everyone was in the building as no players left early for home. Indeed, the veteran leadership on this team seems different than in recent years.
Even in terms of accepting growing pains.
“Every team does it every year,” center Andre Gurode said. “Every team has had a game where they had a play they wish they had back. It’s just something that you have to keep improving on.”
Having four days off starting Thursday and then another week of preparation before consecutive home games against Pittsburgh and Philadelphia should help with the bumps and bruises.
The coaches, meanwhile will get the weekend off.
And somewhere in there, Allen and general manager Reggie McKenzie will meet to discuss potential roster additions and thus, subtractions. Depending upon health, the Raiders might need another offensive lineman, or they could sign another quarterback a week after working out veterans David Carr, Pat White and Trent Edwards.
“To get this bye, to get a chance to get healthy and to come back after the bye and play the first two games at home will be critical for us,” Allen said. “We’ve got to come out after the bye and we’ve got to play well and we’ve got to win some football games.
“The thing about this football team is we’ve given ourselves opportunities to win games ... we’ve got to continue to put ourselves in those types of positions. And the more we do that, the more experience we get with that, the better we’re going to react to those situations and we’ll begin to win some of these games and come out on the plus side instead of having to come back and make some adjustments after tough losses.”