ALAMEDA – An NFL bye week doesn't have a set schedule. Players must have a four-day weekend, which is the primary guideline to be followed. It doesn't say when teams must practice, though previous head coach Jack Del Rio used to schedule practices on Wednesday and Thursday, with some time off after that.
Jon Gruden's handling this one differently. Raiders players left Tuesday afternoon, the team's first report date since flying home following a 27-3 loss to Seattle in London.
Players were excused in the early afternoon, given a five-day gap before an extra practice Monday heading into the formal Week 8 practice week.
"We're getting away from things for a bit," rookie defensive tackle P.J. Hall said. "We're on our own, but you have to make sure you do what's necessary to stay in shape, and be ready.
"…(The timing of this bye week) is very important. This has been stressful, dealing with a lot of things we didn't expect to happen. This bye week will help us relax a little bit, recharge and be ready to get back after it."
Coaches won't have such a long break. They'll do some self-scouting to look why some plays worked and others didn't. They'll reflect back on their 1-5 record and try to find ways coaching can improve competitiveness.
"We're diagnosing everything," Gruden said. "Not only the plays we've called, the players we've used. The situations that we have had. We're still looking at the roster. We're looking around the league to find means to get better.
Gruden will also take a long look at his personnel and decide whether roster changes are required.
"(General Manager Reggie McKenzie) and I had a long meeting yesterday," Gruden said. "I know that's a shock to some people. They don't think we have any meetings. I'm telling you, we're working hard to solidify this roster every day and improve ourselves and get the right people on the field. Those are decisions that we're looking at. We're going to continue to try to develop our young players. We're going to stay on the gas pedal and go as hard as we can."
Despite multiple reports of s schism between the coaching staff and personnel department, Gruden made a point of saying he and McKenzie are working together to fix a roster damaged by a lack of draft production and some poor free-agent choices. A Gruden-topped hierarchy remains, however, as he continues to mold the roster to his preference.
"There's going to continue to be roster changes, certainly, on every team in the league," Gruden said. "That's just the way the league is. Players get hurt. We'll see what the medical report is when we return from the bye and we'll go from there."