When a team is 1-5, it needs all the help it can get. So making an easily fixable mistake, like botching travel, can’t happen.
For the Oakland Raiders, Jon Gruden has recently taken a lot of heat for who he is playing, who he isn’t, who he traded away, and his coaching as the team looked abysmal in back-to-back weeks after its 27-3 loss to the Seattle Seahawks on Sunday.
But there might be something major that many have overlooked when it comes to the Raiders’ struggles this past Sunday. The travel.
Gruden had his team arrive in London on Friday. Typically, teams will arrive earlier in the week to give more time for the players to adjust to the new time zone, which was eight hours different from Oakland.
For perspective, the Seahawks, who are also coming from the west coast, left on Wednesday night to arrive Thursday morning giving the team a crucial extra day to adjust.
According to Brady Quinn’s wife via CBS Sports, who is an olympic gymnast, arriving two days before is not a smart move because people will usually feel their worst on the third day adjusting to a drastically different time zone.
In the same article, Quinn discussed his time with the Denver Broncos when the team flew out on a Thursday night to London. It also ended poorly for the Broncos as they came out flat and lost to a San Francisco 49ers team that was starting quarterback Troy Smith and arrived much earlier in the week.
When Gruden was asked about the travel situation before the London game on Monday, he mentioned that he “did a lot of research on it,” but later said he “doesn’t know much about it.”
So, what is it Gruden? Did you do research and come to a conclusion backed up with evidence or did you just not know anything about it and guess?
Usually, the train of thought is to arrive early in the week to give everyone ample time for their bodies to adjust or to arrive closer to kickoff hoping to play the game before anyone begins to feel the effects. Personally, I’d choose to get there as early as possible.
With the decision to land on Friday, the Raiders did not arrive in a logical window. And it seems to have been another costly move by Gruden this season that has contributed to the atrocious start.