Last season the Raiders had four games that started at 10am Pacific time. But at no point last season did the Raiders change their practice schedule to try to acclimate to playing at an earlier time. They would lose all four of those early start games.
It’s proven that you perform better when you take the test at the same time as you learned the information. And your bodily clock is very real. Practice when you play and you’ll be better off. Gruden didn’t subscribe to that last season and it may have had his team ill prepared for the game.
This season the Raiders have a lot more games with a 10am Pacific time start. Twice as many as last season, in fact (8). This includes five in a row, starting with their game in Minnesota last week and continuing through October.
Gruden isn’t writing off the idea of getting their bodily clocks right this season. Instead of afternoon practices, as they did last year, they practice in the morning.
“We have tweaked our preparation,” said Gruden. “We’ve tweaked it. We’ve changed our schedule. We practice in the morning. We practice differently on Wednesday. We’re doing everything we can to get our team acclimated to the time zone change. Be as fresh as possible yet be as prepared as possible. We’ll continue to do that.”
This schedule isn’t just for weeks when they play early. This is every week, even when they play at 1pm Pacific.
This week they’re in Indianapolis, which is in the Eastern time zone. From there they go straight to London to spend the week preparing to face the Bears.
Last year they played in Los Angeles the week before their London game and stayed home during the week before making the long flight the Friday before the game. Then they got thoroughly destroyed by the Seahawks.
The early preparation time can’t make up for lack of talent when facing a superior team. But it not doing it certainly didn’t work last year, so it’s worth a shot.