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Raiders at the bye: Josh McDaniels eager to clean up issues

Time to turn things around

Denver Broncos v Las Vegas Raiders
Photo by Jeff Bottari/Getty Images

There is no way to sugarcoat it. This is not going to be a pleasant bye week for the Las Vegas Raiders.

They are stunned and frustrated at 1-4. Things look bleak, but for first-year head coach Josh McDaniels and his staff, he knows it is a time to spend trying to correct issues in an attempt to salvage the season. That’s what McDaniels plans to do as the Raiders prepare to host the 1-3-1 Houston Texans in Week 7 following this break.

“Yeah, I think the big thing obviously for us is, first would be bumps and bruises. We got some guys with bumps and bruises from yesterday,” McDaniels said. “I mean, we’re going to need to take some time to make sure that we’re healthy as we go into the following week against Houston. And then you take this short period of time, and you try to evaluate, what are we doing well? Let’s keep doing that. What are we not doing well enough that we have to keep doing? And then we have to try to find a solution and see if we can make some progress and improve those things.

“And then I think there’s always a bucket where you say, what are we not doing well enough that maybe we don’t need to do anymore? And is five games a long enough sample size to make that decision? Maybe you’d like it to be eight or nine. But I think at some point, you got to call it what it is, and so maybe there’s a few things we’re doing in each phase that haven’t been as productive as what we would have liked it to be. And so, I think you’ve just got to make a smart decision at that point about whether it’s fixable, whether it’s something you want to work on, or whether you want to just go ahead and say, ‘Hey, you know what, let’s shelve that. And let’s really put our time into something else.’ And so, I think this is all about providing solutions and improving, and there’s definitely been some progress we’ve made in certain areas through five games. I think that’s what this opportunity gives us to do now, is to stand here, and we have a five-game sample size of five tight games. How did we do in the redzone? How did we do on third down, short yardage? How did we start the game? How did we play in two minute at the end of the second quarter? What are we doing well in the kicking game in each phase? And then try to make some good decisions here and give the players some information that will help us.”

Still, McDaniels admits he wouldn’t mind playing this week to help get the bad taste form Monday night’s 30-29 loss at the Kansas City Chiefs.

“I mean, sometimes when you lose, the first thing you want to do is play again, you know what I mean?” McDaniels said. “I think that’s generally the feeling that most guys have, most coaches. So, it’ll kind of eat at you for a little while here because you have the time off. I think whenever we have the bye, whenever they give it to us, it’s always the right intentions to just, ‘Hey, take your mind and get it away from football for a few minutes here, a few days, and try to regroup and get ready to go,’ because obviously we’re going to have a long stretch here when we come back. So, that’s really going to be the goal; find some things we can do better, get our minds off of football for a little bit, allow the players to kind of rest and recover, and then get ready to go and try to play our best football as we go forward.”

They better be ready to play their best football or the season will soon be lost.