The Oakland Raiders had a relatively quiet bye week during a slate of close NFL contests in Week 10 of the 17-week schedule. Head coach Jack Del Rio and his unit sat back and witnessed the Denver Broncos and Kansas City Chiefs each come back to win their games, locking them in a virtual tie for place in the AFC West with the Chiefs.
Del Rio and his unit have performed exceptionally well this season, capped off by their primetime win against the Denver Broncos at the Oakland Coliseum. The head coach of the Raiders noted that the stadium was rocking, due to the atmosphere Raiders nation provided, cheering on their team.
While the unit is 5-0 on the road and 2-2 at home, Del Rio will be the first to note that there are improvements to be made moving forward.
After beginning the season with the worst defense in the league in terms of yards per game, Ken Norton Jr.’s unit is steadily climbing the ranks as each week progresses. The offense, which was pass dependent during Latavius Murray’s absence, is now finding the right balance between the air and ground.
In an interview with The Silver and Black Show, Del Rio stated that the improved communication and quicker outcomes have translated into better results:
“We’re working at it. We’re an improving group. Didn’t go the way we wanted to at the beginning, but we were winning games and that’s the bottom line in this league; find a way to win. Now we are getting our footing about us, communication is better, guys are doing a better job of playing fast.”
Communication was an earlier problem this season, as the defense had some mental breakdowns that hindered their schemes. However, the unit has shown drastic improvements during crucial moments of the game, including the game-sealing stops against the Broncos and Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
While the unit was rolling with a lot of momentum, it seems the bye week allowed the entire roster to regroup. Del Rio gave his unit some time off, in order to relax their minds and have them coming back hungry to finish off their mission.
Although the host argued that the bye week might have been at a bad time, Del Rio understood the significance of the bye week and what it means for the Raiders moving forward:
“We’ll take the schedule we have. We’ll get ourselves ready and go compete. This bye week comes at a great time. Get guys healthier, coming out of this break right here, and we’re ready to go for these last seven games”
In Week 11, the Raiders have yet another primetime matchup, slated on Monday Night Football against the Houston Texans. However, this contest is scheduled at Mexico City, as a part of the international series that commissioner Roger Goodell has in store.
Del Rio commented on the preparation for the technical “home game”, with his roster preparing for a sold out crowd.
Former Raiders legend Charles Woodson noticed something special in this unit, as he believes the depth has been able to help close out these nail-biting contests the Raiders seem to have a knack for winning.