The Las Vegas Raiders are easily coming off their most impressive victory of the 2020 NFL season with a 40-32 win over the Kansas City Chiefs in Week 5.
As a result, some are considering the timing of their bye in Week 6 as hardly ideal since it appeared as though the Raiders had truly started to get the ball rolling. Their momentum could have very well paid some huge dividends heading into their primetime matchup with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Week 7.
Head coach Jon Gruden acknowledged that the break prevents them from keeping their rhythm going. However, it seems there are some silver linings given the number of ailments the team is nursing at this point in the season.
Gruden feels having the week off should be beneficial for players recovering from injuries, via Levi Edwards of the team’s official website:
“I like to keep playing,” said Coach Gruden Monday to the media. “I like to play doubleheaders, sometimes. But, it is part of the schedule, as you know. So, in some ways it will get Trent Brown an additional couple days to respond to his first game. We’re hoping Richie Incognito can come back, obviously Maurice Hurst, Maliek Collins, Damon Arnette, Bryan Edwards. We got a lot of guys that are still on the mend. So, I’ll take this bye week this year at this time.”
Given all the names Gruden listed off, it is easy to see why he had a change-of-heart on the bye week. Although the Raiders may be riding high with their victory over the Chiefs, there is still plenty of football left to play and the team will need to be at full strength down the road if they hope to prove that it was not a fluke.
Running back Josh Jacobs should be relishing in the week off after battling through a lingering hip injury. Fortunately, this has not held him back after entering the bye as the league’s second-leading rusher (377 yards).
Of course, it is the secondary that will likely benefit the most considering how banged up this group has been in recent weeks. Cornerback Damon Arnette remains on injured reserve after re-aggravating his thumb injury. Meanwhile, Johnathan Abram (shoulder), Lamarcus Joyner (ribs) and Nevin Lawson (ankle) should be much closer to 100 percent by the time the Sunday Night Football matchup versus Tampa Bay rolls around.