The Oakland Raiders moved to 4-0 on the road this season by defeating the team that Jack Del Rio used to coach, the Jacksonville Jaguars, 33-16.
This upcoming weekend the Raiders are once again on the road as they play another Florida team, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Instead of flying back to Oakland after Sunday’s win and practicing at home and then flying back to the east coast ahead of Sunday’s game, the Raiders decided to stay in Floria for the week and are staying at the Ritz Carlton in Sarasota and practicing at the IMG Academy in Bradenton.
According to Scott Blair of CSN Bay Area, the Raiders, and wide receiver Michael Crabtree in particular are enjoying their week in Florida:
“It’s just a change of scenery. I feel like we’re just enjoying it,” Crabtree said. “It’s beautiful. Sarasota, this is nice. Taking it all in and at the same time, we’re working every day. You can’t beat this weather. You can’t beat this scenery, the Ritz, you can’t beat none of this. I’m just taking it all in, enjoying it and playing ball.”
Linebacker Malcolm Smith feels that it has been a good bonding experience for the team, comparing it to Training Camp:
“As far as team bonding goes, this has been a great experience,” he said. “It’s better than camp because we’re not fighting for jobs and things like that. This is our group, and we’re focused on getting ready to play.”
The Raiders have some big tests ahead of them in Weeks 8 and 9 as they play the much improved Buccaneers this weekend before hosting the Denver Broncos in Week 9 before the Raiders bye week in Week 10.
The Raiders and Broncos are currently tied for first in the AFC West at 5-2. It will be a great challenge for the Raiders this weekend to not be looking ahead to the matchup with the Broncos and overlook Tampa Bay.