Raiders switch to night practice
ALAMEDA, Calif. (AP) Maybe a change in the practice schedule will shake the Oakland Raiders out of their winless slide – now at 16 games and longer than a full calendar year.
With his team set to make its only appearance in prime time this season at home against Kansas City on Thursday night, interim Oakland coach Tony Sparano had no choice but to switch from the team’s normal routine.
Instead of an afternoon of meetings and rehab Monday, the Raiders went through a one-hour walkthrough under the lights at the team’s facility not far from the Oakland Coliseum.
Large towers of lights were brought in to illuminate the three practice fields. One bank of lights was placed on the fields while the other hung from a crane in an adjacent parking lot.
Sparano altered the schedule to help his players get better acclimated to a night game.
”The challenges are in getting the players’ routine down more than anything else,” he said. ”We did a good job of trying to keep the practice at a time where the game is going to be played. That was really important.”
Even though the temperature was still in the low 60s at the start of the late practice, some players wore sweatpants and beanies as they jogged through the light workout.
The quick turnaround didn’t give the Raiders much time to lament becoming the first NFL team to lose 16 consecutive games since Detroit and St. Louis snapped their skids in 2009. The Lions lost 19 in a row from 2007-09, and the Rams dropped 17 straight from 2008-09.
”There’s a lot for every quarterback to get ready for, especially with a talented defense like Kansas City has,” Raiders rookie quarterback Derek Carr said. ”It just puts more on your plate and you just knock it out in the time that we do have.”
Oakland’s last win came on Nov. 17, 2013, when it beat the Houston Texans 28-23. The Raiders haven’t won at home since Oct. 27, 2013 – a drought of nine games.
One of precious few reasons for optimism is the development of Carr, a second-round draft pick.
Carr has thrown for 200 yards or more only three times this year but is the 12th rookie in NFL history to pass for more than 2,000 yards in his first 10 games.
”Every week he gets better at something,” Sparano said. ”When you look at the total body of work … at this point in time he’s much farther ahead than I would have anticipated back in Napa.”
NOTES: Rookie LG Gabe Jackson returned to practice after sitting out the previous two games with a knee injury. Khalif Barnes has started in Jackson’s absence. … CB Carlos Rogers (knee) did not practice and is likely to miss his fourth consecutive game. … CB TJ Carrie (ankle) was also held out.