Early bye offers opportunity to heal
Silver & Black Illustrated|November 2020
As a general rule of thumb Jon Gruden isn’t a big fan of the bye week. That it came for the Raiders this season right after their emphatic win over the defending Super Bowl champs only enhanced the head coach’s distaste for the annual in-season break given to the NFL’s 32 teams.
Michael Wagaman

“I like to keep playing. I like to play doubleheaders sometimes,” Gruden joked.

Yet Gruden fully understands that if any team needs a break, even after just five games, it’s Las Vegas.

The first month of the season was a constant reminder of how fragile momentum can be to sustain when players are filing into the trainers room as if they were on their way to a concert.

First-round pick Damon Arnette landed on injured reserve with a broken right thumb that required surgery. Left guard Richie Incognito joined him with an Achilles injury. Marcus Mariota, signed in the offseason to back up Derek Carr, had been on IR long before both of them with an apparent pectoral injury.

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Wide receivers Henry Ruggs (knee/ham string) and Bryan Edwards (foot/ankle) missed two games each, although Ruggs returned to spearhead the Raiders’ win at Arrowhead Stadium before the bye. Right tackle Trent Brown also came back against the Chiefs after sitting out three games with a calf injury. Linebacker Nick Kwiatkoski (pec) returned to the defense after being out since Week 1 like Brown, but defensive tackle Maliek Collins (shoulder) sat out.

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