Programming note: For comprehensive Raiders coverage from Alameda, tune in to SportsNet Central tonight at 6 p.m., 10:30 and midnight on Comcast SportsNet Bay Area
ALAMEDA – Raiders interim head coach Tony Sparano gave his players an extra day off on Monday, and it had nothing to do with Sunday’s 41-17 loss to the Denver Broncos.
The extra day was pre-planned, a chance to give players some respite before a grueling stretch where the Raiders play at San Diego on Sunday and host Kansas City the following Thursday night.
“At some points, you’ve got to give the players a chance to stop for some gas,” Sparano said. “I knew in advance that this was going to be a players’ day off no matter what. I would have liked to have called it a ‘Victory Monday,’ but I knew either way I need to give them a day off here to get themselves healed up a little bit, to stop for gas here as we play two games here in (close proximity).”
Sparano said Sunday night that he hopes the players come back with a “clear head,” ready to focus and practice hard leading up to the San Diego game.
While it has nothing to do with the day off, players need to flush their system after their first blowout loss since Sparano took over for Dennis Allen.
The Raiders still crave their first win, a drive that hasn’t diminished after an 0-9 start.
“We have to get that boulder off our back,” cornerback Tarell Brown said. “We’re playing for pride now, but that still means something. I need to help make sure that happens. The vets are trying to help guys come along. The biggest thing is not making the same mistakes. You can’t win a game with turnovers. We have to communicate better and tackle better on defense. We have to do the little things required to win games, and that comes with focus.”