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ALAMEDA -- Interim head coach spent the last few weeks getting back to basics. He tapered the Raiders practice schedule to ensure players were fresh come Sunday. He added fundamental periods to practice typically reserved for the offseason and training camp to emphasize the importance of proper technique.
He took that effort one step further and trimmed the playbook. His goal was to focus on the Raiders strengths and stick to what they do best, so he asked coordinators Jason Tarver and Greg Olson to eliminate some fluff.
“Quite honestly, we just went back to the bye and said, ‘What do we do well? Who does those things well? And let’s put those people in positions to do them.’” Sparano said in a Monday press conference. “Our menu was much shorter this week, on both sides of the ball, and the kids played faster and that was a positive.”
It didn’t produce a proper result. The Raiders lost 31-28 to the San Diego Chargers on Sunday afternoon, but the Raiders offense especially fared better with a condensed set of plays. That gave the Raiders more time to master what they were given.
“I was really proud of their effort,” Sparano said. “I thought that, yesterday, watching them, they played really fast in a lot of areas. Really fast, fresher and, fundamentally, we played better in a lot of situations. There are some things there that we’ve got to cleanup throughout this week here, which we’ll do.
“…There are some things that we didn’t do well enough, obviously, and most importantly, the outcome. We needed to be in that kind of football game. Our team needed to feel themselves in that kind of football game and we need to find a way to win that kind of football game, and we will.”