Raiders interim head coach Tony Sparano said philosophical changes were coming to the Silver and Black. Dennis Allen ran his team one way; Sparano will use another.
He didn’t say what those changes would be, preferring to iron things out during the bye week. NFL rules kept the workload to a minimum, with just one day between Sparano’s promotion and a mandatory four-day break over the weekend.
The Raiders get back to work on Monday, with an extra practice day before the game week starts in earnest on Wednesday.
“We do expect changes, but obviously we’re not in that position to say exactly what’s going on,” right guard Austin Howard said. “We actually don’t know ourselves.
"We do expect change, but like you guys, we’re just going to head into this thing and do what we do best and that’s just give 110 percent and go out there and try to turn this thing around and have success.”
The Raiders won’t do an about face in the practices leading up to Sunday’s game against the San Diego Chargers. This is the same roster, using the same fundamental scheme.
The Raiders have to fix some problems if they hope to compete during a brutal stretch of games.
Their run defense ranks No. 31, giving up 158.2 yards per game. If you can’t stop the run, you can’t do much of anything.
There are areas where Sparano’s philosophy could help quickly. He’s an offensive-minded coach, and his focus should be on getting that unit going. The Raiders are dead last in total offense (270 ypg), rushing offense (61.5 ypg) and scoring (12.8 ppg).
He has no issue with his play callers, but production has to increase. While Sparano’s promotion allows him to exert greater influence on the game plan, his fingerprints are on a run-blocking scheme that has struggled at times.
The Raiders don’t have the time to re-tool their playbook, but there will be a greater effort to play toward strengths after evaluating individual struggles during the bye.
“We need to make sure that we’re asking our football players here, as coaches, to do the things that they do best,” Sparano said on Tuesday. “We have some good football players here, a lot of them.
"They do a lot of good things, but we need to let them do what they do best. That’s going to be a big part of my push going forward.”