Raiders back from London, ready for bye week
ALAMEDA — Through bloodshot eyes and and dealing with jet leg after returning home from London, Raiders coach Jon Gruden greeted the media with a “Good morning” at 1 o’clock in the afternoon Tuesday at his weekly press conference.
In the delirious aftermath of a 24-21 win over the Chicago Bears, Gruden gave his players the week off rather than hold any bye week practices. The Raiders are back at practice Monday in preparation for another road game against the Green Bay Packers on Oct. 20.
In the meantime, Gruden said his own bye week plans included giving new wide receiver Zay Jones a crash course on the offense. Jones, a second round draft pick from East Carolina in 2017, was acquired for a reported fifth-round pick in 2021 from the Buffalo Bills.
“He was a very productive guy in college,” Gruden said. “Played in the slot, played split end and flanker. Tough guy. Smart. I just think he’s got a lot of natural skills that are really well worth looking into.”
Jones was Mike Mayock’s No. 4 wide receiver coming out of college as a draft analyst for NFL Network. Jones’ college production was staggering — 399 receptions for 4,279 yards and 23 touchdowns in four seasons in a pass-happy offense and an NCAA record 158 catches in 12 games as a senior in 2016.
The 6-foot-2, 201 pound receiver started 27 games for Buffalo, including two this season, and led the Bills with 56 catches for 652 yards and seven touchdowns last season. When Gruden was asked his bye week plans, it sounded as if he and Jones will get to know each other well in the coming days.
“I’m going to teach Zay Jones some plays today and I’m going to come in tomorrow and teach Zay Jones some more plays,” Gruden said.
Gruden said he wasn’t sure of the status of starting wide receiver Tyrell Williams, who missed the Chicago game with a foot injury, or J.J. Nelson, who has missed the last two games with an ankle issue.
Marcell Ateman, who was promoted from the practice squad for the Bears game and played 28 snaps without being targeted, was waived and presumably will return to the practice squad.
Other topics addressed by Gruden:
Being 3-2 at the bye
“We’re building our team. That’s all I’m going to say. We’re not making any other statements other than that. We like the progress. We like the development of some young guys. I think our veteran leadership has been excellent.”
Anniversary of the death of Al Davis
“Eight years ago we lost Al Davis and my respects go to the Davis family. I know if Al Davis was still here he’d have been proud of our team and the way they played the last couple of weeks. Just like to keep him in our thoughts, his family in our thoughts,” Gruden said Tuesday.
Offensive line’s play against Bears
“We’re proud of that film. We’re proud of what we’ve done up front on offense. Kolton Miller’s played reallly good, Trent Brown has been as advertised. Rodney Hudson played as well as I’ve seen him play. They like it. It’s fun to block for a guy like (Josh) Jacobs. Their hard work and their effort is rewarded every time we hand this kid the ball.”