The common question surrounding a bye week: Is it rest or rust?
For the struggling Oakland Raiders, the notion that clearly applies is the former. Well, the latter does too.
The Raiders (2-5) are coming off a 17-10 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs Monday. Oakland is off this week before returning for a Nov. 2 road game at Detroit. Regardless of the outcome of Monday night's home game, however, Oakland clearly needs a week off to lick its wounds – in more ways than one. The Raiders had 23 players listed on the injury report Wednesday.
Oakland head coach Bill Callahan would not narrate all 23 players but agreed the bye week comes not a moment too soon.
"We're going to use this bye as best we can to get players healthy," Callahan said. "We had to modify practice today. We couldn't even work against the scout team today. We had to work against whatever we had out there. If we were to play a game this weekend, we would be in a little trouble."
The injury that has the most intrigue is the one to quarterback Rich Gannon, who suffered a shoulder injury in the Monday night loss. Backup Marques Tuiasosopo relieved him. Gannon underwent an MRI examination Tuesday but he and Callahan chose not to discuss the results or depth of the injury.
The only thing known for certain is that Gannon would not be healthy enough if the Raiders had a game this week. Gannon may start the Detroit game if his injury has healed sufficiently enough by Wednesday.
Oakland, however, can also use the bye week because it has wounds of a different sort. The Raiders need the bye week to perhaps further examine why the wheel has fallen off the wagon. The Raiders have gone from AFC Champion to 2-5 entering Monday. The chances of reaching the playoffs are miniscule but frankly a .500 record looks like a reach.
The good news is that the Raiders are 12-4 after an open date (including the postseason) since the NFL instituted the bye week for the regular season in 1990. Oakland has also won eight straight (including two postseason games) after a bye week and has outscored its opponents by an average margin of 30.8-14.6.
There's a decent chance that trend could continue because Detroit is also struggling. The Lions are 1-5 under first-year head coach Steve Mariucci entering Sunday's road game at Chicago. Granted, the Raiders have lost to Chicago and Cleveland but Detroit is at least a winnable game.
Vince D'Adamo can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org