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John Bazemore / Associated Press

Footballs are seen on the Las Vegas Raiders sidelines before the first half of an NFL football game between the Atlanta Falcons and the Las Vegas Raiders, Sunday, Nov. 29, 2020, in Atlanta.

A consummate football junkie, Raiders coach Jon Gruden enjoys his early wake-up every Monday morning during the season to review film of his team’s game from the previous day.

Just not this week. Dissecting Las Vegas’ 43-6 loss to Atlanta proved as painful as it sounds.

“You ever go to the dentist and have to have your teeth pulled?” Gruden asked. “It’s pretty much like that. This was tough, man.”

Making matters worse for Gruden was having no way to dive into the numerous fixes he wanted to make with his players — at least not directly. With coronavirus cases rising both nationally and inside the NFL, the league issued a two-day lockdown for all team facilities on Monday and Tuesday.

The only Raiders allowed at the team headquarters in Henderson, therefore, were those rehabbing injuries. Las Vegas was limited to virtual meetings before it’s expected to reconvene this morning to begin preparations for its game at the Jets on Sunday.

“You have to study independently then we’ll come together collectively as a staff, offense, defense, special teams … and do the best we can to get everybody on the same page and ready for the Jets,” Gruden said.

Strangely working in the Raiders’ favor might be their familiarity with managing coronavirus disruptions. Las Vegas’ COVID-19 list has been as populated as any teams’ in the league throughout the season, and it’s also been through a week when it practiced without its entire offensive line and another when most of its defensive starters were missing.

The number of Raiders currently afflicted with the virus also appeared to be receding going into the Falcons game. Although Gruden and his staff decided to make him inactive in Atlanta to give him more time to get into game shape, defensive end Clelin Ferrell returned to practice last week.

Gruden expected right tackle Trent Brown, cornerback Lamarcus Joyner and defensive tackle David Irving would follow this week. If that happens, the Raiders could be without any players on the COVID-19 list for the first time since the beginning of the season.

Gruden knows better than to count on such health, however, as all players will need to be tested before re-entering the facility. There’s a chance more positive tests could spring up, as they usually have throughout the season.

“I don’t even know who is in the lineup every week,” Gruden said last week. “I’m just waiting to see who’s available for Wednesday’s practice and who potentially is available for Sunday’s game.”

Although Gruden would prefer to be around his players, he doesn’t foresee the two days away as a major issue. The Raiders have emphasized drafting and signing self-motivated players whom they trust to work on their own.

The consensus is that they won’t be behind schedule by the time they hit the practice field for the first time this morning.

“There’s a million excuses out there and this would be easy to say, ‘OK, we’re not at the facility the next two days; that’s an excuse,’ but everyone deals with it,” receiver Hunter Renfrow said after Sunday’s loss. “We’ve got to start looking at these excuses as positives and ‘How are we going to be more positive on Monday and Tuesday than everybody else in the league?’ If we do that, we’re going to find success.”

Quarterback Derek Carr went a step further, suggesting that the break could be “a good thing.” The Raiders need to refocus after becoming a surprise blowout victim to the Falcons, and that might be best achieved on an individual level.

“A lot of guys can reflect, a lot of guys can watch tape and really see if it was their best effort,” Carr said.

Las Vegas needs to win the majority of its five remaining regular-season games to reach the playoffs after dropping to 6-5, and a slight breather could help in gearing up for a definitive stretch. That’s what Carr is hoping for anyway.

Finding positives out of the situation may come as a solace to Gruden. He certainly didn’t see many when reviewing the Falcons’ game.

“There wasn’t anything pleasant about watching the tape,” Gruden said. “As a coach, you take responsibility on what you can control and we’re going to try to make the proper corrections. Hopefully get some players healthy and return to the lineup on Wednesday.”

Case Keefer can be reached at 702-948-2790 or [email protected]. Follow Case on Twitter at Keefer can be reached at 702-948-2790 or

Article written by #LasVegasSun