ALAMEDA – The Raiders downgraded their practice to a walk-through for the second straight day due to poor air quality, again moving off-site to work indoors at a local sports complex.
While anyone in Silver and Black is careful to point out inconveniences brought about by think smoke in the Bay Area are inconsequential to the lives, homes and other property lost in the Camp Fire itself, the Raiders are at a disadvantage while preparing for Sunday’s game against the host Arizona Cardinals.
They haven’t conducted a full-speed practice since Wednesday, and even that was conducted in poor air quality. Conditions have worsened dramatically over the past few days, with unhealthy conditions for even normal, healthy adults.
Had a home game been schedule for Sunday, the NFL surely would’ve moved it to another location. The Environmental Protection Agency gave air quality an unhealthy score of 159 before the previous game against the Chargers. The EPA’s air quality score in Oakland was 256 in Oakland.
Smoky air drove the Raiders indoors for the second straight day, where they got in reps but none a full speed. They don’t have the space or quality surface to do real football work, but the Raiders are making do.
“We’re practicing in an indoor, ice rink that was (converted) to a soccer field,” Raiders head coach Jon Gruden said. “We didn’t have much room to get the splits and get the routes run. We’re not going to make any excuses. We’re not the only people dealing with adversity right now.”
That last part is true, but this week’s prep wasn’t complete, and it could impact their ability to earn the season’s second win against a beatable opponent.
“The practices have impacted us, You need to see things at speed to generate timing. Switching stunts in a walk through in an indoor facility is one thing, in a controlled fashion. Switching them on a practice field at full speed is another. Timing out routes, seeing it at speed. That’s why you see a lot of indoor facilities around the league. It gets bad outside, they go inside. Fortunately for us we were able to find a place to get some work in.”