Raiders head coach Jon Gruden wants his players to enjoy their bye. He gave them the full week off right after Sunday’s 24-21 victory over the Chicago Bears, releasing those not in need of medical treatment after they came home from London.
Gruden, however, has no grand plans of his own. He’ll forgo a white sand beach or a trip along the coast for the Raiders training complex, where he’ll give new receiver Zay Jones a crash course in his Raiders offense.
“I’m going to teach Zay Jones some plays today,” Gruden said Tuesday. “I’m going to come in tomorrow and teach Zay Jones some more plays.”
Gruden must get his new receiver up to speed quickly. The Raiders traded a 2021 fifth-round pick for the Buffalo receiver on Monday – they also traded for Trevor Davis a few weeks back -- and it’s possible Jones plays a significant role in a Week 7 clash at Green Bay.
That will happen, of course, if Jones can get up to speed and show well in practice. It might be required, considering uncertain availability for Tyrell Williams (foot), J.J. Nelson (lower leg) and Dwayne Harris (ankle). Those guys seemed in line to play Sunday against Chicago, but all of them were deemed unfit. Gruden couldn’t guarantee they’d be ready for the Packers, though it’s possible the week off will do them well.
“Those are three veteran receivers that we had expected to play and are not sure of their status,” Gruden said. “But we got to get ready to play Green Bay and they play a lot of bump and run and man-to-man. We’ll start teaching Zay the plays and all that good stuff here after we’re done with this.”
Raiders general manager Mike Mayock liked Jones coming out of East Carolina. He’s 6-foot-2, 200 pounds, with athleticism required to excel at this level. He hasn’t been efficient or terribly productive despite significant targets, but there’s plenty to like about someone just 24 years old with a rookie contract that goes through 2020.
“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 has a lot of natural skills that are really well worth looking into. With all our injuries, I really credit [General Manager] Mike Mayock and his staff for the two trades that we made. Trevor Davis has really played big dividends for us. We expect more of the same from Zay.”