Updated December 6, 2023 - 5:08 pm
Raiders interim coach Antonio Pierce had a message for his 5-7 team when it returned to work Wednesday after its bye week.
There are five games left and the club’s postseason hopes hinge on winning at least four. It’s time for more action and fewer words, Pierce said.
That starts with the Raiders’ matchup with the Minnesota Vikings at 1:05 p.m. Sunday at Allegiant Stadium.
“You got to do it,” Pierce said. “You gotta stop talking about it.”
Pierce found a bunch of nods of agreement among his players. That included star wide receiver Davante Adams.
“We don’t really have time to talk at this point,” Adams said. “You’ve got to be all about action.”
Tackle Jermaine Eluemunor also agreed with Pierce’s message following the Raiders’ week off. The team needs to play a complete game before the season is lost.
“One hundred percent,” Eluemunor said. “When he says enough is enough, as an offense, he’s talking about the third quarter. The fourth quarter. Like, playing a full 60 minutes instead of like a great 30 and then a crappy 30.”
Inconsistency has plagued the Raiders all year. There are far too many prolonged periods of dysfunction despite all the moments of brilliance they’ve flashed.
That led to coach Josh McDaniels being fired and quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo getting benched. The energy and buy-in seem to be better under Pierce, but the Raiders still haven’t been able to find sustained success.
The team is 2-2 since McDaniels was shown the door. The Raiders let winnable games slip from their grasp, which has reduced their margin of error to almost zero.
“If we had done that most of the year, just been more consistent, I’m sure we would have been in a much better position,” Eluemunor said.
The Raiders instead face the daunting task of being almost perfect their remaining five games. They’ll play the Vikings, Chargers, Chiefs, Colts and Broncos to finish the year. Los Angeles, at 5-7, is the only one of those teams with a losing record.
“I think the whole team kind of realizes where we’re at right now,” Adams said. “We made it a little tough on ourselves. But still, everything is out there in front of us. We’ve just got to find a way to finish the right way.”
Pierce believes closing strong comes down to the Raiders’ improving their efficiency. He said the proof rests on the film he and his staff reviewed during the bye week. There were several opportunities the Raiders missed in recent games.
“I feel like we’re leaving plays on the field,” Pierce said. “We do have plays on the field. We got guys running down the field. We got some lanes to hit in the running game. Defensively, we got some opportunities to get the quarterback on the ground or to make a play on the ball. Or on the special teams, to take one to the house.”
That’s what Pierce is stressing to the Raiders to get back to work this week. He still sees potential in this group, but the team has to get the job done on the field.
“I told the guys, at some point, we have to be so determined and strain so hard to just do it,” Pierce said. “Enough with talking about it, just do it. And we have the players that are capable of doing that.”
Who: Vikings at Raiders
When: 1:05 p.m. Sunday
Where: Allegiant Stadium
Radio: KRLV-AM (920), KOMP-FM (92.3)
Line: Vikings -3; total 40½