The Las Vegas Raiders will not have to worry about traveling abroad for “home” games in 2020. In spite of the good news, head coach Jon Gruden isn’t dwelling too much on the schedule.
The burden of traveling far was becoming the norm for the Raiders in recent seasons. Whether it was to Mexico City or London. Due to the nature of the current global pandemic, the NFL had to re-examine their global expansion and put it on hold at least for this upcoming season. The biggest benefactors were the Raiders. They’ll be putting on display their beautiful state-of-the-art facility, Allegiant Stadium in 2020. As far as Gruden’s take on the more placid schedule, less traveling doesn’t translate to “easier.”
Speaking with Jerry McDonald of the Mercury News, Gruden shared his thoughts regarding the schedule. He was asked outright if he’s given the schedule much thought this offseason. “Not much, really. I tend to not look past the first game. I hate to sound cliche, but we’ve got to play a new coach, a new quarterback on the road in the heat. Not long ago Carolina was in the Super Bowl. So it’s important we come out of this thing ready to roll.” The opening game versus the Panthers, which Gruden alludes to in that quote, won’t be an easy one. It’ll be an early test for the defense again the all-world Christian McCaffrey and upstart starting quarterback Teddy Bridgewater.
Week 2 will be the opening of the Raiders’ new home in Las Vegas. Gruden is optimistic that despite current circumstances, Raider Nation will be there to take part in the christening. “Then obviously, Monday night football at home, in Las Vegas. What a thrilling night that will be. I just deep down pray and hope there’s a way we can get the fans in there and celebrate the arrival of the Raiders in Las Vegas. It could be really cool.”
Gruden’s approach to the 2020 schedule is meticulous, he knows that traveling less helps the overall health of the team. That being said, the confines of Las Vegas haven’t proven to be home field the way the Oakland Coliseum was for years, not yet at least. Well played by Gruden in this interview.
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*Top Photo: D. Ross Cameron/Associated Press