The Oakland Raiders started this week angry.
They had just lost a crucial divisional game to the Kansas City Chiefs. Their playoff chances had been severely diminished. And, few people had answers for how to turn things around.
Head coach Jack Del Rio was “pissed” on Monday, quarterback Derek Carr took the blame on Sunday.
With a new week and a primetime matchup against the Dallas Cowboys ahead of them, the Silver and Black was eager to put the past behind them and rebuild on Wednesday.
“Whether we’re being praised or we’re being attacked, that doesn’t matter,” Del Rio told reporters. “That’s just the noise on the outside, but inside the building we’re being very purposeful of getting back to work.”
Carr said his wife and kids helped him settle down and put things in perspective. But he defended his reaction.
“I think we’re all pretty upset. If you’re not, then you’re obviously not putting enough into it,” he said. “… I still stand by how I felt, man. I was hot to be honest. I put way too much effort into this to go out there and not play my best.”
The Raiders host the Dallas Cowboys for Sunday Night Football. The guests are on a two-game win streak and appear to have put their offense back together after losing three-straight following the six-game suspension of star running back Ezekiel Elliott.
The Cowboys averaged 34 points in those recent victories while rushing for 152 yards per game. The latter should be reason for concern for Oakland, which allowed 165 yards on the ground last week in Kansas City.
“They have a big offensive line,” Del Rio said. “… All the backs are good. They’re all talented. They run behind it.”
That o-line is a bear for most teams in the NFL — the Cowboys rank third with 137.5 rushing yards per game — and will be especially onerous for the Raiders, who have a league-average run defense.
And help isn’t on the way. After fighting for most of the season, Cory James will be placed on the injured reserve, according to the Athletic’s Vic Tafur. The linebacker has 62 tackles this season, which is the sixth most on the team, despite being out since Week 12.