The Raiders got an emotional charge out of the massive leadership switch from Josh McDaniels to Antonio Pierce last week.
The trick now is figuring out how to play just as effectively and spirited without relying on such an obvious motivational tool.
“It’s sustainable if you know how to manage it and use it correctly,” wide receiver Davante Adams said.
True. But as opposed to this time a week ago, the Raiders aren’t immediately motivated by the need to reward Pierce, one of the most popular figures in the building, with a great effort to justify the coaching change.
There were no one-on-one basketball games in the locker room this week, as there were seven days ago when players marked the change from McDaniels to Pierce by putting a miniature hoop in the locker room and having Adams unveil to the world by dunking all over Ameer Abdullah in a viral social media clip.
Adams’ hoop showcase was a clear message the Raiders were flipping the switch from the more subdued McDaniels to the vibrant Pierce and embracing the new mindset that came with it.
The new world the Raiders were operating in was on full display in the win over the Giants.
Now comes the hard part of trying to maintain that edge over the next eight weeks, starting with Sunday’s game against the Jets at Allegiant Stadium.
“Being sustainable is just our attitude and our energy and our focus moving forward as a team,” Adams said. “And I think all those pieces are in place right now.”
As a former player, Pierce understands the mindset of a professional athlete and the high-intensity state his players drove themselves to in his first game as their interim coach. By giving them Monday and Tuesday off, Pierce gave them time to digest everything before reporting to work with a clean slate. That was the message by the time they gathered Wednesday.
“We knew last week was going to be emotion, and we checked that this morning,” Pierce said. “We can’t win in the National Football League each and every week on emotions; we’ll get burnt out. Now, it goes back to what football is all about — the execution, fundamentals, technique, doing your job, maintaining.”
Pierce is classifying that challenge as creating a winning stamina that supersedes emotion. In doing so, he’s created a direct line to his captains to have his finger on the team’s pulse in a way that creates continuity.
“The same focus that those guys had on Sunday, carry that over now, full workweek,” Pierce said. “And that comes with the leaders. Again, I’m going to keep going back to the guys in the locker room kind of leading, not waiting until the horn blows, getting ahead, thinking ahead, being ahead. Obviously, we have great meetings and some great walk-throughs, and we’ll just keep pushing like that.”
Adams is doing his part.
“It’s just a matter of keeping that going and keeping everybody positive in the midst of adversity,” he said “Not everything’s going to go as smoothly as it did last week. So just understanding that and then doing something about it when you have the opportunity.”
Who: Jets at Raiders
When: 5:20 p.m. Sunday
Where: Allegiant Stadium
Radio: KRLV-AM (920), KOMP-FM (92.3)
Line: Pick’em; total 36