Jack Del Rio's message to his team was a simple one Thursday – enjoy the time away, be safe, and be ready to get back to work next week.
After an abbreviated practice Thursday afternoon at their Alameda, Calif., facility, the Oakland Raiders are officially on the bye, a much-deserved break in the middle of the marathon that is the NFL regular season.
"I told our guys, get back here ready to go to work, and be smart about the choices you're making while you're gone," said Head Coach Del Rio. "That's what we expect. I think our guys will handle themselves well."
"I know our team loves it [the bye week] just because it's such a long year," added quarterback Derek Carr.
With a Monday Night Football matchup against the Houston Texans on the agenda following the bye, the team won't return to work until Wednesday, and the time away from the stresses of football is a welcome change for the members of the Silver and Black.
"The biggest thing I think for the bye week is try to get away and get your mind away, so that when you come back you're totally zoned in and focused, and you're refreshed for the next part of the season," cornerback TJ Carrie explained.
The Raiders have been going non-stop since mid-July when the team reported to training camp, and while the bye undoubtedly provides a time for players to relax, and break out of their normal routine for a few, short days, for Carr, it provides a good chance to get ahead on some homework for the Texans and beyond.
"I get a couple of games in, a couple teams in on who's coming up on our schedule," Carr said. "I just get a head start on things. The physical work goes way down, but the mental side can crank up."
The Raiders signal-caller joked that he'd be able to get some film work in while his wife Heather was out, or his two sons were napping, but as a fan of the game, come Sunday, Carr will be just like many other football fans, and will be watching the slate of NFL games from his couch.
"I love it," Carr said. "I'm a huge fan. I'll definitely have my 'RedZone' on. I'll be watching all the games and all those things. Yeah, man, I can definitely watch just because I'm just such a huge fan of the game, and I always will be."
Similarly, his head coach will also be keyed in on what's happening around the NFL this Sunday.
"Yeah, I like the 'RedZone,'" Del Rio said. "It keeps you right in the middle of the action. I typically like to have a game on and the 'RedZone' on. Pretty good at watching, but most of the time we're playing, so I don't get to enjoy it like I will this weekend."
Both quarterback and head coach have said even though the Raiders are in the midst of a three-game winning streak, the bye is coming at a good time, but rest assured that when the team gets back to work next week, they'll be focused solely on what's ahead of them, because as Head Coach Del Rio likes to say, there's still a lot ahead of the Silver and Black in 2016.
"It's a long, long season, so it's good right now," Carr said. "It's like a perfect timing for everyone to just gather themselves, hang out with their family and get back ready again to hit the stretch right."