In a bit of an interesting twist, Daryl Worley’s first “home” game as a Raider will take place 5,300 miles away from the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum.
As part of the 2018 slate of NFL International Games, the Silver and Black are headed to London to take on the Seattle Seahawks at Wembley Stadium – home of the England national football team – this Sunday evening.
With that, comes a lengthy flight across The Pond, the longest flight to play a game that Daryl Worley – and likely most of his Raiders teammates – have ever taken.
“The furthest I’ve came is from East Coast to West Coast, and vice versa,” he explained. “I’ve never done anything outside the country.”
Part of playing a game abroad is dealing with the adjusted week of preparation, but according to Worley, as important as the on-field work is, for the Raiders, taking care of their bodies will be at a premium over the next few days.
“I think it’ll be real big this week that everyone just stays on top of their recovery, more than anything,” Worley said. “This will definitely be a mental week, because with games like this, it’s not really a quick turnaround, but then with the travel and then the time difference, it may seem like you’re going to be playing on a Thursday night game or something like that, so taking care of our bodies will definitely be key.”
He continued, “I think just during the week, just letting it be more a mental thing, honestly. Just take care of your body as much as possible, whether it’s cold tubs, hot tubs, Normatec boots, any other techniques that guys may have.”
Worley, Head Coach Jon Gruden, and the rest of the team fly to London Thursday night, and while the early travel day does throw a bit of a wrench in the week, offensive coordinator Greg Olson – who’s participated in the international game on seven occasions – likes that the Silver and Black are coming in just a few days before kickoff instead of spending the entire week abroad.
“I’ve had success in both, and failures in both, so always trying to find what’s the best way to do it,” Olson said. “Again, I’ve done it both ways and have won and lost doing it both ways. I personally prefer going over on a Thursday. Make it a quick road trip there but either way has worked. I prefer the way that we are doing it.
“Every team is different,” he continued. “I think it was good for our players to be here and rehab and rest here and be in there on bed and have a chance to sleep. We started by having an early week. They actually are going to get an extra day of rest Friday on the travel day and tomorrow night so I think we will be fresh and ready to go. I like the way that they set it up, our trainers and our strength staff, and coach set it up this year.”
As Olson mentioned, the Raiders travel day is indeed Thursday, emphasis on day, as the flight to Europe clocks in at just about 10 hours.
While that amount of time on a plane certainly presents its challenges, it also allows for the players and coaching staff, to rest and catch up on work.
“I imagine that a lot of guys will be using it for film, and just studying,” Worley said. “Being able to clear their mind, get it right.”
In total, the Silver and Black will be in London for less than 72 hours, really highlighting the fact that their jaunt abroad is indeed a business trip. And while the ultimate goal is to return stateside with a “W” the experience of playing an international game is something not lost on the Raiders head coach.
“I think it’s a great opportunity to see the world and play football,” Coach Gruden said. “How good does it get?”
Players return to the practice field at Raiders HQ in preparation for their Week 6 matchup against the Seattle Seahawks at Wembley Stadium in London.