WHITE SULPHUR SPRINGS, W.Va. — The Las Vegas Raiders are cradled here in the lush Allegheny Mountains, far away from distractions — and most of civilization — as they get ready to put their 1-0 record on the line against Buffalo Bills on Sunday.
They are staying and practicing at The Greenbrier, a national historical landmark that has been taking in guests since 1778. At some point, they started requiring guests to wear collared shirts at some of their restaurants and a sports coat for dinner in the main dining room.
That did not go over well with many of the Raiders players, who do have some really stylish hoodies.
Quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo was unfazed, as always, about not packing a sports coat.
“I’ll have to get one out here probably,” he said, smiling. “But no, it’s classy around here. It’s a cool atmosphere, it’s just different.”
This is Garoppolo’s third visit, after coming twice with the San Francisco 49ers.
“Yeah, I’ve become a regular,” he said. “I love it out here, man. It’s cool. You kind of get away from everything but get some time with the guys and just get to hang out.”
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While the kickers went out fishing on the off day Tuesday and other players hit the bowling alley in the resort basement, Garoppolo stayed true to his favorite activity in West Virginia.
“Football,” he said. “I haven’t had much time, honestly. Just getting on the film, getting on the game plan. Hopefully, one of these nights we’ll get to get some dinner or something, go out like that. But it’s been football right now.”
The Raiders did some bonding at the joint practices with the Los Angeles Rams in Thousand Oaks, Calif., last month, but a lot of the guys on that trip have since been cut.
“To be here with the established roster, it’s good to just get time with your brothers,” wide receiver Davante Adams said, “a little bit of bonding and seeing a different part of the world that I would not have seen — I can guarantee you that, had I not been dragged out here for the week. But I love it, I mean it’s beautiful, it’s very green.”
The end of that quote is like toe-tapping a catch on the sideline.
Adams also was unaware of the dress code at the resort.
“I was unaware of everything that The Greenbrier had in store and the regulations as far as the dress code,” he said. “But anywhere I could sneak in with what I’m wearing right here, I’ll be there.”
(Adams took the day off from practice with a foot injury while Garoppolo was limited with a sore ankle, but both should be fine for Sunday.)
Coach Josh McDaniels, who came to The Greenbrier with the New England Patriots, thinks the quality time together will pay off in the long run this season.
“I think it’s a great setup,” McDaniels said. “You get acclimated to the time zone, you get acclimated to potentially weather, whether it’s humidity that we don’t have in Vegas or some kind of wet weather could be a factor.
“It also gives our team an opportunity to have some team-building time together. It’s a long season, we know we’ve got to go through a lot of battles and handle adversities and those types of things, and it’s always better to handle those things when you really appreciate and have an affection for the people that you’re doing it with.”
One common goal this week: stop Bills quarterback Josh Allen. McDaniels went against him often when he was with the Patriots.
“He’s an incredible competitor, a really tough football player,” McDaniels said. “He’s a football player, he’s not just a quarterback. I mean, he can hurt you with his mind. He can hurt you with his arm. He can hurt you with his legs. He can hurt you with his shoulder — dropping his shoulder and running through people. Wants the ball in his hands in all the ‘gotta have it’ situations.
“He’s a really good leader and obviously they play hard for him. … He’s going to make his fair share of plays, and you’ve got to just try to make it as hard as you can on him to not let that get out of hand.”
News and notes
• McDaniels didn’t have an update on receiver Jakobi Meyers, who remains in concussion protocol after taking a big hit late in Sunday’s game.
• The Raiders lost two players off their practice squad, with the Carolina Panthers signing cornerback Sam Webb and the Seattle Seahawks grabbing rookie guard McClendon Curtis, a very interesting undrafted player whom the Raiders gave $210,000 guaranteed in April.
• Adams had a hard time watching his friend and former quarterback Aaron Rodgers go down with a torn Achilles on Monday night just four snaps into his New York Jets career.
“It’s like a horrible movie. You don’t want to see the main character go down like that, let alone as early as what it was,” Adams said. “And I know he was excited, and I was definitely excited to see him go out there and ball out. I know he was feeling rejuvenated. … It sucks, and I’m just praying that he’s mentally in a good spot right now and he continues to overcome it.”
(Photos courtesy of Matt Aguirre / Las Vegas Raiders)
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