ALAMEDA -- Raiders head coach Dennis Allen is always cool, calm and collected when talking to reporters and in front of cameras. It looks like he can also be pretty creative when it comes to motivating his players. When the Raiders' locker room was opened to the media today, a handful of lockers held baseball bats engraved with "Raiders vs. Steelers" and, in quotes, "Bring the wood."
Defensive tackle Richard Seymour had mentioned after the Raiders beat the Steelers 34-31 on Sunday, when asked about the defense's two fourth-quarter stops, that the coaches "gave us bats early on in the week and said just keep swinging, and that's what we tried to do - bring the wood, keep swinging. We had to finish better than we did in the past two games and I thought we did that collectively as a team."
Apparently Seymour wasn't talking in metaphor. Linebacker Philip Wheeler expounded on the bats today, saying they were distributed a couple days before the game and didn't only go to defensive players.
"The whole team got the bats," Wheeler said. "That was the theme, man. Coach D.A. was telling us, man, it's going to be one of those fights you've got to swing our bats for 60 minutes, and that's what we did.
"Something good to just motivate us," Wheeler added, "and it was a good motivation."
Indeed, the Raiders trailed the entire game against the Steelers until Sebastian Janikowski's game-winning, 43-yard field goal split the uprights as time expired.
-- Matt Kawahara