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Head Coach Jack Del Rio Speaks Following Preseason Opener

Posted Aug 15, 2015

Following the Oakland Raiders preseason opener against the St. Louis Rams, Head Coach Jack Del Rio addressed the media about the evening's game.

Opening Statement

Del Rio: “Well we were all excited to get started. It was nice to get an opportunity to play in front of our crowd, our fans and it’s nice to play well. We knew coming in it was just start. We knew that there’d be things to correct. I was really proud with the crisp play. I thought we were really physical in the trenches. Those are good things for our football team. We weren’t penalized a lot. We didn’t do things to beat ourselves and overall I’m proud of the effort.”

Q: Despite the opening drive, the defense did pretty well during the game. What did and didn’t you like about the defensive effort?

Del Rio: “Yeah just leveraging tackling. I thought they were a little excited to get going. We had some guys that were running some things there early. They kind of settled down and played a lot better as the game went on. I really thought in the trenches, I thought our (unintelligible). I thought offensively and defensively the line play was really good.”

Q: WR Amari Cooper got the ball a lot early. How much was that trying to get him right into the game?

Del Rio: “Yeah it was. I think we got him four touches in the first series. Early in the game he had his hands on the ball. It was great to see. We’ve been working hard to build the rapport there between Derek (Carr) and Michael Crabtree and Cooper and it was good to see.”

Q: Were the 2-point conversations for the learning experience?

Del Rio: “Yeah we’re trying to learn about that: the 2-point play, what the percentages might be, and determine the probabilities and really have some data to look at. At this point, it’s a little bit of an unknown with the 2-point. I think even the officials are trying to figure out how it’s going to be officiated and the nuances of the rule. We didn’t get into penalties affecting whether you would change from a one to a two or a two to a one or whatever it might be. There’s something to learn there and we’re just giving ourselves a chance to explore some of that, learn some of that.”

Q: What did you think of QB Derek Carr overall today?

Del Rio: “Yeah I thought he was really sharp, really sharp. We just had a little communication breakdown (on the last pass to Cooper). We’ll get that kind of stuff ironed out. That’s the kind of thing you might see in week one of the preseason, but we’ll work hard. I think the communication we saw is pretty dog gone good. The guys have been working hard at it. We just need to clean something like that up.”

Q: What did you think of the pass rush? It looked like Khalil Mack had a couple of good rushes.

Del Rio: “I thought we got good pressure. I think we had three sacks on the night. We had good pressure on the quarterback. I don’t think he was sitting back there comfortable patting the ball. I thought that was good. I have to see the tapes specifically for each guy. A couple guys flashed. Shelby (Harris) seemed to be very active tonight and he was definitely a guy that stood out.”

Q: What did you think of Ben Heeney’s play?

Del Rio: “Very active. That’s what we see in practice every day. He flies around. He’s very, very active. I think he led the team tonight with tackles. His speed showed up. I know that one time the quarterback tried to break contained and he laid him down for a sack I believe that ended up being. That was his speed. That’s one of the reasons we have him for?

Q: As a team you were so clean with penalties, operations and procedural calls:

Del Rio: “That’s really what I was looking for. I just finished telling how proud I was of that because that’s what we need to be a good football team. We need to play clean football. It needs to be crisp. Those are the things we’re striving to do is give ourselves a chance, make sure we eliminate pre-snap errors, just be sound in what we’re doing. Make people come through us physically and let’s be conditioned to handle that. I think that was a good beginning for us.”

Q: Ben Heeney is a little undersized, but he seems to shed blockers pretty well:

Del Rio: Yes that’s the fundamentals of blocking and shedding blocks are at the forefront of good offense and good defense. You know what I mean? He’s a guy that likes to stick it in a little. We’ve worked hard with him. We’ll continue to work with him. We’ve still got work to do, but the more he can utilize his hands and separate so he can use his speed. He’s got terrific speed. The more he can keep himself alive by utilizing his hands, the better.”

Q: How did Latavius Murray look in a game situation?

Del Rio: “He looked similar to how he’s been looking. He’s been looking really good. He hit the holes. He’s got good vision. He’s got good bounce. I think he’s done well.”

Q: The offensive line looked steady in both the run and the pass.

Del Rio: “Yeah I think that it was solid. I think it all starts with the line play. They have a very good front so it was a good opportunity. We didn’t play a long time against each other, not with the ones, but I do think that we’ve got a good line and I think they’re doing a nice job with working hard and being a cohesive unit. That’s the biggest thing about having a line. You have 5 individuals and they need to come together to play as one and surge together and be able to communicate and make the combination blocks come to life. I saw good signs of that.”

Q: What did you see in the backup QB competition tonight?

Del Rio: “I thought the quarterback play was pretty solid tonight. That’s a good thing to have. Good quarterback play is important in this league so it’s a good sign. I think Todd Downing has done a nice job working that group and Bill Musgrave and the way they have installed thing and worked those guys, so they’re all improving players.”

Q: Do you think you will rotate Matt McGloin and Christian Ponder during games?

Del Rio: “We’ll see. I’m not going to get into individual battles sitting here tonight. I think you guys are with us all the time. You can see how it unfolds. There’s a lot of camp left. There’s a lot of preseason time to determine roles and things and I think we’ll just let it play out.”

Q: In the second quarter you left most of your starting offensive line out there. Was that to get that extra work?

Del Rio: “Yeah we wanted them to get a little extra work. Coach XXX has talked about that, his desire to have that for the group and I thought it would be a good thing for us to have the backup quarterback to have that kind of protection. It was a good situation. We got some good work and really accomplished what we set out to accomplish tonight.”

Q: Were Derek Carr and Michael Crabtree trying to sneak into a third series there?

Del Rio: “No, no that was really my fault. I was a little tardy. I was working with the defensive and I switched and I was like ‘whoa, whoa wait a minute get those guys out.’ And they said well they’re already out there. And I was like ‘it doesn’t matter get those guys out’ so that was my call. I was a little late on that.”

Q: It was clean in the receiving game too. I don’t know if there was a drop. If there was there weren’t very many.

Del Rio: “Yeah it was a crisp night and that’s what we’re looking to have. We’re looking to even out our performances. We’re looking to sustain a high level of performance. It was good to see some of those strengths because that’s what we’re for. We’ve had a lot of ups and downs throughout the camp and we’re trying to flatten that out and be able to sustain really good football.”

Q: Is this kind of what you hoped to get out of the first preseason game?

Del Rio: “Yeah trust me, as coaches, there’s so much we’re going to go back and agonize over. How are we going to make this better? It was an excellent night. It was a clean night. We came out relatively healthy and got some good work so all and all I was pleased with the effort.”