On the Chargers: "Good. I'd like to talk about us and what we've been doing a little bit and then go right into the Chargers. Sound good? I've been excited about the way that we've been playing. We've been using our hands and shedding, a lot of things that I've talked to you guys about and talked to the Nation about the last few weeks. We need to continue to do that. We've got one more opportunity to do that against a division rival. So using our hands, getting off of blocks, shedding tackles, those are the things that we're starting to do at a better level. I'm excited to watch our guys and see how they do this week on that stuff. And of course, now the challenge is the Chargers. You've got Philip Rivers; he's outstanding with what he does with the ball and figuring out what you're doing. He's very good at that. In the last game, they didn't run it so well, so Norv, he's a very good play caller, he'll have them ready to run and throw. So he'll make that tough on us. Division game anything can happen. We're excited for this opportunity to play in front of a lot of our great Raider Nation fans down in Southern California."
On if there is carryover from the way the defense is playing now to next year: "Oh yeah, there will be great carryover. Most of it is the attention to detail – how the guys are growing together, playing together and learning how to make the calls work, regardless of what the offense does, and the way in which we play. That's what we're excited about is the way in which we play - shedding blocks, using our hands, swarming the football – that's what great defenses do. Are we there yet? No, but we're getting better at turning bad things into good and then you turn good into great, but you have to go to good first and then you turn it into great."
On Brandian Ross' ability to play multiple positions: "What he is is he is very conscious. He stays in the moment very well, which is one of the things that you have to do to play at a high level. He's able to handle a lot of those things and probably because he's seen Charles [Woodson] do it. Charles does a great job with it. He's played corner, safety, plays all over the place. He can transition into knowing where he is right at that moment, focus on that play, and go to the next one. The other thing he does is once he sees a play, he doesn't let it get him again. We talked a little bit and Coach Allen says a little bit, repeat offenders. Repeat offenders are the ones you can't have and Brandian is definitely not that because once he sees something he goes, 'okay, I got it.' It's locked in that brain of his and once he sees it again, he uses his rule, and he makes the play the next time."
On Lamarr Houston's improvement: "Lamarr is one of the players that I'm very proud of, proud for them, because they realize now what they can do both in this season and for themselves. He's right at that age where that's what they do. 'Ooh, I'm confident now.' He does a good job. He's even getting off on the ball faster; he's using his hands more and he's causing more havoc. I'm proud to see where he's gone with it. Can't say enough about him right now. He's becoming a leader. He's doing a lot of things right and he's still got a way to go, but we all do. So I'm excited about where Lamarr is going. I'm excited to watch him on Sunday because his first game against the Chargers was good, it was pretty solid, but he's playing at a higher level now, so let's see what he does."
On filling the void of DT Richard Seymour: "Good. Again, hitting on exactly what I'm talking about, the guys growing up and playing together, growing as a team. We've used a lot of people inside in that position. What they've done is by moving them around, a little like Brandian, they've gotten better as a group because now they all understand how to make those things work - how to work with each other, how to play off each other, just affecting the quarterback, how we work together to affect the quarterback - because our quarterback hits have gone way up. You have to affect the quarterback in the NFL to win games and that's helped us. We've used a lot of people in those positions and we've done a little different alignments, so it's a combination of players, coaches working together. But our young guys are growing up."
On the increased aggression from the defense: "When I talk here, when I talk to you guys, I talk about things like using your hands. When I talk to them, same thing. When I talk to the guys, when we talk, it's finish the down unblocked. Sometimes the guy is going to get on you because they're big, most of them or they're little and fast because that's how you live in the NFL, but finish the down unblocked, use your hands, get off of blocks, the basics are defensive football. Then when you take that, combined with using your rules of the calls, that's when you start to play better defense. Again, that's what I'm proud of them for. We've got one more opportunity this year and we need to do that."
On Tommy Kelly's reaction to being kicked by QB Cam Newton: "Get them during the play, not after – that's the rule of the NFL. Remember, can't remember who it was, an old 49ers player, but some of the old NFL films, 'you'll see him again.' It was a little quote of things happen and it was talking about what happens during a play and he said, 'well, you'll see him again.' You may see him in a few plays or you might see him next time, but you'll see him again. I don't know. I mean, when you're kicked in the face, it's a reaction, but Tommy didn't touch him. So we've got to get better at that and the reason you have to get better at that is because we were off the field right there. We just got a sack and the goal of the defense is control what we can control and get the heck off the field. That would have taken us off the field. What we hurt ourselves a little bit last week was staying on the field. We had a couple penalties that kept us on the field. Most of those drives we were able to end the correct way, which is a punt or the offense getting the ball back, but that kept us on the field. Against San Diego, they're very good on third downs. They traditionally have been. Norv does a great job of putting them in positions. We need to make sure that when we have our opportunity to get off the field, we do that. In the first game, they were able to stay on the field at times and that's one of the areas where we need to improve this weekend."
On the Miles Burris tackle that was called for unnecessary roughness against Carolina: "When you get a great break and you get to that contact, there's going to be some helmet-to-helmet contact. That's the reason why you wear it. What you have to teach your guys is the body position and we'll continue to do this. When you make contact, you want to have your hips down and your eyes up and that's what we talk about all the time. But there's times where that moment of contact occurs where the offensive player's head dips or the defensive player's head dips some and you get that contact. On Miles, I don't know how to avoid that one because he had a great break on the football. The wide receiver was running through zone defense. When a wide receiver runs through a zone defense that can happen around the line of scrimmage. The ones that you have to try to prevent, both as coaches in the NFL and the competition committee, are the launches, when you just launch, when you launch through the air at a ball. Those have come out of the game. I think that's gotten better. But those plays where there's a little bit of where your head goes on the play, I don't know how that's avoidable. So every once in awhile, you want to show your guys that you're with them a little bit."
On if the turnover in the secondary has limited the blitzing: "I wouldn't say it's limited, I would say this – the number one rule that we try to apply is know your personnel and use your personnel. So if we have guys that may be just got here at corner, maybe we don't do quite as many things in a game. But now, as these guys have been moving around, we've talked about a couple of the players today, but as these guys have been moving around and growing, it allows us to keep some of those calls in and maybe go, okay, here's another one guys, here's the next step. We've gotten there a few times and there's more steps that we have, but we've grown on that end. The movement of the corners, you have to judge that as a coach. Who are your guys? What can they do? And then put them in their best position to be successful. And in the backend, all of our guys have gotten opportunities to play this year, so they've grown."
On how much Michael Huff's time at cornerback will help him if he moves back to safety: "I think the body position that you have to constantly remain in at corner, which is another position where you have to have your hips down so your feet stay underneath you when you break, Mike has grown that way throughout the whole year. Because early in the year, his hips were too high and there were times where he couldn't quite find the angles out at corner. Now he's better. His hips are staying down more consistently. He will tell you that that's what I tell him every single day, 'get your hips down, Mike.' That body position of staying with your hips down at corner will help you as a safety because as a safety you have to find those angles. That's one of the things that's complex in safety play. You have to have your eyes move before your feet find the angles. So you'll hear me all the time, Matt Giordano is just tired of me telling him, 'hey Matt, eyes before feet.' Here's what happens – you go back and see the quarterback, now you have to pick the angle with which he's throwing and then the angle to go make the play, so your eyes have to see it before your feet move. Your hips have to be down to do that. So that hip down body position is going to help Mike whatever position he plays in the future."
On DT Tommy Kelly: "I would say one of the things, just pure using his hands, when Tommy just fires off the ball and uses his hands, he's a good football player because he can get on edges of guys and steer them wherever he wants. There's times where Tommy has played double teams really well throughout the year and that's what happened to him in some games. Some of those games he's getting doubled a lot. Now we're flexible a little bit more to pull some of those double teams off of Tommy, but Tommy as well has to embrace the hard down. We talk about tough down. There's a time in a football game, and Norv will find these situations to put us in, where you're going to get doubles. That's your hard down. That's your job; you have to do that double. Tommy has embraced that all year. He's played the hard down for us, sometimes more consistently than others, but he's getting more consistent. For a guy that's played in the NFL a long time to be getting more consistent where he is, and where he is in the season, is a very good thing."