Head Coach Jack Del Rio
One week at a time.
That's what Oakland Raiders Head Coach Jack Del Rio continues to tell the team, and media, week in and week out. From this point forward, the Silver and Black view every game as a must-win, and next up for them is a clash with the New England Patriots this Sunday in Mexico City. Playing abroad is a special experience for the fans, and players – everyone involved really. This is a big game for the Raiders, and in order to make a run towards the postseason, they'll have to beat the reigning Super Bowl champs at Estadio Azteca.
Wednesday, Del Rio spoke with local reporters about the impending matchup:
The Raiders Head Coach commented on the strengths of the Patriots.
"They've got an offense that is very explosive. It's at the top of the league in most categories. Special teams was really dominate last week against Denver. Really solid unit that they put a lot of work and effort into being good there. Defensively, they've been playing better lately. They got off to a slow start, much like we have. We don't rank real well defensively, nor do they, but they've been effective in helping them win and that's what it's all about. We're going to have a good week of practice and travel down there to take care of business."
He talked about how playing at a higher altitude will affect the players.
"The number of guys that were with us [last year], are they a little bit more comfortable? I think they know what's coming. I don't know that it really helps. I think each week's new, each game is new. The challenges, the opponent is new and all those things. I think having dealt with the altitude, we do it every year when we go to Denver, so that's just part of what we do."
Del Rio touched on rookie cornerback Gareon Conley's injury.
"I think he's going to be a really good player for us. We tried to give him time to see if we'd have a shot to get him back in the later half of this year. That's just not going to happen. We'll look for him to heal and mend and then be ready to help us next year."
He discussed how the team will combat the Patriots special teams tactics.
"It'll be interesting to see if they want to approach it and give us opportunities with C.P. They've got the best unit in the league right now covering kicks and they have the fewest number of touchbacks. So they are being aggressive, trying to pin you down, make you come out and try and tackle you inside the 20. So, that'll be a little game within the game. We'll see how that plays out. Obviously, we like C.P., we like what we think we're capable of doing their and it'll be interesting to see how they approach it."
Del Rio expressed his desire to see more from the defensive line, and their ability to pressure the quarterback.
"The game of football is a team game. Khalil is a special player. He needs to continue to bring great energy, which he does. If the quarterback is going to throw the ball in less than two seconds, it's going to be tough to get there. So when the quarterback is throwing the ball quick like that, we've got to tackle and have their punt team come out. They'll get tired of punting or turning the ball over and they'll sit and hold the ball a little bit and Khalil can get there. If they're throwing the ball in two seconds or less, it's going to be hard to get sacks."