Head Coach Jack Del Rio
The Oakland Raiders are slated to take on their division rival this Sunday, the Denver Broncos. Friday afternoon Head Coach Jack Del Rio talked with reporters about the game, and how the team has prepared for the bout. He made it clear that even though it's a primtime game on Sunday Night Football, the team is approaching it as just another game.
Here are the quick hits from his media session:
Opening Statement:"Alright, fast Friday. Ready to roll, had an excellent week of prep and we're excited for our opportunity Sunday night."
Q: What did you think of the work Sean Smith has been able to do over the last few days?
Coach Del Rio:"Just did what we can with who we could. Not going to talk much about injuries. I know you guys have a tough job, I apologize, but you know, we put it out there on the report and that's all I'm going to do on injuries."
Q: How is the level of excitement for this game?
Coach Del Rio:"Well, anytime you're going to be under the lights, regardless of the records, I think you get a little fired up for that. Divisional opponent, you know, playing for early season positioning, it's all exciting. But really for us, it's got to be about just the process of preparing. We've recovered from our road trip. It's important to recover. Then you begin your preparation, prepare really hard. And then, be ready to give your best effort on Sunday and in this case Sunday night. It ought to be an amazing atmosphere, so I think enjoy it. That's what we do these things for, that's what all of the sacrifices are for. Games like this, they're a lot of fun. So, we're going to enjoy it."
Q: Does being 5-0 on the road and 1-2 at home change the way you practiced this week?
Coach Del Rio:"No."
Q: What do you think the issues have been?
Coach Del Rio:"We haven't won as much as we'd like. That's really it."
Q: Does it have to do with your opponents?
Coach Del Rio:"We've had eight games so far, and in six of them, we've been good enough to win and in two we haven't."
Q: When opposing players make comments, are you the kind of coach that uses that as fuel for your players?
Coach Del Rio:"I try not to get too involved in that. I think we get an opportunity on game day to express ourselves."
Q: Did you see what you wanted to see on the field this week in terms of recovery from your team?
Coach Del Rio:"I did. I think again, the process that we go through is very good. The guys have really bought into it. We work hard at it and it entails a lot of different factors go into it. You know, I believe in what we're doing, you know? So we're just going to keep doing it, have really productive weeks leading up to ball games. Just have really good work and preparation and then we go let it loose."
Q: What strides have you seen from DJ Hayden this year?
Coach Del Rio:"I think, for me, it started back in training camp, you know? Throughout the offseason, he's been very purposeful, very intent on having a good year for us and I think he has. I think he's worked hard on being a cover corner for us and being a guy that's done well on special teams and the role he's been on and playing the slot. He's done a nice job for us. It's what we expect, we expect our guys to grow and develop and I think he is."
Q: What is it about the running back group that has made them successful?
Coach Del Rio:"I think they're all different. All of our backs are a little different. They all bring kind of unique qualities. I think, you know, really for us it starts with the guys in the trenches, the O-line, and I think we've done a pretty solid job opening holes and protecting our quarterback. And, you have to be able to run it. In my opinion, you've got to be able to run it when you want to and this will be a great challenge. This is a really good, really good defense we're going against this week and they make it difficult to run the ball, so that'll be one of the key factors for us, how well can we run the ball against this team."
Q: With Aqib Talib out, what do you see in their other corners?
Coach Del Rio:"Oh, it's a really good group. Yeah, it's a good group. [Bradley] Roby, we drafted Roby when I was there. I know what he's capable of. I think he's a really good player. So, Chris Harris [Jr.], a guy that went from undrafted to Pro Bowler, so really good players. And, it's all a part of playing pass defense, they've done a good job."
Q: Why do you think it just takes some time for Khalil Mack to get going?
Coach Del Rio:"That's just pass rushers. That's just how it goes. They come in bunches – turnovers come in bunches, sacks come in bunches – it's really not a matter of him now all of the sudden doing more or doing it better. I think he's a really good player. He gives great effort every day and so that's why you'll see him get his. He'll get his numbers."
Q: What have you guys seen on the film that we haven't watched?
Coach Del Rio:"Yeah, well, his ability to smash blocks, get off blocks, get around the quarterback, knock the quarterback down, just the effectiveness of his play. Sometimes the numbers add up and you see the production, but we see the effort and the desire and the commitment that he gives every day."