Assistant Head Coach - Defense John Pagano & Offensive Coordinator Todd Downing
Oakland Raiders Assistant Head Coach – Defense John Pagano was in charge of the team's defensive play calling for the first time last week, helping the defense limit the Denver Broncos to 14 points, and 219 yards of total offense. The Raiders offense however put up 348 yards of total offense, with 244 yards coming through the air, and 104 on the ground.
Following practice Thursday afternoon, Pagano, as well as Offensive Coordinator Todd Downing met with the media to recap Sunday's victory, and look ahead to the team's Week 13 battle with the New York Giants.
Assistant Head Coach – Defense John Pagano
Pagano praised defensive lineman Denico Autry for his effort Sunday afternoon.
"Played fast. All 11 played fast. He played with some great strength in the middle. Did a great job of rushing the passer to be able to get those sacks. Had one sack that was, can't coach. It was straight man. I mean lifted the guy up and threw him down. It was a great rush by those guys. The attention that our edge rushers get between 52 [Khalil Mack] and 51 [Bruce Irvin], it gives those guys inside to be able to push and do the things they need to do. You can't say enough about what [defensive line] Coach [Jethro] Franklin did this past week of getting those guys ready to go for that."
He shared why moving defensive end Khalil Mack around to different positions keeps the offensive line guessing.
"I think the biggest thing is not knowing where he's at. Having the opportunity for him to move around so they don't always know he's right there on the right side. You get a lot of things. That's usually his side where he rushes, so it gives him a chance to get different looks. He's smart enough to be able to do those things. When you have a player like that you take advantage of it and you move him."
Pagano broke down what goes into playing "fast" on defense.
"The first element is taking the thinking out of the game. We don't want guys sitting there reading. We want [to] react to what you see and go. It's not a dumb question because you slow a guy down if the ball is snapped and in that process, he's thinking, looking and he doesn't know how to react to it. How do you play even faster? Coach is doing a great job during the week of having an understanding about the defenses that we're calling. We talked about it last week doing simple better. We can play fast be tackling, covering and communicating on a level to where you get the call, you go and we play."
**Offensive Coordinator Todd Downing
Downing commented on the absence of wide receivers Michael Crabtree and Amari Cooper this week.
"Our scheme doesn't change too much. We might change some formations so we get different players in different spots and highlight some skill sets, try to help the young guys by asking them to do things they're more comfortable with. But other than that, we expect it to be a 'next man up' type of mentality. I know you've heard that a lot from Jack and Derek [Carr] as they've spoken with you but we truly mean it. We expect guys to be prepared and be able to step in. We don't anticipate it drastically changing how we do things, maybe just a little tweaks in formations or personnel groupings."
He opened up about the My Cause, My Cleats campaign started by the NFL, and how it's a positive impact.
"I think it's outstanding. I think it's a really cool initiative that the league did. It gives guys a chance to highlight things that are important to them. Maybe not just join a cause on a list or something. Watching these guys go around take pride in the cleats that they're wearing. [Equipment Manager] Bob Romanski doing such a great job of painting them up is kind of a neat things to see. It provides a window or a glimpse into these guys off the field. Derek [Carr] gets to tell his story about Dallas and his surgeries. Guys are out there with breast cancer awareness cleats like EJ [Manuel] telling his mom's story. It's neat to experience that and see them get a venue to show it off."