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Quote Sheet: Atlanta Falcons 35 Oakland Raiders 28


Quarterback Derek Carr


Opening Statement:"The obvious question will be about the two phases that we didn't win today and it was defense and special teams. Expected to play a heck of a lot better on defense. We're giving away way too many plays that should be routine and easy plays and allowing them to not only be made, but go for chunks. It will get corrected and we'll start playing really good defense here. We had not come out of the gate the first two games doing so. That's on us. That's on me, it starts with me. We'll get it fixed. Special teams-wise, we really count on winning that phase. We did not today. They won that field position battle. At the end of the day it was losing those two phases (that) negated what was really a pretty productive day offensively. We ran it well. We threw it well. We were able to score. Just not enough to go home happy. We've got our work to do. We've got our work cut out for us. We'll dust ourselves off and pick ourselves up and get ready for the next game. Questions?"

Q: Was it a physical or mental loss on defense?

Coach Del Rio:"A lot of mental. A lot of mental, which I take full responsibility for. We have to make sure we're teaching it better and make sure our guys understand what we're asking them to do. Physically there are some situations there as well. The bottom line is it's nowhere near the standard that I expect us to play at. We'll need to get it rectified. There's no dancing around the subject. It's not near what it needs to be."

Q: What will the impact be from it taking a while to have the defense come together?

Coach Del Rio:"Well look, I think there's a lot of different things that will come of alibies and I'm not really in the mood to sit here and try to give any. I don't think that helps us be better. I think for us it's about recognizing. We need to get certain things done in order to be effective on defense. You have to consistently show that you're able to do that to play really good defense in this league. We've got out work to do. We've got work to do. That's what we'll do. We'll roll up our sleeves and get to work."

Q: Was it a tough call to not go with the onside kick at the end?

Coach Del Rio:"Yeah. Yeah, we thought we'd get the ball back there. We had a shot, get them to third down and don't make the play there. Again that's a mental error that allows and easy completion on that third down. You have to have tight coverage in that situation. If they make a great throw and catch, so be it. At some point you have to make a play if you're going to win the game. We felt with all three timeouts on the other side of the two-minute warning that it was setting up for us to get the ball back and have a shot. Then it would've come down to whether I was going for two or not at the end (laughing)."

Q: Who advised you on those successful challenges?

Coach Del Rio:"It's a good operation. We have a guy in the booth, his name is George Li, he does a good job for us. Then Brad Seely is pretty on top of things on the sideline. Between those two guys, they help us get in the power of the staff. That's what I call that. It's the strength of the staff to execute in those situations. Make me aware and us be able to capitalize on that and make good, sound decisions for the football team. So, that's what that was."

Q: Was Ben Heeney pulled because of performance reasons?

Coach Del Rio:"No, I wouldn't get into anybody individually. I'd say if you want somebody to blame, just blame it on me. If you need somebody to blame, blame the head coach. I'll take it. We'll correct what needs to be corrected and we'll go forward. This is one game today that didn't go our way. I have the upmost belief in this group of guys. We just simply have to clean things up and be much sharper."

Q: Do you have second thoughts on the fourth-and-2 in the third quarter?

Coach Del Rio:"Not really. No I felt good about it. We just have to get that done. A lot of factors go into whether you want to go for it or not. I felt like our best chance was to make the play offensively at that point." 

Q: What's your opinion on the call on Amari Cooper's touchdown that was called back? Was he pushed out or how did you see that?

Coach Del Rio:"Well he was definitely pushed out, but it's not the college game. Unless he was pushed out illegally, which the question was, was he pushed out illegally or not. It was decided that he was not pushed out illegally and therefore the hat comes off and he can't get the ball. The only time you get that ability to come back in after being forced out is if it was illegal contact that forced him out."

Q: What are your thoughts on the tip play?

Coach Del Rio:"We had two of them at the end that we made a play and the ball went in their hands. I think the last touchdown was that way. The ball was tipped. Sometimes the ball doesn't go your way, the bounces don't go your way. We're big boys and we'll take it like men and get ready for the next game."

Q:  Have you been calling defensive plays?

Coach Del Rio:"There might have been a point where I jumped in on the last drive."

Q: What caused you to have issues with the tight ends again?

Coach Del Rio:"It's a concern when you're not playing the type of defense that you expect to play. The good news is offensively, we're playing well right now. We just have to do more as a football team to make enough plays to where we can go home happy. Today we feel like in there were two of the three phases were lost. The special teams and defense lost today. Offense played pretty well, but that's not to say that there aren't things that they have to correct. With any game, with any team game, it's about adding up all of those pieces. Having them come together to be enough to give you a win and it wasn't for us today."

Q: Was David Amerson hurt?

Coach Del Rio:"He was. He was hurt at the end. Going through the concussion protocol. He was checked out…I don't think we played any more defense after that. Did we? Oh yeah, we did. The last drive. Yeah, and he was not in. He was held out and he'll go through the protocol."

Q: Did you feel like there was a lack of pressure?

Coach Del Rio:"We got one sack early. I've always said that good team pass defense is good rush and good coverage. I feel like the rush is ready to go. We're not getting enough coverage."

Q: What was the concern with the Falcons tight end performance?

Coach Del Rio:"You saw what happened. I don't think there were any physical mismatches out there. It was a matter of guys having their eyes were they're supposed to be and knowing what the heck they're doing."

Q: When you said you were calling defensive plays, is that something you see yourself continuing?

Coach Del Rio:"I think those types of things or discussions are not really part of this wrap up right now today."


Q: How frustrating was today's game?

Carr: "You know me, it's always frustrating to lose no matter how it looks. You know, whenever you can go out there and you feel like you're being efficient. Obviously, there are so many things I'm still remembering. Offensively, there are still things that we can do better. Anytime we lose—doesn't matter if we score 2 points or 50 points. Anytime you lose, it doesn't feel as good."

Q: How was the team's performance throughout the game?

Carr: "I think that every game is different. It's always going to be something. You always want to come out fast and come out to win in the second half. You want to come out fast the first half and come out to win the second half. Sometimes you do both. Sometimes you do neither. Sometimes, you can do a good job and do one of them. I don't know. It's tough. It's a tough question for me to answer without seeing film. In my head, I just think that this game is so difficult. You want to do both, but sometimes it's hard to."

Q: Do you see yourself playing more "within yourself" in the future? In the 4th quarter, you were doing short pass, short pass, short pass instead of the long shot, what's your thought process with those instincts?

Carr: "We've worked really hard. Obviously, they've worked really hard with me. Coach [Todd] Downing worked really hard with me to know when it's okay to do that. To know when it's better in the situation, what down gets it to them. Is it 2nd-and-5? Or is it 2nd-and-14? There's a whole bunch of little things going on in my head. I would say this year was different because during the game, I'm thinking more. It's not getting the call and thinking this is this route, this is my – now I get the call and it's like second nature. I think about other things, like the situation. I'm not saying I didn't last year, but it's easier this year. I think I know which coverage they play in certain situations; obviously I need to be ready for anything. But all those things are going through my head—numbers, percentages, what they're doing in the game, the flow of the game, and that's what's so different. When I get the call, it's just second nature to me now. I'm going out there and I'm just playing."

Q: Did you tell Coach Del Rio to challenge the play to Amari Cooper?

Carr: "I remember when I went over there, you could see his toe dragging in the dirt –like a yard pass the marker. Coach [Del Rio] was pointing there and looking at it. By the time I got over there, they were already talking about it. They saw his foot in the dirt, so we're happy to have the dirt that time."

Q: How did the Falcons defense prevent you from throwing deep?

Carr: "They really, really don't want you to throw deep. They really tried not to let us throw deep. When they do that, you have to take that intermediate throw. Sometimes, even the shut down throw. Sometimes it's going to be like that. I think I speak for everyone whenever we cut the ball. We work really hard on going vertical, getting north and south because it's one of those games. You never know with a team. I think we hit some big plays last week. We put that on film. Obviously [Amari Cooper] Coop and [Michael Crabtree] Crab, all those guys, Seth [Roberts], Andre [Holmes] making plays on film. You see those things on films. They definitely did a really good job on taking those throws away. Obviously, you guys know me—I was trying. Sometimes, I'm going to throw it anyway. They really did a good job keeping everything in front of them, rallying, the tackling. They do a great job at what they do and obviously, they did a better job of it today." 

Q: Do you think this will be the type of season where you'll need to score 35 points to win?

Carr: "I don't know. Like you said, it is a small sample size. I know for us, there's so much going on in my head and our player's heads offensively that we don't even have time to think like that. I'm just being honest. They're in the first half to get things started. We know we can get things started. We know we can make this play. Right behind that linebacker was Crab. It's like; man I'm better than that. Those are the kind of things that are going through my head because the only thing I can do to help this team is to prepare and work hard myself. That's all I can do and that's what I'm focused on."

Q: Does the offense and defense communicate with each other often?

Carr: "Oh yeah, all the time. Throughout the whole game, we're always talking. The great thing about this team is we're not going to be pulled apart. We understand the situation. WE understand what's going on. There's nothing that's going to divide us, at all. This is the ultimate team game. It takes all 53 guys every Sunday, every single Sunday. We understand that and we have a great grasp on that because our leadership has taught us that. We understand and that's we believe and have bought into. They got our back, just like we have theirs."

Q: What's the feeling you were getting from the defense today?

Carr: "You know the guy I talk to the most is obviously Khalil [Mack]. Obviously just because our friendship. But every time I come off, he's always there for some reason. That guy is always on one. Bruce [Irvin], Reggie [Nelson], all those guys are all jumping around and getting excited. That's what you want to see in the defense. Whenever you come off the field. Back a couple years, one time when I looked I actually noticed where there was a difference in the field. And that's what you don't want to see. These guys, they're in it. That's why it's so easy for me to say, I don't worry about them. I know how talented they are. I throw against them every day. I say that with such confidence because they pick my balls up. Training camp was so competitive. That's why I'm not worried at all. Sometimes, there are stretches like that. It's football. Sometimes it's like that, but we'll go back to the drawing board. I'm not worried about it.

Q: How did the emotions of a home opener affect today's performance—were you too jacked up or too flat?

Carr: "I think we did a better job of it this year. Last year, against Cincinnati, we were all so jacked up to have new plays that we were going to run, it's the new season, it's a new start, and all those things. We were so fired up and we came out and didn't focus on any details. We weren't focused at all. We were just running right and running left. This year, we were so much more disciplined as a team, more focused. I think we came out flat just because it is what it is. They played certain coverage that kept the ball up front; we didn't convert certain situations on our end. So, I just think sometimes it happens that way. Once we got to the side line and we could look at it, then you get in the game flow where you can just keep going."

Q: Are you looking forward to next week?

Carr: "Oh yeah, absolutely. I can't wait to play next week. We're on the road again; against a really tough team that we know has a lot of talent. Obviously, great coaching. We're really looking forward to playing. Obviously, this one is so recent. The wound is still open, but we'll do a good job of learning. Obviously, we have to learn from our mistakes. We have to get better. All we do is compete. That's all I know, ever since I was little. I had 2 big brothers that picked on me and it took me a while until I could finally beat them. Whenever you lose, get knocked down, I just don't stop. That's the same way with our team." 


Q: Do you feel like you were pushed out of bounds on the touchdown play that was called back?

Cooper:"To be honest, I'm not really clear on the rule. I know the college rule is if they push you out of bounds, you can come back in and catch the ball, but I think the NFL rule is it doesn't matter how you get out of bounds, you can't be the first one to touch the ball. That's what I think it is, I'm not really sure on that."

Q: How much of a momentum killer was that when they called it back?

Cooper:"You have to expect things like that in the game of football. Things aren't always going to go the way that you plan for them to go. So you just have to expect things like that."

Q: How frustrating is it to drop a game like this?

Cooper:"I mean, It's very frustrating, you never want to lose. But, we just have to go back to the drawing board, correct some of the things that we didn't do so well today and that's really it."

Q: Do you get the feeling that you're going to have to score 35 points to win?

Cooper:"No, I don't really get that feeling. I think you never know who's going to need help. On any day, offense, defense and special teams could play well, but some days the defense might not play well, some days the offense might not play well. SO, we just have to help each other out."

Q: Was it difficult to have the same corner covering you all day long?

Cooper:"He's a great player. He's a great player. It was good competition out there today."

Q: Would it be fair to say that the offense never got in a rhythm?

Cooper:"I mean, if that's how you put it, then that's cool. (laughter)"

Q: Did you have a feeling that if you got the ball back with a little time to work with that you had a pretty good shot of scoring again?

Cooper:"You never know. I don't really like answering hypothetical questions."

Q: It didn't seem like the offense could get the ball deep down the field to you and Michael Crabtree"

Cooper:"Yeah, Atlanta doesn't blitz a lot, so they have a lot of guys in coverage. So, you kind of have to check the ball down sometimes."

Q: Was checking the ball down game planned or was it because of how the game was being played?

Cooper:"The latter."

Q: Do you feel like the two-minute drives were clicking well?

Cooper:"Yeah, I mean on that last two-minute drive, we had some god plays. We strung some good plays together and we went down and scored."


Q: As a defense, you wanted to bounce back from last week's game. It didn't quite happen that way. Why do you think it's taking some time to gel as a defense?

Smith:"I don't really have an answer. It just happens. Obviously we're making a lot of mistakes. There are things we have to fix. We have no choice."

Q: Over 1,000 yards of defense given up the last two games, I don't know if you knew that.

Smith:"That's embarrassing. We have a lot of work to do. We have no choice, we have to get to work. I'm going to get to work to get it right. We have to do what we have to do."

Q: Their tight ends gave you guys some trouble. What do you think happened in those breakdowns?

Smith:"Just breakdowns. Communication, errors, things that are easily fixable that hopefully we take the next step."

Q: With all the hype surrounding this team, this was a game that you were supposed to win. How frustrating is it to not come out there with the W in your home opener?

Smith:"Yeah, especially at home. This is disappointing. Today, for this defense, it's embarrassing. It's a disappointment. We better fix it right away."

Q: How does the loss motivate you to win next week?

Smith:"You're motivated to win every week, but especially this loss. That's embarrassing."

Q: What did Jack [Del Rio] tell you guys after the game?

Smith: "He said we're going to get it right. He said to make sure that we get it right, especially as a defense. We take a lot of pride, we just have to let it show."

Q: There were times last season where the defense had some lulls. Do you take anything from last year that you can learn from?

Smith:"Just fight through. We had some moments like this last year, too. We hope to be a better team, we hope to be improved on defense. We haven't had the result the first two games and in the preseason. We have a big step to take all around."


Q: What feels like the problem? What do you sense is going wrong in terms of the defense on tight ends?

Irvin:"I don't know, communication. We didn't play the defense we were taught. We're not on the same page and it's showing. We went from a bad performance to an even worse performance. It's up to the guys in this locker room to turn this around. If not, this is what we're going to get every week."

Q: Is it unexpected to be at this point? I'm sure you thought you'd be on the same page.

Irvin:"I'm speechless. I've never experienced this experience. Until everybody makes a full commitment to turning this thing around we're going to be a subpar defense, an average defense, below average defense."

Q: Are guys not buying in or is it just a matter of scheme?

Irvin:"I don't think it's scheme. This scheme has been proven, this scheme works. [Defensive coordinator Ken] Norton, Jack [Del Rio] have done everything they can. It's just up to us to make a commitment to really focus in and get this thing right."


Q: What would you say about the team getting the tight ends involved early in this game?
Walford:"Yeah, we've been working hard, practicing every day and seeing what we can continue to get better at."

Q: Can you take us through the touchdown that you scored?
Walford: "Right before the play, Michael Crabtree and Carr [Derek] just told me that I need to make a play and that was the play I needed to make. Just the excitement made me throw the ball in the air."

Q: There is so much excitement and anticipation surrounding these Oakland Raiders. Did you see this performance coming from Matt Ryan and the Falcons?
Walford: "To be honest, not really because we feel like we can win every game. At the end of the day, that is a professional team just like us so we just got to go back to work tomorrow."

Q; How tough is this loss going to be to swallow and then quickly transition for the Tennessee Titans?
Walford: "It is a long season so you can't dwell on the past. We got to do what we can do. Obviously, we came up a bit short but we just have to move on to the next."
Q: What was going on during those nulls where the team offense couldn't put points on the board?
Walford: "Just everybody trying to make a play. It was a bit slow at times, but we made some plays when we needed to."

Q; How much of a momentum killer was that Amari Cooper 51-yard touchdown catch being called back?
Walford: "It was big man. It was a long drive, we needed someone to make a play, and that is what Cooper [Amari] did. We saw that flag and everyone was kind of deflated."

Q: You were a big favorite to win this game. Is it frustrating to lose a game you are supposed to come out on top in?
Walford: "I mean I wouldn't say it is frustrating because like I said, that is a professional team just like us. It is not won on paper. You have to go out there and execute the game."

Q: Do you feel these are correctable mistakes?
Walford: "Definitely. We will get it corrected. Coach just said we will make sure we find out corrections."


Q: Did you guys have trouble adjusting to the no-huddle and change of pace of the Falcons?
McGill: "Credit to them for executing the plan, but at the same time, we got to make some corrections. The no-huddle wasn't really the issue. We just need to make the minor adjustments."

Q: How frustrating is it for the defense to give up over 500 yards of offense these first two weeks?
McGill; "It is always going to be frustrating for any team. We still have some adjustments to make. Again, credit to them, but we have to come out and be dominant."

Q: Seemed like the tight-ends gave you some issues today. Was that something you guys saw on film from last week or something else?
McGill: "I don't think it was them, but a matter of us not doing certain things that we are meant to do."


Q: Why do you think you guys are having troubles so far?

Williams:"Today, especially for the run game part of it, a few guys were getting out of gaps. They did a great job of counter-swooping us, getting us to misfit. They just took advantage of our mistakes. We didn't do a great job executing."

Q: Was this a mental thing or more physical at this point?

Williams:"We had a great week of practice, things just didn't happen on the field. It's still early in the season. We have to keep the team working, get back to practice and correct these mistakes."

Q: How far do you think you guys are from coalescing into what you think this defense can be?

Williams:"They're just small, minor issues. In the end they cost us big plays. If it's just getting the call in, trying to making sure we communicate with each other, getting set right. There are little things. Today really showed. We made mistakes that definitely made big plays today. They just took advantage of it."

Q: Coach [Jack Del Rio] says those mistakes are correctable. Since it's early in the season, how positive is that for you, knowing that?

Williams:"It's definitely positive. We have some guys who played in different places last year. We're still learning each other. We started to gel a little together in the preseason, but as you get into the real games, especially as we watch film after the game is over, we're starting to learn and get a feel for each other more. Where we're going right now we have no choice but to improve."



Q: Is it a shock for this team with today's result in the home opener?
Penn: "It's football and you can't win them all. We went out there and played our tails off. We got some stuff we need to fix this week and it is still early. The good thing is it's only the second game, but I'm not going to lie, we are down. We had a chance to win that game and it is tough when you lose one like that. We are going to keep fighting. It's early and we are going to get on these Titans this week."

Q: What are your thoughts on the pass to Amari Cooper that was called back?
Penn: "I know that crew is a great crew. That was a big play. You never know what may happen if we got that play back. We got to learn from that stuff. D.C. [Derek Carr] is moving around making stuff happen. I just want to keep doing what he is doing."

Q: Did it look like two games in one because the first half seemed to be so much different than the second?
Penn: "One of the things we've got to start focusing on is starting faster. We had a chance last week against the Saints where we got a turnover in the red zone, and were only able to get three points out of it. This game, we had two early opportunities, so we have to start fast. We've got to do better on our first drives and that is something we will work on and look at this week. Good thing is in here, everybody wants to get better."
Q: How frustrating is it when you know that the penalties can impact a win or loss? Penn: "It is definitely frustrating, especially when you've got no control over it, but that is a part of football. We've got to find a way to overcome them, and find a way to become a better team and make stuff happen."

Q: Does the offense putting points on the board make you feel like you will compete in every game?
Penn:"It feels even better when we put more points on the board than the other team. Good thing is, it is early and only Week 2. There are a lot of positives, but a lot of stuff we need to work on too. We are going to work harder on the stuff that we need to fix."

Q: What is it like playing for Derek Carr?
Penn: "It is great. I love it. He takes control and has the passion to win. He leads our team. He is out there fighting his tail off and as an offensive line, we try to make his job easy. Often times, he makes our job easy, but I love playing with him. We've got a long way to go. I'm looking forward to these Titans next week so I can get this bad taste out of my mouth. That is what I am looking forward to."



Q: How do you summarize the struggles defensively?

Mack:"That game was on us, that game was on us defensively. Yeah, it was terrible today for us discipline-wise, Julio [Jones], deflections, everything worked in their favor today and we didn't do much to stop it."

Q: After allowing 1,000 yards through the first two games, why haven't you been able to gel as a defense?

Mack:"1,000 yards…Being the leader of this defense, that hurts. But at the same time, the composure that you have to have at these times, it's going to be big for us. Getting ready for next week, got to get ready like our life depended on it."

Q: Does knowing the yardage you've allowed motivate you to be better?

Mack:"No doubt, no doubt, no doubt. That's not what you want to give up. The first two games, 1,000 yards? It sucks. But at the same time, we have to rally back and get the troops ready. We will be better." 

Q: What happened in the second half?

Mack:"Just certain things. Eyes, playing with our eyes and discipline. They did things to manipulate what we saw and so, you have to be ready for those things. We're professionals, you know what I'm saying? It's what we get paid to do. That's not good enough."

Q: Is it surprising to have these troubles after the additions on a defense?

Mack:"You could say it's surprising because we work hard, we work hard on the defensive side of the ball. But, at the same time, when it comes to discipline, you can't really work on discipline as much as you…especially when those bullets are flying out there. No excuse is being made, we have to be better and we will be better next game."

Q: Are teams doing more to take you out of the game?

Mack:"It's football. (Play action) boots and running the ball, screens, cuts, it's all football. It's basic football, they beat us playing basic football. That's not good enough."

Q: What can you do to have one of those impact games you've had in the past?

Mack:"What I was talking about, just start playing with discipline, stopping the run first, playing with better technique, all those different things and then letting the game open up from there on. Then, making them beat you throwing the ball is when you can be effective."

Q: What would be an example of the problems with discipline?

Mack:"For example, myself. Playing the boot instead of playing the cut on the run, playing it to the tight end instead of going around him, different things of that nature. Just things to open up the offense and letting them get into the flow of things. We didn't make them feel uncomfortable at all today."

Q: Can you see how personally Head Coach Jack Del Rio is taking the defensive struggles?

Mack:"I've taken it way more personally than him, because this my defense and it's a shame. It's a hurtful feeling, but at the same time, you have to rally. You have to rally and you have to use this motivation."

Q: Is it back to the drawing board to correct the mistakes?

Mack:"No doubt, no doubt. Watching the film, correcting them and giving this offense a short field. Getting the ball, getting turnovers, TFL's (tackles for loss) and all those things that we're good at."

Q: With the struggles on one side of the ball and not the other, does it feel similar to last year?

Mack:"Yeah, you could say it's a little bit of that. But, it's a new season and we have new faces, we have new guys and we have to rally. We have to rally. We have to take blows on the chin and get ready for next week."

Q: What can you learn from last year?

Mack:"You can learn a lot from last year. This is a new year and we're looking forward to getting better. It's a new team, a different team. Offensively, they're doing everything right. We just have to rally defensively, immediately." 

Q: They had two big plays including a deflection that didn't go in your favor, are there some days that just don't feel like it's going your way?

Mack:"Yeah, those are things that can't happen. But at the same time, all the big plays that we did give up technique wise and doing the wrong things, it can't happen."

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