Raiders Head Coach Jack Del Rio
Opening Statement: "Raider Nation showed up tonight. Oh boy. Shout out to the fans that showed up. It was a great atmosphere to play in and tough environment to come down and play in the altitude and all that. I thought our guys handled themselves well. It wasn't one of our cleaner games in terms of execution. But we showed tremendous grit and we got an opportunity late in the game to seize control and did and made the plays we needed to make to get a hard-earned win. So, with that, we'll head home and turn around on what will end up being a short week against the Panthers. But that's for later. So questions?"
Q. On the team's execution:
Coach Del Rio: "In the fourth quarter we made some plays. I thought we had some opportunities early in the game and didn't execute. And we had several drops that were kind of uncharacteristic. We have been catching, throwing and catching pretty darn well. I think we were 10-15 in the first half and of those five, I think four of them were drops. So, we executed late and did enough, made enough plays at the end to win the game. But a lot of things, certainly, we'll need to clean up and get better at and that's always the case. Because I told our guys in there, I said, hey, we're 8-2, we have earned it, we came in here, we beat a good team, a team that's first in their division, it's a good football team. Obviously, we're used to running the ball better than we did. Romeo [Crennel] is a good coach, he had a good plan, and defensively their front played very well. Clowney played very well. He was dominant tonight. We weren't able to run it the way we wanted to most of the night, but then at the end of the game, four-minute drive, we showed we could run it and put the game away. So that was great to see."
Q. Talk about environment tonight
Coach Del Rio: "Speaking about the environment, I thought crowd was outstanding. I thought that they were very excited for us to play in front of them. We were excited to put on a good show for them. Obviously, it's televised across the world as well, but a great environment to play in live. The fans came out and they were terrific throughout the night."
Q. How much of a luxury is it to have Derek Carr as your quarterback knowing that he can make those type of plays to bail you out sometimes in a rough game like this?
Coach Del Rio: "Yeah. Having that trigger man that can make those kind of plays is everything. He did a great job tonight staying poised. I thought that's one of the keys, is the poise he's playing with, kind of unflappable. He stays the course, keeps making good decisions, keeps putting balls in a good spot, accurately, and then we started making some plays at the end."
Q. You got a really aggressive team, every time there's a chance you're going for it. Explain about the mentality that the Raiders have and this attitude that's really contagious on your team.
Coach Del Rio: "Well, the biggest thing at the end there was in that four-minute drive we were in a situation we have a fourth and a long one right there. And to me, we put it on our offensive line and had a chance to win it there. Rather than punt and maybe it's a touchback and he gets 15 yards out it, my thinking was the potential of it being those 15 yards versus giving our guys a chance to go ahead and win the game right there for us. To me that's, there's some thought that goes into it, but it ended up being one that I think is a no-brainer when you add your belief with your group. And that's despite the fact that they didn't have a great night. That front was pretty good against us all night. But I believe in our guys, we executed that situation beautifully, and iced the game and finished with a kneel down. That's what you want to do."
Q. You talked about being able to run the ball on that last drive, but the bold call to go up the sideline to Jalen and he obviously had a huge game for you tonight. Just how much did you love that call and kind of being aggressive there and getting the big play out of it?
Coach Del Rio: "No, it was awesome. We thought we would draw that coverage, wanted to give him a chance to get up the sideline for us and have Derek put a nice ball on him. It was a nice throw, nice catch, great execution, I think, offensively. But them coming up with a play, one of our assistants, Nick, brings it up and he talks about, yeah, that's a great thought. Let's get to it. And boom, then you watch it unfold and obviously you got to execute the play. And then he runs a nice route and Derek puts a good ball on him. So, that was big. That was huge. Those are the kind of plays that win games for you and when you are getting contributions throughout a lot of different ways of winning games and you're finding ways to win, I think that's a great sign for our football team."
**Q. How much room do the Raiders have to improve the rushing game? You struggled sometimes tonight, only had 30 yards.
Coach Del Rio: "Yeah, it was a tough night, some tough sledding in there. A little different than the last time we were out. So that's the ebb and flow of the National Football League. They're very good teams, a lot of good coaches, and they had good answers tonight. So for us to not be able to do something that you like to do, as well as you like, and still be able to come out of here as a win, that's the real take away from this game."
Q. The two longest plays of the year are Olawale's two plays. What does that say about the depth of your offense and the weapons that you guys have on offense?
Coach Del Rio: "Obviously, all those guys can make plays, Taiwan, Jalen, DeAndre, all of them. Latavius. And then you throw in Olawale, who is more considered more of our bruising full back, but can he break loose and do some damage. So, yeah, that's just part of that group. And they're all, they all have explosive capabilities and Derek did a great job of finding him right there and putting the ball on him."
Q. Did you enjoy your time in Mexico? Did you like the Mexican fans?
Coach Del Rio: "It was beautiful, yes. People here were very gracious, made us feel very comfortable the time we were here and my wife is already talking about how we have to come back. So, yeah, it was awesome, it wasn't much more than 24 hours, but it was a very good time. For me anyway. But my wife was here for three days, so she really loved it."
Q. Given the fan base that the NFL has here in Mexico, would it make more sense to have a regular season game here than in London?
Coach Del Rio: "I'll let the commissioner deal with that."
Quarterback Derek Carr
Q. Part of the big game you got tonight was yards after catch. Your receivers got a really good pace after the catch. How do you feel doing that here in Mexico City at the heights?
Carr: "It was great. In the NFL, the defenses are so good, they're going to be right there. So our guys did a great job of catching it and breaking a lot of tackles. And in the NFL that's important, you got to have guys that can make plays after the catch and we have a lot of guys, not just at receiver or tight end, but also in our running backs and our fullback as well. So, it was really fun though to play in that altitude. I didn't throw one as far as I wanted to, that would have been fun, but next time."
Q. Speaking of fullbacks, how did that play unfold? And also, what did it mean, how much did it trigger this offense at that point, because it really changed the game?
Carr: "First and foremost, it starts with the offensive line. Because to do what I wanted to do, we talked about this actually at the press conference earlier this week, to do some of the things that I want to do to help my game grow, they kind of got to be stout and those kind of things. And Austin ran a great pass rusher by, we were firm inside, and our step-up tried to help the safety inside and he was on Mike. I thank the Lord I had enough time to make the flat player try and jump our flat. And then I had time to throw it to Olawale. And all of those things, everyone pats me on back and gives me a high five and all that, but it really only happens because our offensive line gave me so much time."
**Q. We were talking about the environment with Coach Jack Del Rio. What do you think about this environment and this time of year here in the stadium? What did Coach Jack Del Rio do with this team, because this was a team with a bunch of years without the playoffs and now you're leading your division? What did the coach do to help this thing?
Carr: "I'll talk about coach first. Coach, he's super competitive, he likes us to have grit, he likes that toughness in us. He's just brought a culture of these are the kind of things that we expect to do and we're going to work our tails off to where we do that. To speak on the environment, I'm a big soccer fan. I was able to play at Wembley my rookie year, and then being able to play here, I mean it was amazing. You talk about the hand of God goal and all those things, the game of the century. I still have seen the plaques around here somewhere. There's so much history and so much rowdiness. I love soccer, so it gave me kind of a soccer feel. It had that feel to it, it was loud, there was a buzz in the air the whole time, and I enjoy that a lot."
Q. What did you think about the playing in the stadium here?
Carr: "My opinion of playing here? I loved it. Very honored to be able to play in such a historic place. I think the fans were amazing, especially because they were pretty much all Raider fans."
Q. And the Mexican fans?
Carr: "The Mexican fans were amazing. That's what I said. I think, that's who I was talking about, they were amazing. I think that, I don't know if there was much football played down here, but they understand the game, they get it, they love it, they're passionate about it, and I love it. I come back to Mexico in the off season and spend some time here, so I love it here. So if you ask me to come back and play, I'm down for it."
Q. How did the confidence that you guys had built up over the last few weeks help you on a night like tonight when not everything was going your way and you find yourselves down in the fourth quarter and you had to dig in?
Carr: "To be honest, it starts way, it starts way long ago my rookie year when we were trying to build a new culture. Some may think that's crazy, but we needed to build character and build toughness and resound about us. But there's a resiliency about us that it doesn't matter what the situation is, we know what we can do, we know what we're capable of doing and let's go do it. And I think that that has built and grown over -- I think we can all agree that's built and grown over the last couple years and it unfolded today. We got punched in the mouth, for lack of a better word, and we were throwing them back and it was 10-10, tie game, tough game at half. We weren't doing things the way we usually want to do things, executing wise. But there was no doubt in anybody's mind that we were going to come back and win the football game. I think that you can't just have that one day, you can't just say, hey, we're going to grit down this time, I mean that is built over years. I'm very happy to be a part of it."
Q. What clicked there in the fourth quarter? What got this offense back on track?
Carr: "I think Maze [Jamize Olawale], Maze, that play, I think it was that play, right, where everything kind of just started, points were going everywhere, and I think that Maze and the offensive line deserve a lot of credit. We stayed the course as a team, the defense made that huge stop. The play of the game to me, it wasn't an offensive play, it was the third down run that Malcolm [Smith] chased the guy down and tackled him short of the gain. Watch him on that play, he almost gets thrown because he's trying to get off the block and he almost, he could have easily quit, could have easily been blocked, but he kept fighting. Malcolm made the play of the day right there. I think that's the play of the game that goes unseen and unheard, but that was the play."
Q. Did you miss J.J. Watt tonight?
Carr: "I missed J.J. today. I did. J.J., I'm thankful you stayed home, but no, I did. I have been praying for J.J. I never wish anything bad on anybody."
Q. The Raiders are 8-2, what does this mean for you?
Carr: "It means we're doing things the right way. It means we're headed in the right direction, it means that our process and our plan is working, but Khalil will get up here and tell you the same thing, we're not even close to where we want to be and where we're going to be. And I say where we're going to be because I believe in the men in that room and how we work. We work really hard. Nothing is easy in this league and I just believe in the character in that locker room that we're going to stay humble and work hard."
Defensive End Khalil Mack
Q. I'm sure you want to embarrass Derek a little bit and speak Spanish. But when you came up the stairs, you had a little message, talking about him in the light of MVP.
Q. Can you elaborate on that a little bit and why you feel strongly about that?
Mack: "Oh man, you talk about winning games in the stretch, he put us in position to win the game. And you've seen the pass to [Jamize] Olawale, you've seen the pass to the Latavius [Murray], he's playing great football."
Q. To be able to shake off a start that wasn't great, you guys were giving up a lot of third down conversions and to be able to grind this out, you guys have done a lot of this this year, how gratifying is it to do it again and be sitting here at 8-2?
Mack: "8-2, that's great for us. But like you said, we got a resilient bunch. Early on they were hitting us, number 10, they were giving him the ball, spreading them out and putting them in situations on third downs and it was all about our resilience and bouncing back through all of it."
Q. How much was the elevation a factor at all? On that last drive that you got the fourth and one stop and you had to use the timeout on defense, did you guys need to catch your breath at all at that point?
Mack: "I mean you talk about the elements is always a factor, but at the same time you talk about resiliency and the coaches having us prepared. Coach Gomes having us prepared for the elements, it was a weight that we could fight through and you've seen that throughout the finishing of the game and especially in the fourth quarter."
**Q. How do you feel here in Mexico with the crowd and with the altitude?
Mack: "Hey man, it was an unbelievable crowd. Mexico City, man, there was a lot of noise out there, especially for the defense. We loved it. We loved it. We needed it and the atmosphere, you talk about the elements and the altitude, you could feel it when you first flew in that it was going to be different, it was going to be different than Oakland. But we adjusted to it."
Q. What's your opinion about the playing in the night in Azteca Stadium. Did you like it?
Mack: "Did you say did I like to play here? Oh, yeah, it was love, man, we loved being out here, we loved being in front of this crowd and it was amazing. It was amazing to be out here."
Q. And the Mexican fans? Your opinions of the Mexican fans, please.
Mack: "The opinion? Oh, they're great. They're great. I was saying that throughout the whole night. You could tell that they love football out here. We were glad to be able to go out here and give them a show."
Q. Did you notice the green laser that was shining on the field at times?
Mack: "Yeah, what was that?"
Q. What did you think about that?
Mack: "That was kind of weird. I saw it and I thought I was in the twilight zone a few times, but I didn't really know what it was. I still don't. What is it? What was the green light?"
**Wide Receiver Amari Cooper
Q. You get the big touchdown, but the block that you got from Seth Roberts, did you get a good view of what he was out there doing?
Cooper: "Yeah, Seth is a great all-around player. I trust him, I didn't even have to turn my head and be worried about him not blocking because he always comes through when it comes to blocking."
Q. Can you talk about the last touchdown a little bit?
Cooper: "Yeah, the last game I had the same play and I kind of got it and got like a yard on it. So I just told myself to catch it and just get vertical and run and that's what I tried to do, so the cut was just instinctive."
Q. The offense was a little bit sloppy there in the first three quarters. What happened for the offense to explode in the fourth quarter?
Cooper: "We just believed. In this game, strange things happen but you just have to keep pushing. You have to play four quarters and that's what we did."
Q. Derek talked about how the touchdown by Jamize just really got everything going. Is that the play that you felt really changed the game, changed the way your offense was going?
Cooper: "Yeah it did, it was a huge part for our team. Everybody was happy on the sidelines and you saw that they felt like the momentum was shifting for them."