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Raiders Hope to Get Running Game Going


Q: Cleveland has the worst run defense in the league. Is that a chance you guys could get healthy against their defense?**

Coach Olson:"You certainly would hope so. Obviously, you look at those things every time you go in a game as you study your opponents and are looking for an edge or an advantage. That's one that we look at."

Q: I notice you call plays from the sideline and other coordinators call plays from the booth. Why do you prefer the sideline?

Coach Olson: "I think that you get a little bit better feel for the motion of the team. I also believe in the NFL … If I were in college, which I was in college as a college coordinator, I called them from the press box because you don't get the pictures and the immediate feedback that you can get in the NFL. That's a beautiful part of the NFL is technology and what they've done technology-wise. You have instant feedback in being able to look at pictures. I think guys would say they like to call it from the booth … Some guys like the fact that you have a view from up on top of a press box, so you can see it better.  Like I said, that's not an issue at this level. The other reason why some guys like it is because they just like the sterile environment, the quiet environment with no distractions. I've never found that to be a problem on the sidelines. Again, I am one of those that likes to kind of look into the players' faces and get feedback from the players on the sideline during a very emotional game."

Q: Kenbrell Thompkins was in on a lot of snaps last game even though he's only been with the team a couple of weeks and Brice Butler only had about 11 snaps, and Brice has made a couple of big plays. Are there things that we don't see that we don't see that one guy would be out there that much?

Coach Olson: "Again, part of that is production, obviously, in practice and part of it was seeing when we brought Thompkins in and seeing him in the individual drills. But, Brice has done some good things when getting an opportunity, so we'll continue, again, to kind of roll through that group and give some guys some opportunities, and the guys that make the most of those opportunities, like Brice, that will increase his reps. But we needed to see when we brought Thompkins in, we just wanted to find out what the player is, who the player is that we brought in and see if he could make an impact for us. We'll continue with those guys. We'll roll this week. Some of it is the position that they play. We'll still kind of work Brice in in a couple of different slots there this week as well."

Q: Kenbrell Thompkins was only targeted once, but there are things you guys see when you look at film. What did he do?

Coach Olson: "He can separate. Again, I think he's got good quickness and speed, which is important for that position. But, there still has to be a trust factor. I think that right now, Derek [Carr] probably has a little bit more trust in some of the guys that have been around here. He's still building a trust factor with both Thompkins and [Vincent] Brown."

Q: Is there any type of situation at this point yet amongst who the No. 1, No. 2 receiver is?

Coach Olson: "I just think it's still going to be receptions by committee. We're still looking for that one guys to step up and stand out. But right now, as a group, they're all interchangeable. They're intelligent enough players that they all play different positions and we ask that of them to do right now. We'll continue to be reception by committee until somebody separates themselves."

Q: James Jones seems like everything that comes near his hands, he catches …

Coach Olson: "Yeah, I think he's a good addition that way. We have conversations – James and I – every day. He says, 'Coach, I know I might not be that guy … Everyone wants to talk about speed. But, one thing I'll do is I'll catch a football.' That's important, obviously, as well to play that position. Because of his experience, he's learned a little bit how to separate and get separation and then keep separation. So, even though on a clock, you might not say and to the naked eye you'd say, 'Well it doesn't look as if there is a bunch of separation there. He doesn't need a lot of separation because of his body control and his ability to catch a football. There's obviously a real trust factor there between Derek and James. I don't see that changing, and I can see that continuing throughout the season."

Q: Are those daily conversations his idea? Is he coming to you?

Coach Olson: "Both. We talk. We just talk about different routes and ways to try to get him open."

Q: What do you see right now in Maurice Jones-Drew?

Coach Olson: "We'll look at that and what we're doing there in the run game. Darren [McFadden] has been running the football hard. We wanted to try to roll Maurice in there last week some, and we got him in there some. But, the game dictated somewhat as we went on. Some of the things we were doing … We did roll him there in the course of that game. Maurice was still getting healthy. I think he looks as healthy now as he has been in some time. So, he's had a good week of practice. Darren has remained healthy, which is important. We continue to look at both of those guys. And Latavius Murray is another guy too who will continue. He's had some good days in practice and we'll look at him as well."

Q: Are there holes not being taken advantage in the running game or is the problem up front?

Coach Olson: "It's a combination of everything. That's what we looked at. I think that's part of it. At times, you'll say there's a hole there and maybe we missed a read and missed a cut. Other times, there may be a free hitter in the hole, so it's been a combination of that."

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