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Raiders vs. Chargers Postgame Quotes


QB Derek Carr threw for four touchdowns. Photo by Tony Gonzales

Interim Head Coach Tony Sparano

Opening Remarks: "Just to start here – I just told the team and we talked about this the entire week, we didn't walk into this place here today in front of our fans here to play a good game, play a competitive game, do any of those things; we came here to win a football game today. In our league, there's none of those type of things. There's no moral victories; there's none of those things. I did tell them that I was proud of them. This group, from what they've been through the last two weeks, came out today and played with a lot of energy, I thought, a lot of passion. Got to give credit to the team across the field. That's why they are where they are right now. I thought their quarterback at the end there made some big plays. I thought there was some plays down at the end there that we didn't make, plays throughout the game. We talked about earlier in the week with Oakland kind of beating Oakland a few times. I think they were minimized, but nonetheless, still there. A lot of things we corrected over the bye were good for us. We're going to continue to get better here. This group is committed to doing a better job out there each and every week. We're going to continue to work our tails off here and get better. So, with that, I'll open it up for questions.

Q: What did you correct over the bye?

Coach Sparano: "Well, we corrected a bunch of things over the bye, a bunch of things. From fundamental things – I thought we tackled better today. I thought we, for the most part, played the run better, particularly with what they were trying to do with us in there. It wasn't any different than what people were trying to do for a couple weeks there prior to that. I thought our guys competed to the football. I thought that was really evident out there today. I thought offensively we ran the ball well during the course of this game. I thought Derek did some really good things. He threw some progressions in getting the ball around to a bunch of receivers. Felt like those were things we did well. Third down for us offensively was really good for us today against a good defense. Defensively, we obviously we have to get off the field on third down. We made a couple of key stops at different times to get ourselves out there when we needed to. This team coming out at the half leads the league in points scored coming out from the half. We knew they had the ball in a close game, which is why we took the ball in the beginning of the game to try to start fast. That's something that we practiced this week. We put a huge emphasis on starting fast in the change of our practice schedule. I thought offensively, obviously, we started fast. We stopped them in the first series of the second half, which was critical at that point. Kept ourselves in the football game and gave ourselves a chance to win a game at the end, and didn't win the football game at the end." Q: It looked like you let Derek open it up quite a bit.

Coach Sparano: "He really, I thought, played well today. The kid is a competitive kid. He's just getting better and better and better. On that first play, the first touchdown play, they came with pressure, we expected the pressure, the guys handled it pretty good up front, but Derek kept through the progression and getting the ball to the right guy, that's progress. He's continuously made progress in several football games here. I'm not just talking about one game right now, but he's gotten better and better each week. You can see it today with what he did. A couple times with his movements, finding the right people on the move, finding some people on the sideline, those type of things there. So I thought he did a good job with that. The play at the end of the ball game, if anybody wants to ask, it's 2nd-and-very short; we felt like we'd make the first down, took a shot, and that kid made a great play."

Q: In the final sequence, you were moving along and you went for the bomb. Was there any thought of just getting the 6- or 8-yarders?

Coach Sparano: "There's always thought when you're in the two-minute drill. It's something that we've done a really good job of this year, being in two-minute. We're one of the tops in the league in two-minute right now. Unfortunately, we've had to use it too much. It was a scenario where the coverage dictated where the ball was going to go and we took the shot. The kid made a heck of a play as you can see. We're talking about an inch one way or an inch the other way and that's the nature of our game. You lose one-score games and those are the ones that hurt. And they should hurt for a little while. We'll get it behind us tomorrow and we'll get on and we'll get ready to play Arizona."

Q: In the second half, they were lined up for that 54-yard field goal and you had to burn a timeout…

Coach Sparano: "Yeah, I had to burn a timeout at that point. It was in between punt team and in between field goal. We had to burn a timeout. We wanted to get it right and we had too many people on the field at one point, so we needed to take the timeout and get the people off the field and line up the proper way. As I said to the team earlier in the week, and we did talk about this, timeouts are gold. At the end of the ball game here, when you're stuck with one going down there towards the end, you really need to hold it as long as you can hold it for the possible field goal, if you had a chance to kick the field goal. That was a scenario where we burned one unfortunately that we didn't need to burn - or shouldn't have burned but needed to at the point."

Q: They had the ball for almost 38 minutes. At the end of the game, when you had been defending the run better in the 3rd quarter, they were able to get you right up the middle.

Coach Sparano: "Listen, I don't know what the play counts were, but one thing is we scored on a couple of quick possessions. We scored, obviously on the 3rd play of the game, boom, we score. And then we score another one on a quick possession, so I think that that got our defense back out there a couple times. And then of course, they made some plays on 3rd down; you have to give those guys credit, that's what they do. They're one of the best in the league on 3rd down; we knew that coming in. Again, I thought our kids made some key stops, but we just didn't make enough of them, but we'll continue to get better in those areas. Did they wear us down a little bit? I'm not sure about that, but they were obviously able to run the ball at the end a little bit."

Q: Are you encouraged by your run game? McFadden had a really good game and you got something from Maurice Jones-Drew?

Coach Sparano: "I was happy to see both runners. I've been asked the question about Maurice a bunch and obviously Maurice came out there today and gave us a little spark too. Both guys contributed. I thought the guys up front in the core there did a nice job being able to rush the football against this group. But we need to be able to do that. I don't know what our carries were, I know what our totals were, but our average per carry was pretty high today and Derek needs that. Offensively, we need to be able to do that, put ourselves in manageables. I think we converted 60 percent today, somewhere around there, on 3rd down, and that's being in manageables. If you run the ball and get yourself in those situations, you're giving yourself a chance to win the game and move the ball and stay out on the field."

Q: Rivers had a lot of time to throw the ball today. Did you think about blitzing him more in the 2nd half?

Coach Sparano: "Yeah, we thought about it. We thought about blitzing him. We blitzed him a few times early. We got to him a couple of different ways, but with Philip, I said this earlier in the week, if you don't tackle him, he's a guy that buys time. He's going to hurt you in those situations and he hurt us in one or two of those situations today. It might have been three of those situations today where he kind of got outside of the pocket, bought some time, and then found somebody in the scramble drill and made a chunk play. You have to pick your poison a little bit with him. If you're going to go out there and just pressure him, not different than the third play of the game for us, you could be looking at a different situation. We'll go back, we'll evaluate it and take a look at it. We felt like, in the beginning of the game, we were getting to him a little bit, getting around him; he was feeling us. I think in the second half of the game, obviously, he was able to skate out of there and make a few plays."

Q: Your offense ran the ball so well in this game; why did you call a screen pass up four with five minutes left?

Coach Sparano: "We knew they were going to pressure us. They did pressure us. We kind of got bottled up in there a little bit and they ate the back up on the screen. I thought it was a really good call at that time. It was a 2nd-and-5 situation and I think we just ran the ball for five yards and it was a 2nd-and-5, I thought the call was a good call. There was pressure. It was exactly what we thought it was going to be in that scenario. But we didn't execute the play. They made a play in a situation, so that's pretty much why. I thought it was a good call."

Q: You have Arizona coming in…what do you have to do to get this thing turned around?

Coach Sparano: "We'll go back and we'll evaluate the entire game from what just happened. We have several outstanding quarterbacks coming up. Carson [Palmer] this week coming in and another good football team coming in. But, that's the best team in the league today according to most of you, so that's one of the best teams in the league out there today and our kids played really hard. And they'll play really hard again next week. I have all the confidence in the world that they'll play hard. We need to be in these kind of football games and finally win one of these kind of games. That's how we turn this thing around. We have to be in these kind of football games. We have to win one of these type of football games and that's how you get this thing turned around – work hard and get this thing turned around that way."

Q: Do you think moving forward you'll continue to stay aggressive with Carr?

Coach Sparano: "I think that we're going to do whatever is best for the Oakland Raiders right now and Derek made some plays down the field. We pushed the ball down the field a little bit, which was part of the philosophy over the bye. We needed to figure out how to gain some chunk plays. When I say Oakland beats Oakland, we had five drops in the first half of the game. When you look at Derek's numbers, and you guys were watching the game, we need to make some of those plays for him. Our players know that. They understand that. We'll see it on the tape. But we're going to continue to do those things."

Q: Can you talk about TJ Carrie's impact?

Coach Sparano: "His impact was in two areas. I thought, obviously, on defense I felt him challenging the football. I felt TJ out there challenging the football. I felt him around the ball on defense. And then of course in the special teams game, we put him back there for kickoffs, which was something we talked about over the bye, and then punt return in there. He helped us shorten the field a little bit and our offense took advantage in some of those situations, off of those type of deals, which was really good to see, a couple of phases working together. I thought TJ, for a young guy coming into that situation, really did a nice job. When you really look at it, when you look at TJ, look at Khalil out there flying around out there today, and Gabe Jackson and Derek and these kids, it's a good place to be right now."

Q: You said a couple weeks ago that you thought maybe this team had forgotten how to win games. Does that play into how this game played out?

Coach Sparano: "I don't think in this game I can honestly that. I said that. I would tell that that is the truth if I felt like it was the truth. I don't really think that's how it played out here at the end of this thing. But we have to win one of these like that. We put ourselves in position to win a game. Really, other than the New England game, we haven't been in that kind of position, to win a football game. We put ourselves in position to win and every guy on the sideline believed in the two-minute drill, that that's what was going to happen when we got out there at the end of the game. I just feel like right now what they're starting to figure out that the amount of work that went into the last week really…and some of the things that we really emphasized showed up in this football game, and that some of them we won in some of those scenarios. We just have to continue to win a few more of those and I think they understand that a little bit better right now. We'll figure it out and we'll get ourselves in a situation where we can win one."

QB Derek Carr

Carr:"I can promise you it wasn't easy. We put a lot of hard work into this week. The enthusiasm, the effort, was all great during practice. The attention to detail in the meetings was great. I say great meaning where it's supposed to be. Obviously, we need to do a little more, because in the end we didn't win. There are no moral victories, especially in this league. I've learned that. But, to say it was easy, it was not easy. They were the No. 1 defense going in and we knew that and we knew we had a great challenge ahead of us."

Q: Talk about today's game.

Carr:"Like I said, we had a really good week of everyone being so tuned into the details, which is so huge. I could sit down and take one play and spend 35 minutes telling you each guys position and each detail of anything we could see, just one play. Everyone's details, everyone's attention to that this week was so on point, so good. We were doing it in practice, we were taking it from the meeting room to the practice field and doing it, better than we had been in weeks prior. We're heading in the right direction but we're not there yet."

Q: Can you grade your performance today?

Carr:"No. It's hard always, as a quarterback, it's hard to say how I did without seeing the film because there's so much with my eyes and all those kind of things. My job is just to take care of the football, put points on the board. I don't ever grade myself publicly."

Q: Can you go through your first touchdown?

Carr:"Yeah, every week I go into it, I know people are trying to mess with the rookie, so I know they were trying to show pressure one way and bring it another way. It just so happened, we caught them in it. It was a great play call by 'Olie' [Offensive Coordinator Greg Olson], my goodness, perfect play call for that instance, to have Andre [Holmes] on the double move there and we caught them just in the right play. Andre did a great job of catching it and then he finished it. Those guys are fast."

Q: The second touchdown you threw in a really tight window…

Carr:"To James [Jones]? The second one, yeah, to James, again a great job by Coach 'Olie'. He knew the coverage that they would be in when we motioned, they played the exact coverage that he wanted. James ran the correct route on it and we were able to hit it. So, it was just like Coach 'Olie' and those guys drew it up." 

Q: Can you go through the third touchdown?

Carr:"The third one was to Brice [Butler]. So, we had a play, he was the third progression. They had one covered up, just based on the coverage they were playing, so I still set my eyes there. Looked at No. 2, they had a linebacker on him, they were playing man there. Then No. 3, Brice beat his guy, so I just went to No. 3 just going through my read. Again, just how 'Olie' draws it up and just how 'Flip' [quarterbacks coach John DeFilippo] teaches it. Then the fourth one to 'Dre' [Andre Holmes], was just a roll out, trying to hit Darren [McFadden] in the flap right there, and Andre, my goodness, did a great job of running fast through the back of the end zone. Usually when you go out, you just kind of look back and guys kind of settle, he did a great job of running through the back and getting to the back pylon."

Q: Were you looking to take a shot on that play with the interception at the end of the game?

Carr:"Just trying to find a one-on-one. Going into it, they played quarters right there to that side, if I'm not mistaken. Again, I'll have to see the film, but it seemed like it. Brice [Butler] had a double-move, so we knew he would have a one-on-one and so, I pumped it, the safety was not in the play, I wasn't worried about the safety so I was just giving Brice a chance there." 

Q: What can you say about the offensive line?

Carr:"Oh my goodness, I can't enough good things about them. I watched a certain rookie quarterback with the same last name about 12 years ago, and I'm glad that it's a little different now, because those guys play their tail off. These guys, they do a great job, they really do. They really care about keeping me clean and I appreciate that, I really do appreciate it. Everything that I just said is only to bring praise to that offensive line."

Q: The third-and-out in the fourth quarter…

Carr:"It was tough, and on that third down, they had a good call. We saw the pressure coming, we made a call. Maybe we could have gone to a different call, the one we had was a little tougher to pick that up, but they had a good call on that play we had, they dropped the backside end there, right in the window, and again, I'm not trying to take a sack. It ends up being the same kind of deal, throwing it away there with the intentional grounding. Just trying to not take too much of a bad play, who knows, hit, fumble, all those kind of things. So, just trying to throw it away, but they had a good call there. But it is a little frustrating because we were moving it good, but again, it's hard for me to tell you exactly what happened without seeing it on film first." 

Q: There were some drops in the first half. Did you talk to any of the guys at halftime?

Carr:"As many balls as I overthrow or miss at practice, I'm never going to be one to rip into somebody. Of course I know who you can get on, I know who you need to encourage, all those things. They're professional football players, I don't need to go console them or anything like that. I just go, 'Hey, you're better than that,' and those kinds of things. They already know before I even get to them. It's like if I throw a pick, Coach already knows I know what I did, I know what I messed up on if it's a certain way I did it. But those guys did a good job, like you said, in the second half. They came out and they caught everything, especially James. You see some of those catches that he made, I had to throw them at different angles. I couldn't put them right on him because of the angle of where the hands were and all those things, but he made the great catches. They did a good job."

Q: You said you don't rip into the guys, but after Coach Sparano said this is your team, did that in any way change your approach?

Carr:"I'm the same person. I didn't change who I was, that's for sure. But instead of sitting back and not stepping on toes – he said, 'It's your team. It's your team, take it over.' That means you can demand more now. We're past the rookie stuff. There's no more 'rookie'. You're the leader of this football team, the franchise – here, now go. Now it's just I can demand things from guys. I can go up to a guy and say, 'Hey, I really need you to cross this guy's face here,' and the answer isn't going to be, 'OK, rookie, I got it, I know it.' It's going to be, 'Oh yeah, I got it, I'll do it next time,' those kinds of things. I don't need to go touch someone out to prove a point. I just go and demand from them just like they demand from me."

Q: Did you feel locked in pretty early?

Carr:"To be completely honest, from what I've been seeing, I've felt the same in every game – just my feel of things. Obviously, we executed a lot better on offense. I don't ever feel locked in or those kind of things. I just try to make my reads the best that I can, and it sounds so cliché, but I'm being dead serious. I'm try and just do my reads the best that I can and make the right calls and I don't think about, 'Oh, I'm locked in, we're hitting right now.' It's, 'OK, the next time we get the ball, we've got to put more points on the board.'"

RB Darren McFadden

Q: What positives the team can take from today's game?

McFadden: "It's a tough loss, but we've got to go out there and finish.  We didn't make the plays when it counted, that's one of the things.  It just is what it is."

Q: Did you think you ran the ball hard today?

McFadden:"That's how I take pride in running the ball.  Every time I go out there and get the ball in my hands, I feel like I'm going to score, so that's how I run the ball every time."

Q: Do you believe the team can turn things around?

McFadden:"Oh yeah, definitely. You saw it on the field today.  Guys went out there and fought hard.  Like I said, we just didn't make the plays at the end when it counted.  If you look around the locker room you can see it in guy's faces, it hurts."

WR Andre Holmes

Q: Talk about your day today.

Holmes: "A few times there were opportunities to make plays and I was able to get open and Derek [Carr] threw it to me and I was able to make it."

Q: What did you think about the long touchdown?

Holmes: "[Carr's pass] was definitely perfect. I was able to catch it in stride, I didn't have to jump up and try to make a play or anything like that, it was a perfectly thrown ball. If you're looking at how he's [Carr] playing you'll see that he's improving every game. He's been putting the ball in amazing places and he's going to continue to do that."

Q: What will it take for the team to close games out when you're close?

Holmes:"Just keep doing our jobs all the way throughout the game. It was a close one today and that's the bottom line.  Just continue to work hard and do your job, and it's not like we didn't do that today, it's just sometimes those one score game's, they don't go your way.  We've just got to dig deep and win them."

WR Brice Butler

Q: Talk about the team's last offensive play that ended in an interception.

Butler: "Last play, I had a 'sluggo' (Slant-and-Go) double-move.  We hit them on a couple earlier in the game so I guess he [Jason Verrett] was waiting for it and he just sat back and kind of collided with me about 15 yards down the field and I saw the ball thrown and I was just trying to get down to it.  I didn't see the safety so I was just trying to get to the ball so no one could catch it. Then once I looked back again, I saw that it was close and it was a catchable ball.  I went up for it and I had it in my left hand and when we were falling, his momentum just took the ball.  I didn't even know he had caught it I just hear his teammate say, 'You got it,' and I turned around and he had the ball in his hands, so it was just a good play by number 22."

Q: How tough is the loss?

Butler: "Oh it was tough.  Those hurt.  But I mean, there are no moral victories.  You've got to get W's in this league and we didn't win, so hats off to San Diego for getting the tough one."

Q: Is there anything the offense can take as a positive from the game?

Butler: "We put ourselves in a position to win the game, and when we look at the film I think we'll be optimistic about what we've done, but right now there's not really a positive feeling because we lost and we didn't do enough to win.  So we've got to look at the tape and figure out what that is and go out and do it next week."

DE Justin Tuck

Q: Was there a sense that you were going to hold them on the last series there?

Tuck:"Sure, as a defensive player you always want to be in that situation. It didn't work out the way we wanted it to today, but you always want to have the opportunity to stop an offense and preserve a win. Like I said, it didn't happen for us. Obviously, we're not in this game for morale victories. We're proud of the effort we had and things like that, but we've got to find a way to get off the field or at least hold them to a field goal or something.* *

Q: The fact that you guys are made progress, is that something important you guys want to build on?

Tuck:"Well, that's what we have to do, build on it. The last two times we had close games we came back the next week and didn't play anywhere close to what we're capable of playing. It's going to hurt for tonight and probably tomorrow a little bit, but we have to turn our attention to the Arizona Cardinals because we have a pretty solid football team coming into our house. We have to figure out a way to win these close games like this."

Q: Did you guys really want this one after all the drama?

Tuck:"Definitely, you really want every one. Going into each game you have to take one game at a time, and put all 110% into each and every game. So, that's the biggest thing we have to go forward and do."* *

LB Sio Moore

Q: Moving forward you guys have some tough competition coming in, do you take this week to look at the minor things that didn't go well?

Moore:"We're going to take tomorrow to look at that and get ready to play Arizona when they come here. That team wasn't better than us. We let them off the hook as flat as that goes. We have to close games out when it gets to that point; it doesn't matter where they put the ball down. We can't let them run the ball, we can't give them much yards, we have to come up with the plays through the game so that when the fourth quarter comes, it's not a situation where it's that crucial; and if it is, we know what's going to happen and we know what we're going to do. I don't like this feeling."* *

Q: What did Coach Sparano say?

Moore: "That's really between us and the team. It's one of those situations where we have to come ready to go Monday, watch this film and get it corrected. See the little details that need to be corrected, and close in for a win. This can't be the feeling in this stadium. You saw how the stadium was and how we played and we've got to close in. we can't let a team that's supposed to be a good team off the hook."* *

Q: What mistakes do you think the team made in this game?

Moore: "We've got several. We've got to tackle; we can't just let them run the ball. We have to play good situational football through the game."

CB TJ Carrie

Q: Can you touch on your play today?

Carrie:"I think today was just going out there and executing what the coaches had practiced for the bye week and coming into this week. All of the things are putting us in the best position to make plays, and it's our responsibility to go out there and do our job. So, I'm just doing the responsibility that our coaches put us in, which is always great."

Q: What about your role going forward with the team?

Carrie:"Just continuing to do what I'm doing. I think the special teams always have a good game plan for all 11 guys on the field, same with our defensive staff, they put together a great defensive game plan each and every week. So, just continuing what I'm doing as far as on the defensive side and on the special teams side as well, it's getting better each week."

Q: Was practice different this week than previous weeks?

Carrie: "I think the biggest thing is just that, that was the first quarter of football. What we did and accomplished in those four past games is in the past, so of course practice is different as far as we're in the mind frame of moving forward, each and every day. Taking it each and every practice with a different mindset and knowing that there's a lot of football left. A lot of things can still be changed and done and we're on our goal to accomplish that."

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