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26 October 2016

Transcript: Oakland Raiders Conference Calls with Tampa Bay Media (10/26/16)

(On what factors he attributes to having success on the road)
“I think our football team has been very purposeful coming out. We’ve got a process and they’ve adhered to the process. They’ve embraced it and really focused on just playing good football regardless of the circumstances, regardless of the weather, regardless of the time of day - just to get excited to get out and play good football whenever they put the ball down for us and we tee it up and kick off.”
(On the benefits and difficulties spending the week at the IMG Academy in Bradenton)
“For us, we’re just focusing on trying to keep it as normal as possible for the guys, for the coaches, for the players. We have a tremendous support staff that is providing everything we need, so that we can go about just a typical game week of preparation. So, all of our focus is there. Our workouts, our meetings, the structure, what we eat, everything is basically kind of staying within the normal flow of a game week.”
(On what key factors he believes has led to success in the eastern time zone coming from the west coast)
“For us, it’s just a matter of recognizing that good football teams are going to play well regardless of the circumstances, so we don’t get caught up in the circumstances as much as we do in the preparation and understanding the talent that this team has and the design, the coaches, the structure, the things that we need to do to prepare to play well.”
(On what he sees out of some of his former coaching staff in head coach Dirk Koetter and defensive coordinator Mike Smith)
“It’s a good group of guys. We’ve obviously spent a lot of time together, working together. They’re good men, good coaches and I’m happy for their success.”
(On enjoying this football season as head coach of the Oakland Raiders as well as father to the starting quarterback for the University of Florida)
“Yes, I will get a chance to see my son on Saturday and it’s fortunate that we’re here. I think for us, we both feel very blessed to be a part of two great organizations and I know he’s very happy to be the quarterback for the Gators. He’s working hard on his education, he’s working hard on doing all he can to help his team win. I’m proud of our guys here with the Raiders and the work we’re putting in and the process that we go through each week. So, just feeling very blessed right now and feeling like there’s a lot of work in front of us and just kind of continuing to grind and do the things that need to be done for the good of this team.”
(On how he knew Dirk Koetter was the right choice for offensive coordinator when he was Jacksonville’s head coach)
“I think Dirk’s very organized, a detailed guy. Good teacher, good relationship with the players. I just felt like Dirk was a really good fit at the time and I think he proved that he was with the product that we put out there. Our guys were always very well-prepared and I thought Dirk was an excellent teacher.”
(On if he knew Koetter would be an NFL head coach one day)
“Yeah, I did. Just like Mike Smith, both coordinators – as coordinators, I think you should expect that when you do well with your groups – and that’s the idea, to do well with your groups – and when you do, that some pint you’re going to get an opportunity to lead your own football team. So both of those guys – Mike Smith and Dirk were there with us in Jacksonville and I’m proud to see both of them go on and get those opportunities.”
(On a number of former Jacksonville players and coaches currently being with Tampa Bay)
“I think we had almost an all-star staff there if you really look at it. We had Mike Shula, Dirk Koetter, Todd Monken, Mike Tice, Mike Smith, Mark Duffner, we had a list of really good coaches – Joe DeCamillis, then later Nate Kazcor, who’s now [Tampa Bay’s] special teams coordinator. So a lot of really good coaches were in that building. We knew that, we knew as a staff that we were doing everything we could to help that team be its best and that’s what each staff should do. So, yeah I take great pride in knowing that we did a real solid job then and I’m really happy for the guys because they worked hard and they are good people and good coaches and I’m happy for them to get opportunities elsewhere now.”
(On what running back Latavius Murray means to Oakland’s offense)
“He’s a big back and he’s one of our better players, so certainly you want your players when they’re healthy, able to go, you want to be able to utilize him. So getting him back definitely gave us a shot in the arm.”
(On where Oakland’s defense needs to improve)
“I think for us, just keep playing. We’ve got a good group of guys that care, I feel like we’ll continue to improve as we go throughout the season. We want to build on the fact that we are taking the football away, we’re playing good on third down and obviously those are two keys to winning games. Winning is what we’re after and as we go through the year we want to continue to improve, so we know there’s a lot of work yet in front of us.”
(On what’s harder for him: coaching or watching his son, Luke, play quarterback at the University of Florida)
“Hand down, watching him play. I think playing in this league and playing in this league, that part has come a lot easier than being in the stands and being a dad. I think other dads and moms out there can share that opinion that the hardest thing you do is watching your kid and watching your kid play, without question.”
(On if Luke was interested in football at a young age)
“Yeah, he’s definitely a gym rat. I think it grew as he grew in age. I think once he got into high school, he became pretty serious about pursuing a career.”
(On the advantages of being able to stay on the East Coast after last week’s game against Jacksonville and now this week against the Buccaneers)
“I think it helps the comradery of the team not so much helps, but it’s a cool get-away, instead of going back and forth, to stay here. It helps the process and ultimately helps us win this weekend.”
(On whether he believes the team feels like they are making progress or still has a lot of work to do)
“Making progress, man. There is still a lot of work to do. When you look at it, you look at the film, there is a lot of work to do only getting better. And that’s the focus week to week; going out and getting better as a team on offense, defense and on special teams. That’s been our motto every week.”
(On what stands out to him about the Buccaneers offensively despite the absence of some of their best running backs)
“You talk about the attitude of that team, the type of attitude to run the football offensively, so it is going to be a great challenge for us this week. We need to limit that, limit the yards. Like you said, they have their veterans at the running back position, [running back] Doug Martin hasn’t been in there as much.Got guys stepping up, stepping up huge for them.”
(On what he is seeing from quarterback Jameis Winston on the Buccaneers offense)
“Jameis Winston is as hard as they come man, hard as they come. Displaying leadership to get those guys ready and get them pumped up to get them ready to play a football game. It is going to be a great challenge for us to go up against them this weekend being that they do a lot of different things well; they run the football, they want to run the football. They are going to make it known early in the game that they want to run the football, but not only that, they do a lot of things with play actions and screens. [Wide receiver] Mike Evans is going to be a real challenge for us.”
(On Raiders quarterback Derek Carr’s leadership on the team)
“You talk about the ultimate competitor; he walks around with a fierceness in his eyes. It almost scares you a little bit if you look him in the eye because he is a fierce competitor. He is focused, will-driven and he is going to do anything to make the team win. So, to have a guy like that in the locker room it only pumps you up more that he’s on your team. I’m glad to have him. Glad he’s my quarterback. Yeah, he’s doing a lot of different things now. They have been clicking, him and [wide receiver Michael] Crabtree, [wide receiver Amari Cooper] ‘Coop’, [wide receiver] Seth Roberts, all those guys. The offensive line is working. There are a lot of things clicking on that side of the ball. Derek is a leader, you’re talking about ever since rookie year coming in, made it known that you’ve got to change the culture of their team and that’s been the focus since our rookie year.”
(On his development from a smaller school at University at Buffalo to the NFL)
“When you talk about making that step, I think that it is hard for everybody. It’s the speed of the game. Guys that were supposed to be top players that come in their first year and all those different things. Everybody has those same challenges, whether you came from a small school or a bigger school, just adjusting to the speed of the game and once that happens - and it can happen for some people during the off season when you first come in with a team or it can happen preseason for some people or for others, it may take a whole season for them to adjust. Fortunately, I came in and adjusted and it was quick. And on the edges, it is easier versus being on the inside as a pass rusher. So, it was an easier – it wasn’t easy, but it was quicker adjusting for me. Fortunately, I made the adjustment. I try to come out and affect the game and help the team win.”

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