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Transcript - Practice (Oct. 4, 2018)

Thursday, October 4, 2018 | Hoag Performance Center | Costa Mesa, Calif.


On if T Russell Okung will practice:

"No, we'll take a look at him at the end of the week — Friday or Saturday."

On if he would be comfortable with Okung playing even if he didn't practice throughout the week:

"Oh, absolutely. Yeah, we're going to take a hard look at him Saturday. It will be a game-time decision."

On WR Travis Benjamin:

"We put a cast on him to protect him and take the pressure off the foot, but it's the same situation with him."

On S Derwin James:

"He's a heck of a player. He's versatile. We play him to the back end, play him in the box. He's just a good football player. That's why we took him in the first round."

On the roughing the passer penalties against San Francisco:

"I can't remember that game. You know, it's a tough call [against LB Kyle Emanuel]. It was 50-50. So we understand the rules. They're not changing. We just have to adjust. You're going to have some of those. Some of those guys are put into situations where it's pretty challenging in a split second to make a decision to do something. When you've been taught to go get a guy, it's kind of hard to pull up at the end, but we have to do a little better."

On if players have a good grasp on the new rules protecting the quarterback:

"We emphasized the rule all offseason. We practiced the rule. We practiced tackling the quarterback. We do all of that. Sometimes in a game, it's going to happen. You're coming off a block late and you don't have maybe time to react and adjust your body and all that. It's part of the game now."

On Derwin James' ability to cover tight ends:

"It gives you a lot when we have a stellar tight end like we have this week in [Raider TE Jared] Cook, but we're more of a zone team than man team. So we don't play in that situation a lot, but when we need to, we can. That's the comfort, that we can do it."

On Derwin James' length helping when he blitzes:

"The ability to knock balls down, the ability to reach and cause strip fumbles, those things are where it really shows up." 

On how the Raiders have changed under Head Coach Jon Gruden:

"It's a different offensive system. It's the west coast system that I'm very familiar with. You have a lot of per progression reads where he ball comes out quick and [Raiders QB Derek] Carr is doing a good job of that. He's completing 71 percent of his balls right now, so he's picked up on the system well."

On Raiders WR Jordy Nelson:

"Just another dependable and reliable receiver. He's a tall man, he's got a lot of meat on him as well. He's a tough matchup in the slot."

On Derwin James as a pass rusher:

"They're going to have to account for him. We can use him as a decoy some. We have a lot on his plate. We need to, at some point, put him in position where he can learn that position and just play — but he's doing a heck of a job moving around for us right now. 

On if Derwin James will adjust to playing more of a safety role:

"Yes because [S] Jahleel [Addae] is playing in the back end. He played really well in the box last year. Now he's playing in the back end. It's different for him. So we're just trying to find that balance between those two."

On if Derwin James moving around affects the speed he plays with:

"Oh, sure it is. He's a rookie. He still has a lot to learn, but when he knows it, he's very decisive."

On where he would like Derwin James to play:

"Well, he's a box safety. Jahleel [Addae] was a box safety last year that did a heck of a job for us. So we just have to balance, depending on the personnel that we're going up against."

On S Jaheel Addae playing more free safety:

"He's handling that well, but it is different. Trying to spot the ball, adjusting to the ball — it's different for him, but he'll get better."


Opening Statement:

"Another big challenge this week facing an offense that has a lot of playmakers on the offensive side. I believe they're second in total yards. They're 13th in points, I believe. So they've done a good job with all their playmakers. I had the opportunity to be with [Raiders Head] Coach [Jon] Gruden back in Tampa Bay, so there is a relationship there, and with a number of guys on their staff — [Raiders Offensive Line Coach] Tom Cable, [Raiders Offensive Coordinator] Greg Olsen, so they do a great job coaching this group. I think when you watch them on tape, you see that they distribute the ball really well to allow their guys, and they're being effective doing it. So it's a good challenge. I think when they're really rolling is when they have the opportunity to run the ball, and [Raiders RB] Marshawn Lynch looks like he's playing better than when we've seen him in the past. He's really rushing the ball well. I know [he's had] a number of carries. I think he's high up there within the league and obviously yards after contact. So good challenge for our defense."

On RB Marshawn Lynch this year compared to last year:

"I'm not sure [what's different]. He ran pretty well last year, too, for them — but the yards after contact. Every week, we look at running backs, running styles. The number of clips we can find to show our guys his running style and the yards after contact, he's just running very angry. You can tell that. I think that's been picked up by our team."

On the importance of getting to Lynch early on a run:

"Yeah, you can see his speed. We showed a couple clips today. The Detroit game, preseason Cleveland — it was a toss on the edge, he went for long yards. Obviously, when he gets going and has some space — and he can create space out of the zone too — he's a guy that attacks the edges, he'll run through the middle. We've got to confine that space. Setting the edge is going to be really important just to try not to let him get going because we're going to need everybody to get him down."

On the importance of tackling against Lynch's running style:

"I think he runs so strong and has the ability to use the stiff arm, so I think we've been talking — we haven't each week, but the tackling plan. What is effective and what doesn't work with his style."

On moving S Derwin James around:

"Yeah, I mean, we move him around quite a bit I guess if you look at the past couple games. To get different looks at our offense maybe in coverage-wise, putting it all together — where is he going to be and where are some of our other guys going to be?"

On using Derwin James as a bandit:

"We have in the past and at times, he'll be that guy."

On DT Corey Liuget:

"He came back and was excited to be back. He's got fresh legs, you can tell that. So he's obviously been working out pretty heavily over this timeframe. It was great to see him come back. His attitude's great, his work ethic is great, and he's in shape ready to go."

On if Liuget could start on Sunday:

"You know what? We haven't talked about that, but you should see him play."

On defensive third down situations:

"That's a good point. If you look at last week, there was that long drive that they had. We played man coverage, we played zone coverage, we played pressure. We did some other things to mix it up, trying to find out what would be effective. So I felt like we were getting pressure on the quarterback, and he did a good job getting rid of it and made some timely throws. So I think we just need to look at how can we play even tighter coverage. I think there are going to be times of that. Obviously, we're a pretty heavy zone team, so we've got to tighten up our zone coverage. There is a lot of space. I think now if you're looking at teams, they're really utilizing the whole field. With that at times, there are some windows when you play zone coverage, so you hope your rush can get there so that there's not a long period of time to see those windows."

On if Derwin James playing multiple positions has slowed his playing speed down:

"I would say, no, it hasn't. I've been really impressed with him. I know that was a question during training camp, but there is nothing that's come up that tells me we're overloading him. I don't sense that at all with him. If you put some different things in, some different looks, he's quick to pick it up. He understands why and he's still playing fast with it."

On if Derwin James has traits of Seahawks S Earl Thomas and former S Kam Chancellor:

"Well, I don't know. It's always really hard to compare. I think when you look at Derwin, he's very explosive — and I think his instincts, he's a very instinctive player. So when you watch tape or on the field, boy, you really feel the speed. He's fast in the first place, but I think that playing speed feels fast. It's hard to compare them because at times they're different in how they play the position — but both of those two, I hope he has a lot of qualities of those two because that means he's going to have a great career."

On how Derwin James' quickness helps when rushing the passer:

"I think we look at trying to utilize everybody's skill set. On third down is what you're talking about. So I think we look at our guys, see what they can do well and try to put them in those positions the best as possible. So he's a guy that can cover pretty well. He can pressure pretty well and he can play the middle third pretty well. So I think if you're talking about him utilizing his skill set, but we've got other guys that have great skill sets, too. I think we've got to look at the big picture."

On Raiders QB Derek Carr:

"You know what? I think with him, with the run game when it's really going, it helps him. I think what stands out is his completion percentage. I mean, he is completing a lot of passes. If you just pull up the games and put up completions, you see a lot of completions in a row where he's rolling. So I think he's No. 1 in the AFC in completion percentage right now and it shows up over 70 percent. So when he has time and is in a rhythm he's been very, very effective. I think he's been playing very effective. I'm sure there are a few in the Miami game that he looks at, there were interceptions he wishes he had back, but overall, he's playing at a high level."

On S Jaheel Addae playing more free safety:

"With Jahleel, he's playing both now. You'll see him in the box. You'll see him in the back end and I think that you're seeing that. With both those safeties, they should be interchangeable and have the flexibility to do that. So the disadvantage of it is you've got to split time and working on both of the techniques. Last year with [Cardinals S] Tre [Boston], he was a complete free safety and worked on those techniques over and over again. We're putting more on Jahleel's plate now."

On the safeties having a lot on their plate:

"Yeah, both Jahleel and [S Adrian] AP [Phillips] — both of those guys because the versatility that they give us and the flexibility. When you move Derwin [James] around, you're moving other people around. So it falls on their plate, but that's what you appreciate about those guys. Not only are they good players, but intelligent players and it gives us that flexibility."

On how the Raiders offense has changed since last season:

"Well, I mean, the tight end. I think how involved the tight end is. [Raiders TE Jared Cook] is a big man, [which helps with] his yards after contact. They have no issues dumping it down to him. There was a third-and-12, and I think they dumped it to him at five yards, and he got the first down because he is such a physical presence. You talk about tackling and playing for Marshawn [Lynch], him as well. So I think they're utilizing him. I think they're really spreading the ball around. They've had multiple times where guys have had 100-yard games receiving, and it might be different guys each week. So just the ability to spread it around, utilizing the tight end and running game and how it's going. There is a reason why they're second in yardage in the NFL. 


On what he has seen on tape from the Raiders:

"[They're a high-powered offense. A good offense."

On Raiders RB Marshawn Lynch:

"He'll just try to run through your face over and over again. You've got to try running through his face over and over again."

On if he knows Lynch:


On what Lynch is like:

"He's a great guy, great guy, man. We had a couple conversations and he just he's a great person who loves the game of football, and he plays it that way."

On Lynch joining the Raiders:

"That's where he's from. I was happy to see him. When you get a chance to play against a caliber player like that, man, it's a blessing."

On Raiders QB Derek Carr:

"He's a great quarterback and it's showing. They're completing a high percentage of their balls. The offense is rolling. It just shows what type of player and type of leader he is."

On S Derwin James:

"Yeah, great player, man. One of the best rookies I've ever seen. Really just coming in and making an impact from day one, really. We never gave him the spot. He earned it and he showed why he deserves to be there."

On being 2-2:

"We're trying to go out there and stack a couple wins in a row, really. We've got one last week, a tough win. We're trying to just stack them up."

On how the grit shown in last week's win can provide momentum:

"Every game's going to be like that in this league. It's the NFL. So isn't one team that's clearly the best team. Any given Sunday, you can lose, Any given Sunday, you can win. So it's hard in this league. We went out and got a gritty win last week and we're going to try to stack up another one."

On the atmosphere at ROKiT Field at StubHub Center:

"You just know there are people. You don't know how many fans you have out there and how many fans they have out there. That isn't going to affect how we play."

On how loud the stadium is:

"It's just the stadium is loud. That's all you know."

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