Bradley on the Defense's Mentality: "Get the Ball and Score"

Sports Xchange

Opening Statement:

“I'd like to start by saying as an organization, as a staff, the players, we're deeply saddened by the news that came out this morning about Thousand Oaks. Our thoughts and prayers are with the loved ones and the victims. Just a sad, sad tragedy, and the first responders — my dad was a highway patrolman, so whenever you see situations like that where they're involved, you come to appreciate things that take place and how important those people are. Just want to make sure I address that first. Secondly, the Raiders — they're doing some good things offensively. You see it in spurts. You know, like the Indianapolis game, I think when you look at [Raiders QB Derek] Carr, I think he completed 16 or 17 passes in a row, and they had the ability to put up a lot of points just like you've seen throughout the season. So I think the key to them is when they get into a rhythm and they're rolling, they come in bunches. Yards come in bunches, and his accuracy, I think he's still the second-leading quarterback as far as completion percentage in the league. So you see the accuracy, you see the timing, you see the rhythm and they have some good skill players. That part of it is — we all understand that. The running game is a little bit different than with [RB] Marshawn [Lynch], so it's more of it by committee, although [RB Doug] Martin you see, and I know how strongly they feel about him. They feel like he is really a franchise-type running back, and you see him on tape do some really good things, as well. The big thing for them is once they build a rhythm and confidence and they get rolling, it can take off really quickly. That's the challenge with this — we go into every game, stopping the run is very important to us, and try to eliminate some of these big plays that are going on. I think last week we did a better job with that coming out of the bye week, and this week will be no different.”

On CB Michael Davis starting last week in place of CB Trevor Williams:

“Well, I think there's a couple things. One, it wasn't that Trevor was playing bad. He was doing some good things. I think when we watched practice and you try to reward guys with opportunities when you see it on the practice field, and Michael is a guy that we've seen it on the practice field week in and week out where he's being very competitive, and we felt like he needed a chance to play. He's rolled in some games prior to last week, but last week we gave him the opportunity to start.”

On if Davis will start again this week:


On Davis’ physical traits:

“I think that's a big part of it. You know, his flat-out speed is elite. He's got really good speed. I think the toughness on the perimeter and the corner, we ask a lot of our corners as far as getting involved in the run game, and that part we didn't see as consistently as we needed. Michael is the type of guy that would put together his tackling tape and then come in and sit with the coaches and says, ‘Alright, let's go through this.’ So I think he identified that it was a weakness on his part and really tried to attack it because he probably wouldn't get on the field unless he improves there. Then we saw it on special teams. We saw his toughness and his ability to make plays on special teams, and it kind of filtered over into the defensive side, so he's becoming a more consistent, willing tackler.”

On Davis’ performance:

“He did good. You know, he gave up the deep one, but even the last play, he competed. He fought all the way through it, and that play I think best shows what he's all about. What we've seen in practice, there might be times where he wasn't quite on top in the perfect situation, but he competed all the way through the end of the play just like that play that took place.”

On CB Desmond King II:

“Yeah, Des is very unique to us because of his ability — you know, he's playing a little bit more man coverage now for us, and he's taking on that. He is a guy that, at times when you look at coverage, we had a conversation as coaches, sometimes when you play things so much, when you watch on tape, there's tweaks that take place. The players know it so well, that they do different things, and it looks like, I don't know if that's single-high safety zone coverage, but they know it so well, and they can anticipate. We're starting to see more of that with Des, where he's anticipating, and he's making plays. There's a couple plays that took place in the game that he really — it wasn't really his responsibility, but he identified it and played a pass and eliminated a big play for us. So I think he's becoming more versed in the defense. He understands it. We're challenging him more with more man coverage, and that's the next step for him.”

On if King is more consistent than he was a season ago:

“Yes. You know, he's always been a really physical type player, attack mode, a guy that can tackle in space with some of our principles that we use in our zone coverages. I think the evolution where it's more consistent and having more awareness I think might be the biggest statement for him.”

On King as a blitzer:

“Yeah, that's not — I think that we'll continue. He is a good blitzer, so I think in different packages based on the week and team that we're going against, we'll utilize their skill set. He is a good blitzer, so I won't say that he'll never blitz again.”

On the pass rush picking up despite the absence of DE Joey Bosa:

“Well, I think a big credit — I think with us, we were struggling with the run initially and [Defensive Line Coach] Giff [Smith] did a great job as far as personnel placement. I think you see that [NT Damion] Square is playing a lot more end for us and I think that has helped tremendously, and then the evolution of [LB] Uhenna [Nwosu], getting him involved. In our situation, we have some players. Now it's just positioning them in opportunities to make plays, and I think a lot of credit goes to Giff with that and the players being flexible, and that started way back in OTAs. We kind of drafted Uchenna with that in mind, that he could play an outside linebacker and a rusher, and because of injuries he's just getting more reps now. Now, I think [S] Derwin [James] has rushed, [S] Jahleel [Addae] rushed and got a sack, so I think you've got to be creative and do some different things to help your rush.”

On the pass rush and coverage units improving together:

“Rush and cover, that's our saying. Rush and cover work together, so if you can affect the quarterback and force some bad decisions — last week was a huge play because not only an interception, we talk in terms of the defense that we're defined by our ability to get the ball and score. It's not just by our ability to get the ball, but it's more that mindset. Third down, hey, we're looking to get a third down stop — no, we're looking to get the ball. It's more that mentality. So I think that mentality, the players have really bought into. I think the ability to get some pressure and then the coverage being tight enough to where you have opportunities to make plays.”

On the confidence of the defense:

“Well, in our meetings we talk always in terms of we need this game. We need to go to Cleveland and stay there for a week and then go to London. We need this experience. We need this to take place with us. Okay, now we come back. Hey, we need to go up to Seattle, we need this experience, what this is going to bring to us, and play a very good team in a hostile environment. So let's go see can we amp it up and play to that level. Now we're coming back, and we need this game, too, because hey, it's another road game for us in a hostile environment, and we need to play better. There are some areas that we need to improve on. So it's that mindset that we really need these opportunities to help us get where we want to go.”

On the having back-to-back games with late defensive stands to win:

“Boy, that's a good question. You hope that you're not in those situations at the end of a game in either one of them, but you know, I think by team it's different, and really what their philosophy is going into it. You look at first and second down, you look at third down in the red zone, and then towards the end of the week you look at ‘gotta have it,’ situations. It might be, hey, it's fourth-and-four on the 50-yard line. What's your call, what are you going to be in? I think our staff, we look at those situations throughout, and we move right down the field in doing that, and there's been some situations, hey, it's the last play of the game on the 20, it's the last play of the game on the six, it's the last play of the game on the one, and go through that. Now, I mentioned last week that [Head Coach] Anthony [Lynn] puts us in those situations in practice, which I've never been a part of. I thought that was great. You did it in OTAs and training camp, but during the season. So I think that guys can recall from being in those situations, and again, it allows them to play fast, like we've been here. We just had this situation in practice. Now let's go do what we do, and it's more that mentality.”




Jason B. Hirschhorn