HENDERSON, Nev.--The Las Vegas Raiders found themselves with their first win of the season on Sunday. But, they don't have time to enjoy it.
The Silver and Black head to Kansas City to take on the Chiefs on Monday Night Football next week, and they have already moved on.
DC Patrick Graham reviewed the film of the game versus the Denver Broncos, he gave his analysis and looked ahead to this week's opponent, the aforementioned Kansas City Chiefs.
You can watch the entire press conference below, and read the transcript:
Defensive Coordinator Patrick Graham
Q: Is there a different feeling after winning to try to come in and work?
Coach Graham: “It always feels good to win. The big thing though about this league is you just got to move on to the next opponent, especially for this week with Kansas City coming up. A division game, on the road. I would be lying to you if my focus didn’t shift that night to Kansas City, but definitely enjoyed the win. Really happy for the players. All the hard work they put in and the reward they get on Sunday when they get a victory, that’s probably the biggest enjoyment I get out of my job, seeing those guys smile and be happy after putting in all the hard work. And then the coaches too, the assistant coaches and all the work they put in, I’m just happy that we were able to get the win.”
Q: Did you watch the Sunday Night game between the Chiefs and Buccaneers when you got home?
Coach Graham: “Absolutely. When I finally got home, watched the game. Plus, I enjoy watching football, so when football is on, I’m usually watching it. You can catch me on a Friday night if there’s a high school game, I’m watching football. I just love the game. It’s given me so much in my life and so anytime it’s on I usually enjoy watching it.”
Q: When Patrick Mahomes makes the play where he runs to the sideline and spins back into the field and flips it into the end zone, are you enjoying that as a football fan?
Coach Graham: “Oh, no. I’m not enjoying it. No, I mean it’s a good football play. I have a lot of respect for Patrick just in terms of how he came into the league, how much he’s improved over time. I’ve gone against him I think twice and it’s just amazing the growth that you’ve seen over the years in terms of to be arguably the best player in the league, his ability to make plays in the run game and in the passing game, the decision-making out there, the ability to play under pressure. He’s been in a lot of pressure games for such a young age, and just the ability to run the offense that Coach [Andy] Reid has out there. Again, arguably one of the best coordinators ever and one of the best head coaches ever. His ability to navigate through all that and be at such a young age, it’s pretty astounding.”
Q: Can you talk a little bit about your relationship with Blake Martinez? Have you seen him yet?
Coach Graham: “I did not see him this morning, but we go back to I believe it was 2018 at Green Bay. I met him and I think it was his third year as a linebacker in the league and really our relationship grew from there. I was coaching linebackers, that was first time back coaching linebackers since 2015, and just got a good chance to grow with him. Me as a coach, him as a player. Again, he’s one of the smartest guys I’ve ever been around. He works extremely hard and just developed a great relationship so when the opportunity came in New York, we got a chance to sign him there. He did a great job for me in terms of running the defense, echoing the message from the coaching staff and I just got a lot of respect for him. I got a lot of respect for him as a player, but more importantly as a man. Just to see his growth as he’s gotten older, that’s one of the benefits of our job is you get to see these young men grow up on and off the field. And so, we’ve always stayed close, even when I left Green Bay, we stayed close. When I left the Giants, we stayed close. So, just really proud of him and his development as a man.”
Q: Last week, you said, ‘I’m a teacher. I just happen to teach football,’ and you talked about Sam Webb and how some players are still learning how to be in a classroom. Can you talk a little bit about teaching and what it means to you? And maybe who your role models are, whether it’s football or not?
Coach Graham: “Early on – my parents are going to get a kick out of this – my parents were ministers at a church and did missionary work and a lot of stuff when we were kids. And I was teaching Sunday school from about 12 years old. I had to do a sermon when I was like 14. So, that teacher role has always been a part of me, and I think I was trying to run and hide from it. I wanted to be in the CIA at one point and then I wanted to go into business, and then I just found my teacher role and I just happened to coach football doing it. It’s really the enjoyment I get in my life in terms of seeing people get something, have success doing it, that’s what my fulfillment in my life. So, to be able to do it with a sport that’s given me so much over my life, whether it’s going to college or whether it’s traveling the world. I’ve been to England whatever many times to go see football games. I get to meet all these interesting people I never would have met. Randy Moss, I get to talk to Randy Moss. I remember watching him. Just the craziness there, but I get a lot of enjoyment from teaching, and I get a lot of enjoyment from teaching football. Just like teaching my kids stuff. My daughter doesn’t think I know math. I still remember math; I took up to differential equations. That’s a pretty high level, so she doesn’t believe I still know math, but I got it. I might not know the new methods of how to get to the answer, but I know how to get to the answer. And then with Sam [Webb], you got the younger players and it’s just a different level of football, and the thing they got to understand is, now you don’t have the distraction of classwork. You are on your own. The schedule is on your own a little bit. The guys got to learn how to study and be pros about it, and I think he's doing a good job. He’s attacking it the right way. He’s asking questions. And that happens with a lot of young players and it’s always fun to see that development.”
Q: Does the coach in you look back at the younger you and wished you could have coached yourself?
Coach Graham: “Oh, absolutely. As a player, I was a bad player so I’d probably would have been angry dealing with me as a player, but just the younger coach in terms of the level of detail. And I learned that through the coaches I had in my career, whether it was Walt Hamline, Dave Clawson who is at Wake Forest now, Bill [Belichick] obviously at New England, Matt Patricia, Pepper Johnson, all these guys they helped me develop in terms of being a coach, and I would say also the players. I learned how to study from a lot of the players too, so I’m always open to listening to those guys right there.”
Q: How different is it to prepare for a quarterback like Patrick Mahomes?
Coach Graham: “Because he’s such a good player. Again, there is a lot of good players in this league and he’s at such an elite status in terms of his ability to perform under pressure, make plays within the system, make plays on loose play. It’s a difficult challenge and I think our preparation for each week, we try to attack it brand new each week whoever the opponent is and try to see what they do best, how can we take it away, who are they going to in certain situations? But he just presents so many problems and so many issues, it’s challenging. It’s going to be a big challenge on Monday night. We look forward to it, that’s why we got into this business.”
Q: A lot of time players in their mind are like, if a quarterback is running this way, he’s not going to be able to flip the field. Do the players have to play differently when they are attacking Patrick Mahomes differently?
Coach Graham: “To me, everybody is at the point of attack. You talk about point of attack, and you might be thinking about right or left side, but everybody is at the point of attack with all their skill players, the running backs, the receivers. I mean, they can go anywhere. They are a skilled group, pretty dynamic. You saw Sunday night; their guys can make plays. They can start on the right side and end up on the left side and make plays, so everybody is at the point of attack. We got to do a good job of leveraging the field and make sure we are leveraging the formations, but again, we talk about that all the time with most teams, but they just have a lot of guys out there that could present issues.”
Q: What kind of a challenge does Travis Kelce present?
Coach Graham: “I mean, an extreme challenge because whether it’s in the passing game, third down, red area, early down; he’s making plays all over the field. And he’s done it for his whole career, so there is a track record of that, and what you got to do is figure out what your best plan is to try to help minimize it. I mean, you’re not going to stop him all the way. He’s too good of a player, but you got to try to minimize. Again, he’s fun to watch, and I think he plays with a certain joy or energy that you really look at and say, ‘I like this guy.’ Because he plays football. He enjoys being out there with his teammates and playing the game, and I respect that.”
Q: You have had your depth challenged in the secondary with injuries. How do you feel they responded?
Coach Graham: “Like they are supposed to, they’re professionals. Next man up. Nobody cares, nobody is going to say, ‘Oh, we feel bad for the Raiders.’ No, so next man up and come in there and play. And I think guys last week, they challenged themselves and they went out there and they performed, and we got the victory. It will be the same thing this week, next week and whatever week it comes up, it’s next man up and let’s go.”
Q: Mick Lombardi said that having a good week of practice is almost more important mentally than the game you just played. Is that kind of the same thing for the defense?
Coach Graham: “Well, I learned a long time ago, practice execution becomes game reality. So, that’s an important part of our process and for me as a coach for me to be able to sleep at night and feel comfortable, yes, we would like for practice to be good. That’s an important part or we end up having really, really late nights that nobody cares about, but I’m just saying, you want practice to be good. And you feel more comfortable going into the game if practice is going well, so that’s a big part of what we do.”
The Las Vegas Raiders return to action next Sunday, as they play host at Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas to their AFC rivals the Denver Broncos. That game kicks off at 1:25 p.m. PDT and can be seen on CBS.
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