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Raiders' Josh McDaniels Monday Recap of Win Over Broncos

After watching the film of the Las Vegas Raiders' win over the Denver Broncos, moments ago Josh McDaniels offered his analysis.

HENDERSON, Nev.--The Las Vegas Raiders (3-7) are back in the win column after completing a sweep of the Denver Broncos on Sunday.

Moments ago, Josh McDaniels talked about the win and the state of the franchise.

You can watch the entire press conference below, and read the transcript as well:

Head Coach Josh McDaniels

Opening Statement: "Well, good to come in after a win and talk about watching the film and some of the things that we see after a game like yesterday. Again, like I said after the game, proud of the effort of our team. Obviously had to play four quarters and then some to get it done. Anytime you win on the road in your division, it's not an easy thing to do. It's a good team and they do a lot of things to make things difficult on you. I thought we really showed up and played one of our better games in the kicking game all year. I know Daniel [Carlson] missed the one kick but kicked-off very well and gave our coverage units an opportunity to cover inside the 20, which we made a bunch of tackles inside the 20-yard line. AJ [Cole] pinned them inside the 10 on his first punt, which I thought was a good situational play there to put them on a long field. Ameer [Abdullah] had some returns there in the kickoff return game that I thought were helpful in terms of putting us in good field position to start our drives. Got a lot of young guys out there playing big roles in the kicking game and I thought they showed up and did some good things. Defensively, we gave up the first drive and then really, I thought we kind of settled down and kind of got into the game holding them to nine points the rest of the game. Made some key plays when we needed to, some key stops. We kind of made some adjustments. Pat [Patrick Graham] and his staff did a good job of making some adjustments on some things that hurt us early in the game and our guys were able to do that and make the changes on the fly. And offensively, hung in there. I thought we missed a few opportunities but ran it enough. JJ [Josh Jacobs] pounded out over 100 yards again. We had the change on the offensive line there and thought they represented themselves fairly well and (they) only got the one sack. Derek [Carr] got the ball out of his hands for the most part and were able to make enough plays there in the two-minute at the very end to tie it. And then made a few crucial plays there at the end to win it. So, again, always good to win. Even better when it's in the division on the road."

Q: You mentioned punting on the first drive. Was it just a field position thing?

Coach McDaniels: "Yeah, that was it. We know he (Daniel Carlson) could try it from there. I was just weighing the pros and cons of for some reason we don't make it. I'm probably as guilty of anything of when we send him out there, we're thinking it's automatic. But I just was thinking, ‘Okay, 56, 57-yarder right off the bat and if for some reason we miss it, they got the ball at midfield to start the game.’ I thought AJ punted it where we wanted him to punt it. So, you're hoping to play the percentages there and it's hard to drive the ball 93 yards in the NFL. Unfortunately, they did. But that was the thinking."

Q: When Davante Adams is on, how unguardable is he?

Coach McDaniels: “I've mentioned a few other guys that I've coached that are pretty good, and he's a unique player. Very difficult no matter where you put him. I think the thing that makes Davante very special is just up here (mentally), he can think, process, understand the way he's being covered, the way people are playing him, leverage, route technique, setting up his routes, doing a lot of different things that allow him to get open and be special. I think sometimes when young players come into the league, they think it's all skill and talent. And that's part of the equation, there's no question. But I think the other part that he's really mastered is his ability to set people up. He's got great savvy and instincts, great awareness. Like the last play, I mean, that doesn't happen if he doesn't set it up the right way and really get the corner leaning to go across the field, but he understands that. He's a special player. He really is."

Q: Like he said before; he's not the biggest, he's not the fastest. But in terms of the total package, it just seems like he’s got it?

Coach McDaniels: "He's got good speed. He's got really good quickness. He's got incredible hands. It's just the whole thing. And like I said, just his ability to, I'd say, really get good at the other part of the game – the mental part of the game. The play after play, ‘What's that guy thinking I’m going to do? And I've used this, I've showed him that stem before. So, now let me counter it with something else.' He can play the game within the game, which really just takes you to a whole new level."

Q: Besides saying Maxx Crosby has a high-motor, can you talk about him?

Coach McDaniels: “He has an incredible knack for making the right play. I mean, that's what that was. I mean, the fumble, he targeted the ball in traffic and then got it out. And that was a really, really good play on Maxx's part. I wish we would have recovered the ball there. I mean, that's what I think we were all trying to do there. But he was really aware in that situation; down inside the low red zone, kind of needing a stop, or needing a play to be made there against the guy that had had fumbled before somewhere in that vicinity. So, I think he was just in the moment on that one and then got his hand right up in the line of flight on the kick. But I think none of those plays happen without his effort. If he wasn't playing his butt off on every single snap, those things wouldn't happen. And he's blocked sometimes and then gets off the block and chases the play down. I think he doesn't get enough credit. Everyone sees him play hard, but that's why he's around so many plays and has a chance to make them is because he just plays at an elite level relative to his effort on every snap."

Q: With how comfortable Derek Carr looked going up tempo there in the two-minute, was that something you guys would consider going to at different parts of the game as well?

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Coach McDaniels: “We certainly could. It's something we weigh, honestly, every week. And we've done it off and on. We did it against Denver in the first game. We've done it at different times. I think more than anything else, it's kind of predicated on our personnel – what are the match-ups like, how does it affect the defense. In two minute, it's really different than doing it in the first quarter. I mean, two minute you have to push the ball down the field basically to try to create a scoring opportunity for yourself because you just don't have enough time. Doing it in the first quarter is a little different. So, how fast? what kind of tempo? All those things are something we should consider, and we have. But he definitely is comfortable doing it. I think our depth at all the positions also factors into how much you want to do that. Because if you're only playing a single tight end…I mean, J.J. played almost the entire game other than a handful of snaps with Ameer, three receivers; just how many plays do you want to do that because our guys got a little tired yesterday, there's no question. The receivers especially got a little winded in the altitude."

Q: Going back to Maxx Crosby, he blocks that field goal and that's just a straight effort play. You don't show a ton of emotion on the sideline, but even you fist pumped when he did that. What kind of juice does that give the team going into the locker room?

Coach McDaniels: “We've talked about that a lot. We work on that every week. And literally we work on the actual act of blocking them. Now, the punter and kicker don't like to do it because they get the ball. But we actually go through it because it's different than you think. The first time we started doing it in practice, the guys would close their eyes and look away, like something's going to hit him in the face. They've got a helmet on. And so, they've actually now gotten more comfortable doing the drills and we've talked a lot about it. I'm not sure there's a play in football that creates that kind of energy. When you block a punt, when you block a field goal, I mean, it's like a complete shift in the momentum. And we know how big of a play it is, and if you actually get a punt block, that's a huge one because now you have a chance to score. So, I think our team has completely bought into the effort that we need on those plays because it's not easy to get them. It isn't, I mean, there's not that many blocked every week in the National Football League. But if you can get one, man, does it change the game. And I think our sideline actually reacted that way because we've actually talked about it. Like, 'If we get one of these, you're going to see it on the sideline.' And it did. We had some energy at halftime because I think that swing was important to us."

Q: Throughout the season, you talk so much about how the players earn their playing time through practice. Tyler Hall was a guy that was elevated the day before the game, and he performed well on gameday. What was it that you saw from him in practice that led to that?

Coach McDaniels: “Yeah, he's very competitive in practice. We've had him on the show team. He does a really good job of playing his leverage. He's quick and sticky in coverage. He's tough. And he has good speed. And so, I think for him, it was just a matter of having opportunities to learn our defense, understand his role in the defense, understand his role in the kicking game. He was out there, he played gunner a couple snaps too. So, just earned it through what he did in practice. We give those young guys opportunities at the end of every practice to go one-on-one, and he's honed his technique and improved each week that he's been here and earned his opportunity yesterday. I thought he made the most of his opportunities when he was in the game.”

Q: Especially being shorthanded at receiver, how valuable was Josh Jacobs yesterday?

Coach McDaniels: “He's very valuable. He's a really, really good player, and in every aspect. I've said this before, but to me, one of the most impressive things about him is he never asks to come out of the game. And I've coached for a while, and that's a tough position to play and never come out because you're getting hit a lot and you get banged around and guys are falling on you and all the rest of it. And he's got this incredible football endurance about him. He runs in there, he takes a bunch of hits, he doesn't even look to the sideline. Honestly, it took me a few weeks to get used to that because you're normally thinking you’re going to be subbing backs pretty regularly. I'm used to that from my recent past where we used a lot of different backs, but this guy just gives us such a high level of confidence in him and never appears to be winded or tired. Honestly, I think gets better as the game goes on. So, we're really fortunate to have this guy. He's a really good football player.”

Q: I know you touched on a little bit, but to win on the road and execute in every key situation, especially after how this last month has been. From a morale standpoint, what kind of lift do you feel like that gives everybody going into the homestretch of the rest of the season?

Coach McDaniels: “We've talked about this a lot. We've been in a lot of games, and we've been right there in the end with an opportunity to win them. We're throwing it into the end zone the week before in Indianapolis and who knows, one of the weeks we come up with one of those and it's the same feeling we had yesterday. I think it was just really good for our players because they’ve put themselves in positions to have chances and so to be able to come through in the clutch, and it was really all three phases. It was special teams; it was the defense making a critical stop. It was the offense maybe having an opportunity in the two-minute to help us tie the game and then eventually score, and kickoff return starting the whole thing. So, all three phases contributed to it, and they've earned the right to feel good. It was great for our team I think to feel that feeling and now you know you can do it. You know you can win one at the end, when it's tight and close and you need some people to step up and really do their job, and I think that's what our team did.”

Q: Now that you've gotten through those AFC West teams as the head coach, what's the biggest rivalry to the Raiders that you get a sense of just from the reactions of the players and fans?

Coach McDaniels: “I don't want to say the wrong thing here. All of them. I'll tell you, they're all interesting. Look. there's some vitriol here for all three teams. I mean, that's just natural because we're in the same division. And by nature, you're just not supposed to like the other team. You know what I mean? And so, I think that you can definitely feel it against Denver. There's no question about it. So, yesterday it was Denver. In a couple of weeks, it'll be the Chargers, and then we'll finish with Kansas City. So, I think our team approaches the division games the right way. I think they're aware of the significance of playing these teams that we know we have to beat them. We have to beat them if we want to get to where we want to go eventually, and the competition is significant. The players on the other teams are really good. The coaching staffs are really good. And now we've played in all three environments, and they've all been really good. You know what I mean? So, I just think our team really responds well to going on the road and being the kind of the only, ‘Hey, it's us, and the smattering of Raider fans that are always there. It's us, and we got to go and do it on our own.’ I really liked their mindset of our team yesterday. The rivalries are significant, they are. And the Chargers will be the next one when we get to him, but the focus is on Seattle right now.”

The Raiders' game on Sunday is in Seattle and kicks off at 4:05 p.m. EST/1:05 p.m. PST. You can see that game on CBS.

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