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, Defensive Coordinator Patrick Graham talked about the win and the state of the franchise.
You can watch the entire press conference below, and read the transcript as well:
Defensive Coordinator Patrick Graham
Q: Coming off a win, how important is it to say to the players, you can trust the process, to show that what we're doing is working?
Coach Graham: “The most important thing, you know this league is week to week, when you get that win, it’s a chance and an opportunity for the guys to see the reward for their hard work. Nothing solidifies that in terms of trusting the process than wins. I was just so happy for the players to get a W on the road against a division opponent, against a tough team; whether it's dealing with the quarterback, dealing with their defense, dealing with the running game. I was just happy for those guys to get a win. I'm sure you’d have to talk to the players individually for what it means for them in terms of the process. But anytime you could get a win on the road in the division, it's a positive, and we could build off of that."
Q: Jerry Tillery, it felt like had a presence about him on Sunday. How much did it help a guy like Bilal Nichols, to have somebody that can get up the field the way he can?
Coach Graham: "I think just Jerry, when he walks in the room, he has a presence, because he's 6-foot-5, a big man. And I think you have to talk to Bilal, but just watching the tape, Jerry, he came in and did some things for us, some positives. Right now, he's working hard to learn the defense and see where he fits in, in terms of helping us. But any time you get an infusion of a good player, it's a positive. He did some positive things out there and still has some stuff to learn, and we're working with that. I'm sure he's in the building talking to Frank [Okam] right now. But again, when you get the win, it seems like it was positive."
Q: In the locker room, you have a big body receiver Mack Hollins who you guys have to go up against in practice. How does a guy like Mack Hollins prepare you to go up against DK Metcalf?
Coach Graham: “Mack, again, a good player. I would say I don't like getting into the comparison thing, but in terms of size, Metcalf presents some issues. Just in terms of his ability to make plays down the field, the speed, the rare combination of size and speed. The ability to be a point of attack blocker in the run game, his toughness that shows up on tape, the ability to stiff arm. Everything that he does, he does at a high level. I think, again, we get a chance to go against some pretty good players in practice all the time too, whether it was training camp or even now when we have competitive periods. I don't want to get into the comparison thing, but Metcalf presents some problems, and he's not the only one. They got a few receivers out there. The tight ends are a problem. Shane [Waldron] has got a stable of guys who he could go to in terms of the run and the pass game. That's why they are where they are at right now, fifth in the league in points. They're running the ball well, they're passing the ball well, the O-line is coming together with the two rookies on the outside, veteran center inside, the guards are stout. So, they got some weapons. It's going to be a challenge."
Q: Is what Tyler Hall ended up doing on the field on Sunday a carryover of what you guys were seeing in practice from him?
Coach Graham: “They earned the time on Sunday through practice. He's been diligent. He's working hard in terms of studying, all the extra time studying. His skill set: he's sticky in coverage, he has physicality. He showed up in the run game. I know statistically, everybody wants to talk about the sack. But the play that stuck out the most to me was the two-yard gain on the run when he filled in the B-gap. That's what we look for in terms of Dave [Zeigler] and Josh [McDaniels] as they put the roster together; defensive backs who are tough, physical, and who can tackle. That showed up from him, and it was encouraging to see."
Q: What message does that send to practice squad players, saying: ‘We see what you're doing over there, and you can get rewarded for the work that you put in?’
Coach Graham: “Well, the program that Dave [Zeigler] and Josh [McDaniels] have put together, that's evident from first day. You’re playing time is earned on the practice field, no matter who you are. Coach [McDaniels] talks about it all the time. So, I think the message is there before Sunday. But again, the guys know that's the way the program is built. Your efforts, your production, it gets rewarded, and that's the carrot in front of them."
Q: Have you ever had a player like Maxx Crosby who can do so many different things on any given play?
Coach Graham: "Again, not getting into the comparison thing, but I've been very fortunate in my career to coach some really good players. Maxx is different for a number of reasons, but again, I've had the great opportunity to coach a lot of good players. Guys who might not even stick out to you. I've seen them dominate games from the nose tackle position, and got a chance to coach them, whether its [Damon] ‘Snacks’ Harrison, or I talked about Vince Wilfork. I've seen Vince dominate a game from the nose tackle position. I’ve seen ‘Snacks’ do the same thing. And then JPP [Jason Pierre-Paul], I had the opportunity to be around him, a great player. So, again, Maxx is unique in his own way. His motor in terms of how relentless he is, and that really comes down to his conditioning. His knack of get his hands on the ball, whether it's the forced fumble, the blocked field goal, the sacks. I mean, he’s a great player to be around."
Q: I know you guys have been shuffling in and out players in the defensive backfield. What are some of the things that you guys can do this week going against Tyler Lockett and DK Metcalf to kind of eliminate the big plays?
Coach Graham: “Stay deep, I guess. That’s one, stay deep. I mean, I think what you want to do is, again, it all ties together, whether it's the pass rush. … Well, first it starts with stopping the run, that's what you want to try to do. Because if they could do both run and pass, and feel comfortable about that, that's where the issues come into play. Then you start over-playing for the run and they run behind you. So, you've got to do a good job starting there. Controlling the line of scrimmage, that's the main thing there. And then from there, just in terms of whether you mix up the coverages or just try to do what you think is best to take away their top weapons. But again, when you're dealing with a team that has an offensive line that can block and they're gelling together, they have two backs who can run the ball and they can catch the ball as well. The tight ends are an issue. Again, we're in the beginning stages of getting the game-plan together, so right now the answer would be stay deep. But I'm sure we'll have some more off of that."
Q: If you have Nate Hobbs back, how much does that help and what does he bring to the defense?
Coach Graham: "I don't know what the situation is right now. Again, I'm never going to say we don't want good players on the field. You can talk to coach about that, I don't know what's going on with that yet."
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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