HENDERSON, Nev.--The Las Vegas Raiders (0-2) do not have time to feel sorry for themselves after blowing a 20-point lead and losing in overtime to the Arizona Cardinals yesterday.
No one is more acutely aware of that than Coach Josh McDaniels.
Raiders' headman delivered his review of the game after watching the film and moved his attention to the team's next contest.
You can watch the entire press conference below, and read the transcript:
Head Coach Josh McDaniels
Opening Statement: “After reviewing the film, much like we talked about yesterday, had opportunities I’d say in all three phases to really put the game away in the second half and really didn’t take advantage of those. I give credit again to them, they played really hard to grind back to get in the game and then they made the necessary plays, converted a lot of fourth downs, two-point conversions to be able to put the game into overtime. So, give them credit. Their coaching staff did a good job, their players did, and like I said they made one more play than we did. So, we’ll improve. We’ll be able to see a lot from this tape and obviously we are going to need to do that as quickly as we can.”
Q: When you say putting a game away, what does that come down to offensively?
Coach McDaniels: “I wouldn’t say there is one thing. Look, when you get a lead and you have a lead in the second half of an NFL game and you are playing offense, you have to maintain the ability to be aggressive even though the other team is maybe going to do some things to try and get the ball back or create some negative plays or turnovers to try to swing the game back in their favor. You can’t just sit there and say, ‘Let’s run, run, punt,’ and do it that way. Again, it doesn’t mean you can’t run the ball, but you certainly can’t sit there and just hope for the game to be over. You got to play offense, you got to be aggressive, and when you are doing that and the defense is being aggressive at the same time, it’s going to require a lot of people to execute their job well under pressure. And again, I think you grow to that and when you get to that point where you can do that on a continuous basis, you have the ability when you put yourself in that position to put the game away. So, hopefully we will learn from what we see today.”
Q: If you are up 20-0 going into halftime, does it change how you call plays?
Coach McDaniels: “It depends on the time. It depends on the score and the time. If there is 13 minutes to go in the game, I don’t think that’s the time to just kneel on the ball. You have to keep playing, clearly, you saw it yesterday. I’ve been through games where you can always look back and do something a little bit better and that’s no different with me for this one or any game that I’ve called really. You look at it and say, ‘Hey, could we have done something a little better here or there?’ The answer is mostly yes. But at the end of the day, you make a call that your players know how to execute, and we got to go out there and try to do the right thing. We had a lot of good plays, and we are going to need a few more plays in key situations is what we are going to need.”
Q: Any loss like you said, there might be one stop on fourth down, one stop on a two-point conversion; is that what makes it so frustrating that if you do just one of them the outcome is different?
Coach McDaniels: “Any of them. Yeah, it’s the NFL and that’s what makes it the greatest league in the world. I mean, we’ve played two close games to start the season and that’s not abnormal, this league is about close games and who executes well at the end usually give themselves a better chance to win. And so, it’s not surprising that those two games have been tight, it’s two good opponents. We play another one this week coming up, so they are all that way, and it requires you to do hard things well under pressure if you want to win in this league and that’s what we are going to focus on trying to do better.”
Q: With 13 minutes left in the game the offense went three and out. What did you see that went wrong on those three short passes?
Coach McDaniels: “Had good opportunities and they made a couple decent plays there relative to getting their hand on a ball. We had a chance on the first play of the drive to have a chunk play really and I believe it was 94 got his hand on the ball in the middle of the pocket. Again, like I said, we figured they would be coming after us on that drive and they were. They were trying to make it as hard as they could make it. Again, I have confidence in our guys and so want to let them keep playing. We have to learn how to play aggressively with a lead. That’s a mentality. It’s like a boxing match, you are ahead on points after six rounds, you can’t stop throwing punches, you got to keep fighting. And sometimes when you get your team into that mindset that they can maintain their aggression and not put themselves at risk, which that’s totally doable, then they play better, and you just keep the pressure on the other side. You can’t ever feel like, ‘Well, it’s their turn to apply pressure on us and we can’t do anything about it.’ We play offense and so offensively we are going to dictate what personnel grouping is out there and what we end up choosing to do, and the defense has to respond to it. Again, there is always little things you could say, ‘man, I wish I would have done this better or done that. Made a different call here or there.’ But at the end of the day, I think with that much time left, you try to be smart and aggressive at the same time.”
Q: Do you feel like your team came out of the locker room at halftime with the mindset of, ‘Hey, we got to be aggressive and put this game away?’
Coach McDaniels: “I mean, I didn’t look at them and think they had like cashed it in and felt like we were ahead by so many points we couldn’t lose. I did not have that feeling at all. Like I said, it wasn’t like we didn’t play competitively, we did. There’s an art in learning how to finish a game the right way against an opponent who’s going to apply some pressure to try to get back into it. It is what it is. That’s going to happen in every game that you get a lead in, so I think this will be a good film for us to watch. We’ve had two completely different scripts here in the first two weeks. We were behind at halftime by a couple touchdowns and now we are ahead by three and we are going to have to figure out how to learn from both of those and do it better the next time.”
Q: Are you surprised with a 10-win team from last year, that they have to learn how to play aggressively with the lead?
Coach McDaniels: “No. I mean, I think that’s something that each team…every year, every team is different. There is no team that is the same from one year to the next, so whether it will be or somebody else, or these guys, or another team that we’re talking about, each team has to learn how to continue to play and do the right things over and over and over again. The teams that win at the end have to go back through that process. That’s been clear every year. The two teams that were in the championship game last year, they are 1-3 right now. It is what it is, that’s the nature of this league and you don’t ever get a pass like, ‘Hey, we’ll just graduate last year’s process to this year’s process.’ You got to go back through and earn it again, and it starts with me. I don’t get any points for what I’ve done in the past, neither does anybody else and we are going to have to go through these growing pains together and that’s part of the National Football League regular season.”
Q: Do you have any update on Hunter Renfrow?
Coach McDaniels: "I do not have any update yet on Hunter."
Q: Is there room to find more carries in your run game?
Coach McDaniels: "I'd say the big thing for us yesterday was we found ourselves with penalties, which we've kind of stayed away from that. I thought the penalty situation yesterday – we didn't do a great job of keeping ourselves ahead of the down and distance. We had first and 15, second and 15, first and 20, 2nd and 17. And so, those situations themselves can become problematic relative to just being consistent in terms of runs and continuing to run the football. We fully had the right idea there, to do that and establish ourselves in that regard, and I thought JJ [Josh Jacobs] ran hard yesterday. I thought he made some yards on his own, I thought we gave him an opportunity to get started. And we got to do a better job of playing a cleaner game on offense. We had some runs called back too, a couple of big ones that were called back. Our hand placement, where we have our hands, the decisions we make – we had a couple of procedure penalties. So, we just got to clean up our whole operation offensively and stay ahead of the down and distance, and I think the running game will come to us."
Q: What challenges does Titans DT Jeffrey Simmons pose?
Coach McDaniels: "Simmons is a load. We played against him last year. He's a three-down player, for sure. [He] does a great job of being disruptive in the running game, can penetrate and create negative plays, and then is o one of those guys that's an interior pass rusher that you really have to spend a lot of time talking about because he can disrupt your pocket in a hurry. [He's] one of the better interior linemen in the National Football League, I'd say no question about it. So, it'll be a big challenge for us this week."
Q: What did you think of Dylan Parham's first start at center?
Coach McDaniels: "He did a good job with his communication, for the most part. I think that's always number one when you're playing center. I thought he did a good job of helping set the table for his teammates and tried to play physical and aggressive. [He] had a few things that we'll be able to coach technique-wise for him to do better, whether it's protection or in the running game. But I was not disappointed in Dylan Parham at all."
Q: After two games, did you expect more from Chandler Jones?
Coach McDaniels: "No. We had to rush a different way yesterday. That's clearly one thing we needed to do, and we tried to keep him (Kyler Murray) in front of us. He's a very difficult guy to play against, we talked about that last week. When you rush him, and you rush him over-aggressively, bad things can happen. We tried to limit his ability to run and make a bunch of loose plays as much as we could. I know when we got tired there at the very end of the fourth quarter, he extended a few plays. But we asked our guys to do a certain thing yesterday, I thought they tried to do it the right way and had some production even so. But no, I'm not worried about that. Chandler -- this isn’t the first time he's gone two games without a sack."
Q: Were you rushing more guys in the first half and then kind of backed off a little bit?
Coach McDaniels: "It was about the same. I mean, we had a couple where we were rushing five, a couple we were rushing three. We mixed it up pretty well yesterday in terms of overall. But it wasn't one thing or another."
Q: Is there a fine line between moving on from a game and using it as motivation?
Coach McDaniels: "I think he best way to do it is to try and be consistent with the way you approach each game, win or lose. At some point, I'd like to stand up in front of you guys after a win and be the same way that I am right now. There are things to be gained each week and I think as a leader – and I think we have a lot of good ones in our locker room – you can't get too high with the highs and too low with the lows. It's a long season and each game provides you opportunities to learn about yourself and what you might be able to do better as you move forward to become the team you want to become. And so, I think that this one stings. I know all of them sting when you lose. We pour a lot of ourselves into it each week. The guys put a ton into it in terms of their effort, and so I feel bad for them. We're going to try to do everything we can to change the results, but I think the right thing to do is just to take it for what it is. It's one game to learn from, take as much as we can from it and then process it, and then at the end of the day, it's on to the Titans. That's the best we can do."
Q: How does your play-calling factor into the team playing more aggressively?
Coach McDaniels: "A lot of people will say it was just passing the ball with a lead. I think that's maybe part of it. But I think maintain your aggressiveness in terms of opportunities to make plays, as opposed to taking too many things out of the offense that you feel like gives you that opportunity. I think sometimes you battle that. You battle it as a play-caller, you battle it as a player. It's human nature. You have a lead, you want to try to protect it, and sometimes the feeling would be, 'Well, if we just don't risk anything, then maybe we'll be okay.' I've never felt that that's really the right thing to do because the other the other side, they're still playing too. And so, even though you have a lead offensively, it doesn't mean you have enough points. In order to score enough to win, somebody would have to tell me at halftime, 'Here's the magic number.' I don't know what that is. I've seen teams, and we saw a bunch of them yesterday –
I mean, I didn't see every game, but I was kind of made aware of it – there were a bunch of games where teams had 14–20-point leads, including us, and then the other team comes roaring back. Offenses can score points in bunches in this league, we know that. I just think that when you have a lead, you got to be careful about thinking you have enough. The defensive coordinators are usually going to get a little bit more aggressive to try to make some plays. At the end of the day, it comes down to our overall execution, whether we're running it, throwing it, drop back play action, tossing the ball, draw; whatever the play is, if we execute it well enough, we're going to give ourselves an opportunity. And we had plenty of them, we had plenty of opportunities to win the game in both phases, really. The kicking game was a little less as the game wore on, but offensively and defensively, we had plenty of opportunities. We're just going to have to make one more than they do."
The Raiders (0-2) will kickoff next Sunday at 10 a.m. PDT in Nashville, Tenn., against the Tennessee Titans. You can watch the game on FOX.
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