HENDERSON, Nev.--The Las Vegas Raiders (4-7) are on their first winning streak of the season as they prepare to play their AFC West rival, the Los Angeles Chargers, on Sunday.
Moments ago, Defensive Coordinator Patrick Graham talked about this last weekend's victory 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: There was such pressure from the interior defensive line in the last game. Was there anything special that happened before the week that you saw them make the switch, or was it the process you talk about getting them there?
Coach Graham: “I know those guys work really hard and have just been trying to improve their pass rush. Coach [McDaniels] made a big emphasis for Seattle in terms of let's get in the middle of the pocket and get in Geno [Smith's] face. And those guys went out and executed one of the musts for the game. It wasn't every play, but we had enough plays where they were in Geno's face, and that's one of the musts that coach identified that we needed to do to win the game. And as you can see, two weeks in a row, guys are trying to hit the musts as often as possible, and we were able to execute it."
Q: What's the challenge in defending Justin Herbert?
Coach Graham: “The run-pass option. And really, he's a quarterback, let’s just say that. He can throw the ball. He can throw it to any part of the field. Great arm strength. You see the intelligence in terms of getting in and out of plays, you see that. And then obviously, once you start getting some years under you, he's seen a bunch of looks, the experience comes. You've got to make sure you're disguising certain looks. Just the growth of a young quarterback with all the physical skills and the mental capability is tough. And then, on top of that, when he gets in trouble, he can make plays with his feet. It's not like he's just running just for the sake of running. He's running to throw the ball down the field or running to get first downs. So, it's a difficult challenge, just because of all the things that come along with the physical, the mental and then with the experience."
Q: What’s the merit in looking at what happened in the first game?
Coach Graham: “No, you definitely go back and look at the first game. You go back and look at last year's game against the New York Giants. I mean, you're trying and gather as much information as possible. They're doing the same thing, I would assume. And from there we formulate the best game plan in terms of who they have now, who they're playing with now, and then go from there."
Q: Did it feel like the players defensively had an understanding what you wanted them to do a little bit more on Sunday?
Coach Graham: “I wouldn't say a little bit more. I mean, sometimes the ball bounces the wrong way. But the guys have been working really hard all year. I think Coach [Josh McDaniels] talked about that in his press conference, that the temperature really hasn't changed. The guys have been focused, just some breaks here and there. I think the one thing like Coach said, they're learning how to play together. All three phases, learning how to gut it out for a full 60 or 65 minutes, whatever it may take. And I'm just happy that they're getting the reward. And again, now we've got to reset, come back in tomorrow, and get ready to go for the Chargers because it's big divisional game and big challenge ahead of us. A home game, let's give the fans something to cheer about there with that. I know the guys, they've been working hard all year and focused, and I know that right now their attentions have turned to the Chargers."
Q: The Broncos really focused in on Sam Webb the week before and it looked like he struggled. And then it looked like he played a heck of a game against Seattle on Sunday. How did you see him bounce back as a young guy?
Coach Graham: “Everybody bounces back from their past experience. Some of the best learning I've had has been from defeats. I remember my first game as a coordinator, I mean you could look it up. It's about as embarrassing as it gets. (laughter) Definitely not how I saw it going. I've learned from that, but we all learn from our experiences. They're football players; we're coaches. We get paid to do something and you've got to bounce back. It’s a week-to-week league, and that's what we have to do."
Q: Can you talk about Denzel Perryman?
Coach Graham: “I think the thing about Denzel that stands out, he's fast, he's physical and willing to hit. He's a football player in terms of he wants to go out there and be physical. So, those are all things that as a defensive coach, and I'm sure as any coach on the staff, they appreciate that. You can't get away from the physicality of the game no matter how much they glorify the finesse part of it. The physicality of the game, it always comes down to that. Especially once you start heading into November and December. The most physical teams are the teams that keep moving forward. So, when you have a guy who is physical like that, who can make a difference, who can dent the O-line, who could make some plays in the backfield, is always important. And obviously, production also leads to some excitement, and that also leads to guys rallying around that. So, that's always a good thing."
The Raiders' game on Sunday is in Las Vegas at Allegiant Stadium. It kicks off at 4:25 p.m. EST/1:25 p.m. PST. You can see that game on CBS.
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