After an abysmal performance in a 49-20 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles defensive coordinator Jason Tarver faced the media during his weekly Thursday session and addressed what the Raiders defense needs to fix in order to get back to the heights they were at leading up to their loss to Philly.
Here is the transcript from the Raiders official website:
Q: What have you seen in practice this week as far as a bounce back from Sunday?
Coach Tarver: “These guys are professionals, and I’m excited to see what they do because nobody wants that taste in their mouth. We’ve had two good days of practice.”
Q: When you go back and look at the tape, what did you see? Where did the breakdowns come?
Coach Tarver: “Basically it’s this – I’ve been talking about this every time I sit up here, there are some basic things that we’ve done pretty well for six for sure, and part of seven weeks, and then one week we just didn’t do it and that’s what it comes down to. It’s not what you do, it’s how you do it. When they run the plays we’ve practiced from Day One, you can’t think, ‘I’m going to make the play.’ You have to do your job. And that offense, they put you in space. When you’re supposed to set the edge, set the edge. When you’re supposed to tackle the quarterback or the running back when they do their read scheme, tackle whichever one you’re supposed to tackle. And those are the biggest things. That’s it. We talk about top-down coverage every day. We had done a great job of top-down coverage for seven games, and we will come right back and do a good job of top down coverage because we learned our lesson. And that’s what we need to do.”
Q: We had coach [Tom] Coughlin on a conference call and he basically said that it was just one of those days for them that nothing went right, and that they’re not going to look at the past game, but instead look at the previous games. Eli Manning pretty much said the same thing. But when you’re doing your corrections and stuff how quickly, do you want to move on and how quickly do you want to make corrections and then move on?
Coach Tarver: “The coaches in this league and players in this league are outstanding and what people do at a professional level, and they’re the best, they’re the best for a reason, so if something hurts you they’re going to try and use it. So, what you do to correct it is we’ll practice a Giants play, a Giants play, a Giants play. Oops, there’s an Eagles play, and we do that to make sure that we have it, even against the same call or a different call. But we’ll put in things to solve our problems. That’s what’s out there. They know what is exactly on that video, the other team does. Now, they may not be able to figure out what that is, but the other coaches do, and the other players do. So we put those plays in from time to time to make sure our issues are corrected because you’ve got to be able to finish on that. Now, we took that game and buried it and said, ‘Let’s go,’ because that’s what you have to do. This isn’t a sprint, it’s a marathon, and how quickly you can right your mind and go on to the next one is what you’re trying to build in a team, in an organization, in our defense, how we approach life, everything. You have to do that, you have to put it away and we did.”
Q: This is a team that’s won two Super Bowls with pretty much the same core intact. Eli Manning is one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL. What makes them so good and what are some of the things they like to do on offense?
Coach Tarver: “Well, the quarterback has played great, especially in the big games because he trusts his players and this coaching staff has done a great job over the years of putting their players in the right spot to be successful. They learn who their players are and they help their players make plays. They know who they are as an organization and as a group who they sign and what players come in the building. That’s been their strength going forward and that’s why they’ve been able to do to be so strong. And that’s what they do; they put their players in the right position to be successful.”
Q: Can you talk about the player’s response in meetings or in practice? Have you seen a heightened focus or how they’ve responded to Sunday?
Coach Tarver: “The best part about football is you’ve always got that next week. There are 16 weeks that you get, so you look at it, you learn, and you put it to bed and you say, ‘We got another opportunity.’ These guys, they’re professionals, like I say a lot here, they’re pros and we’re excited that [General Manager] Reggie [McKenzie] and D.A. [Dennis Allen] put these guys in the room for a reason, because they learn from their mistakes. They want to be great, and that’s how they’ve practiced for two days.”
Q: DJ [Hayden] had another tough game last week. He falls down on the one and it looked like on the deep one to DeSean [Jackson] that he had pretty good coverage. When so much is made of what happened to him that day or this season, how much do you have to keep him propped up, or is that even a concern? Is he just one of those players that lets things slide off his back?
Coach Tarver: “With all young players, it’s a process. I know that I answer this question a lot, but it’s a learning process. They go through ups and downs and learning how to finish on the football, he’s done that. What you love about DJ is what he did in college, which is his take the football. He took the football to seal one game, and he just needs to continue to trust himself at the point of no return at that finish point. And we work with it. We do drills, we finish, we do all this stuff and you continue to drill it every day. With all the DB’s, not just DJ, you learn how to play at the point of no return. The defensive back position is a great position because – especially corner – you may only have four or five plays a game, but those four to five plays make or break a game, as we saw. So you just continue the process with all the young men and the great ones shake it off and they know they’re going to make the next play. And he has that in his mindset and we just have to keep bringing that out.”
Q: Is there any fear then from pulling him in a game that that may be considered a setback or is that what you could consider a teaching moment?
Coach Tarver: “No, those are all teaching moments. We make our decisions completely together as an organization, when to pull guys and when and if with Coach Allen and he talks to Reggie and everybody talks about those situations. Those are all learning experiences. I’m not going to say how we do everything. Our process is from Reggie to D.A. to the coaches, and we talk about everything, and it’s a great process, and we’re getting better because of it. [Head] Coach [Rex] Ryan of the Jets gave an example of their young corner about sometimes you have to protect them from themselves. So the coaching staff and the rest of the staff will make the decision on any player about when that happens.”
Q: Do you have to protect DJ from himself?
Coach Tarver: “No. I think it’s just learning how to finish and whatever coverage we’re in. You know, knowing the right coverage, when you’re supposed to be top down be top down, don’t make it close. When you’re supposed to reroute, you re-route. When you’re supposed to show up outside on a run play, show up outside on a run play. And just keeping doing that; do whatever you can do on that play. All you can control is that one play. That’s all you want to do, emphasize what they’re supposed to do on each play and be fair. It’s not fair, everyone has different treatment, but you coach everybody for what they need to be coached and you move on, because you can’t control that play. And that’s the good part – you guys ask about the game, shoot, these guys are ready to go. That’s what it’s about; it’s going to the next week and how quickly you can focus. That’s what’s great, and hard about this all at once. But the great ones say, ‘OK that play is over, let’s go on to the next play.’ Next play is the best play, as Takeo Spikes said to me over and over. ‘J.T., my next play is the best play.’ I like that one.”
Q: You have another young player, Brandian Ross, who is being asked to do a lot at a young age, especially for the position. How would you grade him out at this point now that he’s been in for a while?
Coach Tarver: “I think he’s played well. I think he’s very smart. He works well with Charles [Woodson] and the rest of the defensive backs. Any time that something happens to Mr. Ross, he makes the correction. If his angle was slightly off, you see the next time is correct. He’s a one-time correction guy. He didn’t get his eyes around one time in the last game and that’s already been corrected.”