Oakland Raiders: Tony Sparano Week 10 Postgame Quotes


It was a tale of two halves for the Oakland Raiders on Sunday at the Coliseum as after getting Raider Nation into a frenzy off of two interceptions on Peyton Manning to grab a 10-6 lead in the second quarter, the wheels fell apart nearing the end of the first half on the way to what turned out to be an embarrassing blowout after showing promise in the early stages of the AFC West rivalry matchup with the Broncos. Bad decisions from Derek Carr as well as the loss of momentum following a 14 point swing going into the second half led to the Raiders worst loss of the season and a 0-9 record that leaves interim head coach Tony Sparano still searching for answers.

In the aftermath of Sunday’s game, Sparano faced the media for his postgame presser, answering questions on what went wrong after the quick start as well as addressing how the team can improve from a ninth straight loss with things going so badly in Oakland as of late.

Following is a transcript of Sparano’s press conference courtesy of the Oakland Raiders official website:

Opening statement

Coach Sparano: “Obviously, tale of two different halves for us, which we’re not really or haven’t become used to here in the last several weeks. We started the game pretty well, forced a couple turnovers. DJ Hayden made a big play there early in the game; it’s what we wanted to do, get a little bit of pressure, move Peyton [Manning]. We thought we might have had a chance at a few balls that way. Got our hands on a couple balls, didn’t turn that over into touchdowns, scored a field goal an then turned another one over on Justin’s [Tuck] into a touchdown. Gave one up just before the end of the half there on a play that should have been a 5-yard gain and kid made a great play and it’s 20-10 at the half. Came in here at the halftime and felt like we were still in a good spot. We had the ball coming out and we needed to do something with the football there and we just couldn’t get anything going there to keep our guys off the field. Didn’t do a good enough job on third down offensively and then he went down the field a bunch in the second half of the football game. Not one of our better moments clearly in the second half of the football game there.”

Do you think Derek Carr lost some of his composure in the second half?

Coach Sparano: “I wouldn’t say he lost some of his composure. They did a good job. They were rushing the passer. There are some things there though that I felt like at times, maybe from just looking at it, and again I’d have to watch the film at times, locations, things like that, but I don’t think he lost his composure. We kept him in the football game there because I felt it was important that the young quarterback finishes the game and finishes a game preferably in a positive situation. It’s something that he does well, moving the ball down the field in those situations and he was able to do that. That’s why we did that.”

What happened with the run game today?

Coach Sparano: “We ran the ball 13 times. Started the game out pretty well I think. Had a couple good runs, 5-yard runs, 6-yard run, that type of stuff. They’re the best rushing defense in the league. It’s no excuse, but we’ll have to go back to the tape and watch it again. I don’t think it was a scenario where there was a lot of people in our backfield or any of those type of things. It was really never a great flow within the ball game. Offensively, I didn’t just feel that, short of the turnover drive that we scored on. One of those was a reverse there and DeMarcus [Ware] made a good play on it. A couple of those runs were not conventional runs, they were meant to get the ball on the perimeter a little bit and that didn’t work out really great.”

What changed for pass defense after the first quarter and a half?

Coach Sparano: “I wouldn’t say much changed. We had – it’s not an excuse – but we had some different people in and out of the game, some injuries at different parts of the game during the course of this thing so we had some moving parts. Obviously, TJ [Carrie] did not play today, so that caused a little domino effect. At one point, I think we had Brandian [Ross] and DJ out of the game for a short spurt. And then we got them back in the ball game but I don’t think anything changed. We played against a heck of a football player over there and he did a good job of figuring it out. We have to do a better job.”

Can you address the progress of your rookie quarterback?

Coach Sparano: “I think you have to throw it out a little bit, but I think there’s some learning here. When I say, ‘throw it out,’ I don’t mean that there’s not anything you can learn from this. And I said this to the team prior to the game is that, we put ourselves kind of in a heavyweight fight last week and two weeks in a row here where you’re going against outstanding teams. We put ourselves in a heavyweight fight last week and we fought hard towards the end of the game to give ourselves a chance to win that game. You come up short there, no consolation, and then you’re right back in it again here and we started the game kind of the way we wanted to start it on the defensive side of the football. But we just didn’t get in a good enough groove during the course of this thing. I’m sure Derek’s going to come in and he’ll watch the tape and he’ll get a chance to evaluate it and see where we are from there. It certainly doesn’t hurt his progress. He ends the game in a positive way, but it’s another loss in a game where, quite honestly, we didn’t play well in the second half of the football game.”

What did they do to take away the passes down the field?

Coach Sparano: “Listen, we tried to throw some shots down the field, you guys were there, and we took a couple chances there and there wasn’t a whole lot of separation. They did a good job of covering it. Some of those situations, there was one or two that we felt like we had a chance to make, but the pocket broke down on occasion there and I think he got hit one time right up the middle on a ball he threw deep. They were moving him around pretty good, and when I say moving him around, kind of getting him off his spot, not different than what we were doing to Peyton in the first half of the football game. I think when you can affect the passer like that in some situations, that becomes an advantage for them. I don’t think they were doing anything a whole lot different. They played a lot of man, a lot of two-man, out there today. It’s something obviously we have to do a better job at executing.”

You ran the ball 13 times this week and 15 times last week. And on third down today, even when it’s short, you passed almost exclusively. What’s the thinking?

Coach Sparano: “We’ve tried the other thing. We’ve tried it a couple times. We’ve run the ball in several situations on 3rd-and-1 and have come up short. We took the chance and threw the ball. I don’t know if we had a real 3rd-and-1 today, I’m’ not positive in that situation…a true 3rd-and-1 that was out there today, but I know we threw one time, which I believe was naked and I believe he completed it to [Mychal] Rivera.”

Last three games were all tightly contested. You hadn’t had one of these. How do you think they’ll respond from this?

Coach Sparano: “Listen, I hope they respond well. I’m not sure how they’ll respond to it. It’s one of those deals where, again, as I said before, they’re looking for the gold at the end of the rainbow and it hasn’t been there. We have to stay the course and we have to believe in the things that we’re doing and we have to believe we’re getting better as a football team. I know this is not an indicator of that, I get it, but in the first half of the football game, we gave ourselves a chance in the first half of the game. We need to come out and play a better second half. I’m giving them tomorrow off. We have two games in 10 days, so I want them to get away from this a little bit and clear their heads, come on in here on Wednesday and get ready to go to head down to San Diego and win a football game. That’s our focus right now. When they walk out of this locker room that’s what I told them, ‘just get ready to go here for Wednesday. Come on here with a clear head. Take care of your bodies and get ready to go.’ I think we’ve got good professionals in there and enough good young players in there that’ll be excited to play in this ballgame here and we’ll go out and try to win our first game.”

The screen pass that gave them the lead, could you sense that things sort of sagged after that?

“Again, it goes back to…you can pick series out of a ballgame sometimes, but I think that was off of the interception. There was an interception there and then a screen pass where by every right we have the player tackled three times and he gets out of there and we had been tackling pretty well in the first half of the game I thought and he got out of there and got across the field. I could sense a little bit there just kind of that we gave one up. But I knew we had the ball coming out in the second half and I felt like if we could do something with the football coming out in the second half that we’d have a little shot of adrenaline there to give ourselves going again. But we couldn’t do that. We left our defense out on the field too long today and then defensively, towards the end of the game, guy made some great plays and we have to contest the ball better than that.”

Quotes from Raiders.com