Oakland Raiders: Del Rio postgame press conference transcript


The Oakland Raiders third preseason game was an opportunity for head coach Jack Del Rio to showcase his new-look team to a national audience, a Sunday Night Football appearance on NBC bringing excitement to the important test run before the regular season as JDR gave his starters plenty of playing time to mixed results last night. The offense struggling while the defense dominated in a 15-3 halftime score that ended in a 30-23 win for the Cards once the backups came in.

Following the game Del Rio broke down the preseason performance to the media in his postgame presser. Talking about Menelik Watson’s injury, Carr’s redzone Pick-6, the poor running game and a stout performance from the defensive line in getting after Arizona quarterback Carson Palmer.

Below is a transcript of Del Rio’s presser courtesy of the Raiders official website:

Q: What can you say about Khalil Mack’s performance tonight?

Del Rio: “Yeah he was terrific. I thought he played very well. We got some good pressure on the quarterback, he was a large part of that. I know he had a couple of sacks and a couple of other plays. He was really stout in the running game as well.”

Q: How tough was it to see Menelik Watson work so hard and then go down with an injury?

Del Rio: “Yeah that was tough. That was a tough break for us. I think that’s the only major thing that occurred tonight. Really unfortunate. He was having a great camp for us. He played well for us. Good young man. He’ll bounce back but it’s a big setback.”

Q: What did you see from Austin Howard tonight?

Del Rio: “He’s a pro. I mean this guy’s gotten better I feel like throughout camp so he’ll be called on for obviously a much bigger role. That might not have been if Menelik stayed healthy. That’s part of why you have the depth and competition. We’ll count on him to play a big role for us.”

Q: How did you feel about the defensive line?

Del Rio: “I feel like our front is going to be pretty stout. There were some lapses there at the end. I need to see the tape on that. I thought early in the game I thought they were rugged. I thought we did a good job clogging running lanes. We did a good job clogging passing lanes as well, knocking the ball down and sacking the quarterback. The defense played really outstanding football, in particular in the first half. We provided a real short field for the offense. I think we had the average drive start right around the 50 and we were getting opportunities, knocking on the door. We’d like to obviously close the deal but we don’t want to end up 1-5 or 1-6 whatever it was on third in the red zone, but defensively we gave ourselves a lot of opportunities there, getting turnovers and getting big stops.”

Q: Did you get to see what the chemistry you wanted from the quarterbacks?

Del Rio: “Yeah I think we’ve seen glimpses of that being pretty good. I think there are examples in the passing game where we’re going to get better. Timing is going to improve. We’re going to get better, but certainly we’re seeing glimpses of a very bright future.”

Q: What did you see on Carr’s interception?

Del Rio: “I think that’s one from my vantage point, the play kind of started breaking down, and I think he just tried to keep it alive. He knew that was his last series regardless. I don’t know if that played into the decision to go ahead and put it in play there, but really we’re better off with him just dumping that ball and moving to the next play.”

Q: How will Khalil Mack be used?

Del Rio: “Well I think the biggest thing is the number of times that he’s going to drop. We’ll still drop him some, but the number of times he’s going to go forward and rush and disrupt in the backfield in the run game and in the pass game. We just feel like that’s one of the strengths that he brings.”

Q: Did you think about going for it on any fourth downs?

Del Rio: “Yeah, I mean, you know look we went ahead and took points. We went ahead and took points. Kicker got a lot of work. I’ve been an aggressive person when it comes to fourth down calls, so it’s not out of the question with me, but tonight we played it the way we felt like.”

Q: Why did Jonathan Dowling get cut?

Del Rio: “Didn’t think he was going to be a good fit for this organization. So we’re giving him the opportunity to play somewhere else.”

Q: How would you describe Amari Cooper’s performance?

Del Rio: “I think he showed up early. Got around the cornerback. I thought late, he continued to play to get some experience and playing time. And I thought I saw a couple of situations where he could do better.  He’s strong. He’s a strong guy. He could be a real anchor for this organization. I know sometimes he gets a little narrow, gets inconsistent with his technique. I saw a couple of flashes that looked pretty good, and I saw some examples that I think he’ll do better.”

Q: What did you see out of the running game?

Del Rio:“I didn’t see anything from our running game. We expect our team to run better. I told the team tonight after the game that we’re going to run the ball better than that and we have to and we will. We didn’t get it done tonight. So that’s definitely an area we want to go back and say, ‘Hey, these are the things we did tonight.’  We’ll make the corrections and move on.”

Quotes courtesy of the Oakland Raiders official website.