HEAD COACH JEFF FISHER, AUG. 16, 2008
When you look at the tape of a game, especially the preseason games, you go in thinking one thing and sometimes you come out and it looks a little different. I was anticipating being a little upset, and disappointed, and concerned at some areas and then you look at the tape and it's all correctable. After thorough review it looks like the little things that happened can all be corrected. The group played with tremendous effort. The Raiders are a very much improved team. They've got great team speed and it showed. It was a really good test for us. We did some good things. We still have things that we need to work on, but overall I think it was a game that we can learn a lot from. Some great lessons before half, some great lessons at the end of the game, as far as the two-minute offense and the four-minute that we talked about, so hopefully we can learn from it and move on. Some improvements from the younger players. Jason [Jones] and William [Hayes] are coming on and [Stanford] Keglar improved over the first week and Hawk [Lavelle Hawkins] made a couple of catches, so things are about where they need to be. We need to have a real good, solid week this week as we prepare for the next ballgame and hopefully we can correct some of the things that happened.
(On if it was the effort that he was concerned with prior to watching the tape)
The effort as long as I have been here has not been an issue here, and it will not be an issue. The players are going to play with tremendous effort here. If a player is tired, if a player is not running as fast as he possibly can on the second punt because he covered the first one, then we'll place blame on the guy that left early. But there are no effort issues as far as this team is concerned.
(On what the correctable problems were that he saw on the tape)
Do you want me to name some of those things, is that what you're talking about? There's execution of the play. You know, the quarterback's back foot hits the ground and he's suppose to cut the ball loose and the receiver's not out of the break, those are the things that need to be correct. We've got technique things on special teams that can be corrected. A guy's hand placement is wrong or those types of things. The subtle mistakes involved that prevent you from executing the play are the things that I'm talking about. And I guess to simplify it's just the little things that happen.
(On if he thought Vince Young was in fact making the right reads)
Yeah, he was very good at where to go. He went through his progressions and it was not a problem. He was sharp. The incomplete passes and things, you look at the numbers, and say he struggled. Well, there are reasons for things that happened each play. He did misfire on a couple of them. He had people in his face on a couple of plays, he couldn't step up and follow through and threw a ball short. He had a potential touchdown pass batted down on the line of scrimmage. And made some good throws. The throw to Bo [Scaife] and to the throw to Justin [Gage] were tight throws. The Raiders play a lot of man-to-man, that's basically what they do. They get up and they challenge you and they play off man-to- man. Our thought going into the ballgame was not to go out and out-scheme them and do things to beat the man-to-man coverage. It was, 'Let's go out and see if we can do it one-on-one to those things.' And at times we did and at times we didn't. I think that anybody that lines up and do what we do, what we did against them last night, probably is going to struggle.
(On the accuracy of Vince Young's passing game)
I think it's been much more accurate. You see it everyday on the practice field that he's much more accurate.
(On if he would rather see a quarterback being able to make the right reads or if he would prefer the ability to make great throws)
It starts with the reads. We have a progression and he's deep to short or low to high or left to right and he knew exactly what he was doing.
(On Vince Young's footwork)
I heard there were some comments or concerns about his footwork, but there were two plays in particular when the pocket was collapsing and he couldn't follow throw. They're a good defensive front and Danny [Loper] got soft once and Danny got bulled. He didn't give up a hit, but when Vince stepped up to make the throw Danny was in his face and he couldn't follow through. That's just part of the game.
(On if he was a little disappointed with the lack of success in executing the empty backfield plays at the start of the game)
We opened with the empty backfield not anticipating that we were going to get pressure. We thought maybe we would get zone and we got some pressure. Rather than stay in it and risk getting your quarterback hit in the second preseason game we got out.
(On how much he faults the receivers in the incomplete passes
As I mentioned, we've got one [receiver] that slips and the ball goes over his head. We got a couple [receivers] that were running their route short. Everything is based on timing and our routes are set up, as you guys know, according to the quarterback's drop. In man-to-man press coverage, if it's a good jam on contact the timing in essence is off a little bit so the younger receivers are trying to stay with the timing and as a result they don't get the depth.
(On if he's concerned with Vince Young's development)
I'm not anticipating any issues or any concerns with him. I'm really not. He's improving, he's progressing. He is learning the position, he wins games. We got to the playoffs last year and we're a better team [this year] so we expect to do better. People that we surrounded him with will allow him to be better. Kerry's [Collins] numbers were similar to Vince's yesterday and it's just one of those things that happened. As a coaching staff I think we can appreciate this. We're not sitting there concerned because we knew what we took in from a game plan standpoint. We kept things simple. We didn't out-scheme them. We saw some good things as results of the approach that we took in this game. This week we'll put a little more in and we should see a little more production out of the offense.
(On players having to work more for the victory)
It's good. In the preseason I think you have to be realistic and draw from the positive things that happen and learn from the negative things that happen. Yes, you'd like to go out and put 35 points on the board in all four preseason games but I don't necessarily think that would be a good thing for this football team. What we have to do is learn to win games, which we've done. I thought that the ending, considering some of the things that happened and the down-distance situations and what we overcame, was a great effort by the young guys. Some of the things they're doing on the practice field is carrying over to the games and that's good to see. Winning preseason games is important but playing good, solid football is more important. Our football right now is good. We're not ready to play the regular season. We've got two games left against a couple teams that I think will challenge us in certain areas. We're just going to keep working.
(On the inexperience of the players who helped win the game)
That's what happens in preseason games. Typically, when you're in a close ballgame and you get a chance to win, it's your younger guys that are winning the ballgames for you at the end. And it's the younger guys that are making the mistakes which contribute to the losses in preseason games. That's how preseason games are.
(On Lavelle Hawkins' injury)
We put him in a boot last night. His ankle was sore. We did an MRI and don't have the results back but he'll probably be sore. I'll let you know but for now I can't comment. Sometimes guys come back three or four days after an ankle and sometimes it's a couple weeks, I just don't know.
(On Keith Bulluck's injury)
We're evaluating Keith. I saw him this morning. He says he's much better and he expects to practice this week. We had a couple guys cramp. Keith's I'm not quite sure but as you know, Keith's a quick healer.
(On other injuries)
[Chris] Carr's fine. [Josh] Stamer's fine. Cary [Williams] may have slightly reinjured the thigh that he rehabbed from this summer but it didn't appear to be as bad as we thought.
(On players that he expects will return to practice this week)
I think [Dwayne] Blakely will be back on the practice field this week. I talked about Nick [Harper], Nick will be back. We held David [Thornton] out yesterday just to rest him. Roydell [Williams] will be back and David Stewart feels great. [Jacob] Ford should be back also. We did some things and he ran the night of the walkthrough so he should be back as well.
(On if Rob Bironas will be back for this week's game)
It will be close.
(On Edward Williams' lack of playing time)
As I said last night, this was kind of the opposite of what happened the week before. Their offense kept the ball the second half so it keeps your defense on the field and doesn't allow you to sub guys in offensively.
(On if Ingle Martin has played well enough to be claimed by another team if he doesn't make the Titans)
There's always that concern, at any position, that if a player plays well at his position in the preseason and doesn't make your 53-man roster, there's always the possibility that he will be claimed.
(On his concern about receivers dropping passes)
We need to become more consistent there but I'm seeing improvement on the practice field. You know, Biren [Ealy] had an opportunity, slipped, and then made two tough catches in the last drive. You're seeing some good things out of them.
(On whether the league should only have two preseason games and how things would change)
I personally think four games are good because that's what we're used to, we're accustomed to. We schedule training camp around four games. Without having given it much consideration, off the top of my head, I think you would have a difficult time preparing younger players to play. I couldn't imagine thinking that we would have an opener next week because I don't think we're ready to play yet. I think, if there were two preseason games, you'd see coaches playing their veterans much more, the guys who are going to be playing. You have to play to get ready.
(On the turnover margin in the first two preseason games)
Well we haven't turned it over, which is good. We've been close. A great example of things that happened last night that we can learn from. [Lavelle] Hawkins is supposed to fair catch that ball that hit the 15-yard line. That ball almost hits one of our guys. That's nearly a turnover, a catastrophic turnover, deep in our territory. Those are the kind of things that we're going to learn from. But we are holding onto the ball which is good and we stress that.
(On whether Chris Johnson was supposed to field the kickoff with his hands up)
No, he misjudged that ball.
(On being ready to compete in the AFC and competing in the division)
What's happened in the past has happened in the past. But we've had success within our division and that's where it starts. And I think that in our division all three teams have improved and I think we've improved so we'll see what happens. We're a one game at a time team, and that's the approach we're going to take this year.
(On Eric King's performance as a starter)
He had some issues in the open field, which is uncharacteristic of Eric. He's a good open-field tackler and he just had a couple misses. But he knew what to do and we didn't have any coverage concerns or issues there.
(On Stephen Tulloch and Daniel Loper filling in as starters)
Stephen did just what we expected, did fine, filled in and played well and I thought Danny did a nice job too.
(On his impression of JaMarcus Russell)
I think he's going to be a fine quarterback. He made good decisions last night. He threw with tremendous accuracy. He's more mobile than I anticipated. Players came off the field saying 'this guy can move around and throw the ball on the run' so I think he's going to be a good player. Lane [Kiffin] and his staff have done a good job developing him.
(On whether the footing on the field affected the game last night)
No, just a couple particular cases, the field is not the issue. Dropping the hips, keeping the balance and running correctly is more the issue.
(On how the second and third stringers matched up in the game)
We matched up well physically, we were not in the right positions scheme-wise a number of times. We got out-leveraged, backs getting to the edge, I thought physically we were good, and we just didn't execute as well as we did. But we can match up.
(On whether the starters will get an entire half's worth of playing time in this preseason game)
It may vary, I haven't decided yet. Typically the last couple years I've done that in the fourth preseason game. But we will increase their reps in as many places as we possibly can.
(On what the offense needs to do to feel good about themselves)
I don't think the offense feels bad about themselves. I think they are working hard and capable of making plays. We see that out on the practice field. I think they are playing with a great deal of confidence right now.
(On whether he thought about playing Vince Young longer)
No, I did not, we had a set number of plays, a number of series. When we get to that threshold where the plays are up, we're going to substitute.