We’re really looking forward to playing this week, obviously, after last week. So our guys are excited. We’ve had a very good week of practice. Guys are focused.
By no means are we going to forget what happened last week. Obviously, that’s not the performance we wanted to put out there, but that’s behind us and on we move.
What do you think happened last week? Were you a little shocked by the…
Well, honestly, I can’t put my finger on it. The guys had worked very hard in practice, and I know sometimes it just doesn’t go your way. It was a tough day. I was very disappointed. I think our players were disappointed. Anytime you turn a ball over in this league, you’re not going to win and that’s something we really pride ourselves in. We had done a great job of that in the preseason, of not turning the ball over, and then, all of a sudden, we turned it over on offense, we put our defense in a tough situation. We gave [the Titans] 14 points that they shouldn’t have gotten in my opinion. But that being said, we’ve come out this week, guys are focused, I think they’re excited to play here at home.
Having Kyle [Boller] here, the fact that he was with the Rams last year, can he help you at all and is that something you’re doing as a coach? Do you ever go to players…
Hey, if somebody can help us with a game, we’re all for it. There’s no question he was there but I think Kyle would be the first to tell you, he knows as much as he knew from last year. This is a new season. I’m sure they’re doing things differently than what they did last year and obviously they are going to come in here. They’re excited to come play us and we’re excited to play them.
How much of a point of emphasis is it to you the offensive line improving what they did, and how can you improve it this week?
Our team is trying to improve and we’re trying to improve offensively in everything we do. There was nothing that I felt after the game that I can just hang my hat on. I know Darren McFadden played well. He did some really good things but that’s what I expect from Darren. He didn’t do anything that I expected he couldn’t do, and I expect even more. I mean, I expect more from our offensive football team. I think our players know that. They understand the challenge that’s at hand and we need to get it done.
How important is it to get your wide receivers going early? I guess they had no catches in the first half…
Well, I think it’s important to get all of our players going early when you can. I mean, as we talked earlier, you put the ball on the ground or all of a sudden… Obviously we need to convert third downs to get more shots, more opportunities. We were 0 for 7 in the first half and that’s very disappointing within itself.
But, we like to get every offensive player, every skill player going in the game early so that they can feel like they’re a part of it. I have coached that position and know that those guys want the ball early and often if they can so that they can feel a part of it. So, that’s something that we concentrate on and sometimes the defense tries to take that away from you. But that’s part of strategy and I think that’s something that we always look at.
Were the receivers able to get open down field and you didn’t have time to get the ball to them or were they struggling to get open?
No, I think it’s a combination. Well, I don’t think they were struggling. I mean, I think if you’ve seen there were some times when they were open. I mean, all this goes hand-in-hand. Whether it’s the receivers, the quarterback, the offensive line, everybody’s got to do their part to have a very effective passing game.
I mean, we completed 22 balls but we didn’t have the yardage you’d expect with 22 completions. And that’s what we’re looking for. That’s very important for us but there’s going to be times where you will have to check the ball down. Teams are going to make you do it. And then that allowed Darren to make some of the plays that he made.
Is there a fine line to be straddled with when you want to avoid turnovers at all costs, but Tom [Cable] has been “stressing let it go?”
Well, this is how you do it. You have a veteran quarterback who has played. And he’ll be the first to tell you his job is always to get us to the next down. And we’re going to be an aggressive football team. We’re going to do that. We’re going to take our shots. That’s kind of who we are. That’s how we’re built. And that being said, we’re going to do that. But we also have to be smart because obviously this is a team sport. It’s not just an offense. It’s an offense and defense and special teams. So we’re going to do what it takes to make sure we give ourselves the best opportunity to win football games.
How are you going to work out the carries when you have all of the running backs healthy? Is that one of those things where it’s a nice problem to have?
Oh, no doubt. I hope everybody’s healthy and everybody’s ready to play, and trust me, we’ll find ways to get them the ball. That’s my job. I’m very comfortable and confident in that whoever is out there, we’re going to find ways to make sure they have opportunities to make plays for us.
You’re an LA guy at heart. Is there something cool about Raiders vs. Rams?
Well, the Rams, once upon a time, were here, and obviously, it wasn’t too long ago. It was a great rivalry back in the day, and obviously we’re playing these guys this Sunday and we look forward to it and I kind of still see them as a team from California even though they’re in St. Louis and I’m looking forward to that challenge.
Have the guys bounced back the way you expected after a tough loss?
No question. You know that mentality in football is when you lose one, you get excited to play the next one. Because the next team you play, you want to go out and play well. So, I think our players, obviously, that one’s behind us. That’s one football game. It was a very important football game because it was the first one we played. But here comes the second one and we need to play well in this one and that’s what we’re focusing on.
Such a wild fluctuation in terms of the fan base and media coverage when you win and lose the opener. When you lose and “it’s going to be this terrible year again.” How do you keep the team on an even keel?
Well, I think our players understand that it’s all about performance. I respect our fans and what they feel and totally understand. I mean, I was as disappointed as they were after the first game. But that being said, we have this one. You got to go play the next one. And I think our players are very excited about playing.
I would say to our fans, “come hang with us.” Come out here on Sunday and scream and cheer and go crazy and get behind this football team and watch us grow and get better. And that’s what this is all about. It’s a process. It’s not a one-game season. We weren’t involved in a one-game season. That was the first of 16, here comes the second of the 15th. So, I think our guys are excited to go out and improve and we understand that that’s what we need to do. We need to prove that we earned their trust and their right to go represent them and that’s what we want to do.