What We Learned From Thursday's Media Availability

Defensive Coordinator Bob Sutton, Offensive Coordinator Brad Childress, Special Teams Coordinator Dave Toub, LB Derrick Johnson and LB Sio Moore spoke with the media on Thursday

DEFENSIVE COORDINATOR BOB SUTTON

Q:  What do you know about Sio Moore?

SUTTON: "I kind of remember Sio [Moore] coming out of Connecticut a few years ago. He's a good player. Of course, we saw him on film a lot when he was at Oakland. We'd see the Oakland defense when we were getting ready for the other teams that we played. I think he's a good football player. He's played both in and out. In college, [he] kind of did a lot of different things – played out wide, walked out over the slots a little bit and also was an edge rusher. He just got in and truly edged rushed. I think he has some natural rush ability. That's valuable, and certainly, I think down the road there's a value that he can play both in and out, which is really, really helpful when you're putting together your 46 for the game. So, sometimes you have to give somewhere, and if a guy can play two positions, then that's really helpful."

Q:  Andy Reid mentioned you threw Sio Moore in with the ones the other day – just looking?

SUTTON: "Yeah, he's played. Obviously, he has to learn the system, but he's also played an awful lot of football. I think his transition – it's as much terminology as it's knowing to do the things that we ask him to do. Everything that we've done, he's probably done in his career at some point. We might call it apples and they called it oranges. It's just a matter of him getting comfortable that way and us getting a chance to evaluate him and see what he can do best."

Q:  Reasonable to think he [Sio Moore] could play Sunday if you guys need him?

SUTTON: "Well, I mean, yeah he could. He was sick yesterday. That hurt a lot, because it didn't give us a chance to see him as well as him doing it. We'll have a better feel today as well. He's had enough plays in his life that he probably could get in there. You know, if we put him in a system of a few calls, he probably could play."

Q:  How has Derek Carr evolved in the last couple years? He seems to be really leading this offense this year.

SUTTON: "Yeah, I think Derek [Carr] has had a great year. Since he's been at Oakland, one of the things that he's done a really, really good job of is getting the ball out of his hands. He's been exceptional at that since he's been there – a rookie to right on through. Very, very good athlete. He can run as good as anybody in our league. Good movement skills, he has a great arm. He's a 100, 102 quarterback rating, 67 percent completions, 11 TDs, two interceptions. He's done a really good job. He's taking care of the football. He's making big plays; he hit a fourth-and-two play for a touchdown there against San Diego the other day. I think he's playing really well, and he's a big challenge because you can try and pressure him, but like I said, he gets rid of the ball. It's just hard for anybody to get to him. I think going into that game the other day, I think he'd had two sacks, and I think they said on T.V. that he'd only been hit five times in the previous game. That's a tribute to the line for protection, and also, a tribute to him for knowing what to do with the football. I think he's really come along as a quarterback."

Q:  You went from eight turnovers against the Jets, to five touchdown passes against the Steelers.

SUTTON: "That's the NFL. It can happen. You better not think you've arrived, ever. We gave up some touchdown passes at Pittsburgh that were really on us, and we gave up a couple touchdown passes where they did a really good job there. You always think when you're coaching and playing that if I would have played this a little better, done this a little different, we could have got that thing under control and not given it up – but we did. When you play in this league, that's exactly what you do. You don't get a second chance, and you have to stop them when you get the opportunity. We have to come back, and rebound and push forward."

Q:  Is it more than just different quality of opponent, different matchups?

SUTTON: "Yeah, there is a combination, that's what I'm saying. There's really a combination. One, you are dealing with a really, really good offense. We've talked before, a quarterback that I think is as good as anybody in our league and doesn't get put in the top couple players, but his performance level would say maybe he is. I think he threw about four the next week too, so that's nine in two weeks. He's on a pretty good role here. My point is, yeah, you're dealing with that, and you also have to deal with your execution. We can't control the offense, but we can control what we do. If they beat us because they are just better than us on that particular play, then, they beat us. We just don't like to give them things, and we gave them a couple."

Q:  When you're so young at corner, are you going to be a little up and down like this? 

SUTTON: "Well, I don't know. I don't think you want to believe that. You want to believe that, hey, you're going to keep going. I don't care who you are, you're going to have some up and down moments. But, you keep driving down to technique, and improvement and the product at the end you hope is better than the product at the beginning. I'd be the first to admit that there's factors that come into that, and one is the competition that you're going against. There are some guys that are just really, really good at what they do, and that's a great challenge."

Q:  How does Michael Crabtree look to you?

SUTTON: "Good. I think he's had a great year. I think he's been a big factor in allowing their offense to be where it is, which is a top five offense in the league. He's always been noted for great hands. He can snatch a ball in the air. His catch radius is pretty doggone good, and obviously, I think [Derek] Carr is very comfortable with him. Amari Cooper and him complement each other. They're a good duo – they really are."

Q:  Can you give us a quick snapshot of the Raiders' offense?

SUTTON: "One, they're very balanced, and they have a lot of weapons. All three of these running backs have done a really good job. The running backs are high in catches. They really get as many catches collectively as [Michael] Crabtree and [Amari] Cooper have. They're all in the 30s, so that's a really good sign. Derek's [Carr] spreading the ball around. They've had some injuries at tight end, so that's probably a position that doesn't come as far as they'd like it to come, but nothing they can do about it. One is out and one got hurt and didn't play last week. I think they have a really good football team. They have a massive offensive line that obviously is doing some great things in protection. They're running the ball very well. I think they were up over six yards per carry, I believe. They're playing well. Those statistics they have don't lie. Somebody didn't just give it to them, they earned those stats. You have to go in and dig, and claw and fight and find a way to affect the quarterback, and you have to slow the run down, because they'll run it and just keep running it if you don't."

Q:  How's Dee Ford been up through four games? 

SUTTON: "Solid. Like a lot of us, we got to get better."

Q:  In self scouting, how close are you in the big picture to being where you need to be?

SUTTON: "Well, I think our biggest thing is we want to develop a higher level of consistency. We've had our moments where we've played really well, and we've had some moments where we don't think we played as well as we are capable of playing. I think if you want to become a good player, or a good team or a good unit that's really what you have to strive to do. Whatever you are, you want to perform at that level. You'd like to keep those out of there as much as you can, and certainly, the deepest valleys you'd like to stay away from. So, I think that's a big challenge. We got a lot of new players, new faces and all that, but I think once you allow yourself – coaches, players, whatever – to say, 'Well, you got new people,'­ you really give yourself a trap door. You don't want that. This is the NFL, man. You've got to play, you've got to coach, and play and go every week."

Q: The fix for those things that you're saying is more than just Justin [Houston] coming back?

SUTTON: "We have a lot of things to fix. I'm not saying we're a horrible team, there's things that we can do better and our players know it. Some of those things we've been doing during the year and we haven't done them consistently, that's a big part of it. There's not a magic pill here that you take and say 'hey we've got this baby under control'. It comes down to the same doggone thing every day. You have to go there and you have to go to work and you have to improve. You have to improve in the individual drill and then you have to improve in the team drills and you have to keep going. That mental focus and that ability to do that, that's how you get to be a good team. Sometimes that doesn't even produce the wins right away, but it's going to produce the kind of team that you want. That happened to us on defense last year. We had a couple of runs in there when we were in that 1-5 stage where we were making strides and improving, but we weren't winning. That's when you really have to trust each other and trust the process that this is going to pay off if you just stay the course. The things you believe in most are the things you have to count on most when it's not going the way you like it. You don't just abandon the things that you believe in. You grab onto those things, they're your lifejackets, those are your pillars and don't let go of them. We know how to do these things. These guys have done these things so we just have to keep driving on and pushing."

Q: What does Dadi Nicolas need to do to see more snaps in the pass-rushing situation?

SUTTON: "He's got to show, he's pretty much our talk right here. He has to become consistent. This is a tricky thing. You have to be able to do things play after play, after play. If you don't, it can be Jets to Pittsburgh for us, talking defensively. That's not doing things consistently. We had 10 really good quarters going there for a while and then we tailed off there and didn't keep it going. My point is with Dadi, he's a young guy and he's trying to learn a new position. He's never really been in the position that we're trying to make him. He's got some flashes, he's aggressive, he has real great energy, he's going to be fine. Sometimes it just takes a little bit of time. I think the number one pick of the draft still hasn't played. Sometimes you just have to keep going. His time is going to come. "

Co-Offensive Coordinator Brad Childress

Q: Give us a quick snapshot of the Oakland d-line.

CHILDRESS: "Really big upfront, athletic on the outside, rushing the quarterback. You could say there's some inexperience at the middle linebacker, but expect to see Malcom Smith back this week. I think the [Perry] Riley kid did do a hell of a job last week coming in at a week's notice. He really ran around, did a nice job in the back end. We know Sean [Smith] and 29 [David Amerson] turned into a very good player. I think Reggie Nelson playing in center field and up in the box, he has great experience there, 10 years in the league. You look at 42 [Karl Joseph] is a big hitter, big kid from West Virginia, so he'll play deep and as a box safety, they both kind of rock n' roll, good player."

Q: What's your impression of [Khalil] Mack, what challenges does he present to you?

CHILDRESS: "He plays with great leverage. He's strong to hold the point in the run game. He can get up underneath your pads in the pass rush. He can beat you with speed around the corner. He has a nice twist coming back inside, some guys have it and some guys utilize it. He's not afraid to utilize it and come back in and spin. I got a chance to get familiar with him out at the Pro Bowl, great kid, great player."

Q: [Reggie] Nelson, just from what you can tell, does he seem like the glue back there, like he's the alpha?

CHILDRESS: "You say that from a veteran standpoint, directing the secondary back there. Usually the guy standing in the middle does that so I'm sure he's responsible for getting them lined up. Like I mentioned before, he plays in center field, he also plays up by the line of scrimmage, they'll also blitz him off the edge as well as 42 [Karl Joseph] off the edge."

Q: How's our old friend Sean Smith doing?

CHILDRESS: "Sean had a little indoctrination there early, but I feel like he's settled in and knows exactly what they want him to do right now. He's a smart guy."

Q: What did you learn about this offense during the bye week?

CHILDRESS: "I wouldn't want to tell you any trends that we have. Probably that we throw it more than we run it right now by way of the fact that we're behind and have to throw it, so obviously we like to balance that up like that and play a little more even handed."

Q: What's going to be the key to creating a rhythm for this offense?

CHILDRESS: "We were talking about this the other day, we're usually pretty good with our first four or five plays then we have some sort of setback, whether it be a zero gain or a penalty. We just need to be consistent. I think we're still learning to be consistent offensively."

Q: Can you talk a little bit about using Jamaal [Charles]. He's ready, chomping at the bit to take over where he was before he got hurt. You have other running backs, so is he going to be part of the stable or is he going to be the feature?

CHILDRESS: "I think that'll remain to be seen. All those guys have things that they do differently. If we deem they do better than others, whether it's looking at a zone or an outside play or it's a screen. We'll kind of sprinkle him in where we feel like he's most effective and kind of work him back into the process. I'm not going to reveal a game plan to you obviously."

Q: Getting back to the imbalance that you guys are throwing a lot more because you say you're behind, even in the games before things have gotten away from you guys, you're still throwing a lot, is that a reaction to what the defense is doing? Are they taking away maybe your running game?

CHILDRESS: "I don't think we viewed it that way. They were just play calls that we had up. There's been a little flux on that offense line, not an excuse, but we're not as consistent in the run as we'd like to be and we're not as consistent throwing the ball either. We'd like to up both of those levels."

Special Teams Coordinator Dave Toub

Q:The penalty on Demetrius Harris on the punt return against Pittsburgh -- was it a good call?TOUB:"They saw a guy get knocked down and thought it was 84 [Demetrius Harris] but it really wasn't. It was another guy that pushed him -- number 80 [James O'Shaughnessy]. There was a penalty however, and we need to clean that up. We're making big plays but we're not doing everything right. We need to get to the point where we're making good, legal blocks throughout the play so the returns count."

Q:Does Tyreek [Hill] score on both of his called back touchdowns if the penalties aren't made?TOUB:"If we don't touch the guy, he probably scores on both of them. There's no question those blocks weren't needed, but some blocks have to be made. Those are the ones we need to be more disciplined on and do a better job."

Q:Particularly on the one against Pittsburgh: What are you coaching those guys to do?TOUB:"It's a fine line. You want them to play hard, finish blocks and keep opponents from running through unblocked. You just have to keep coaching them. When you get to that point of attack, that's where the referees are looking. Wherever Tyreek is and the surrounding five yards, that's where we need to be really careful making sure our hands are up, we're making legal blocks, our hands are inside and we're not holding, grabbing or throwing anyone to the ground. We have a lot of football left and a lot of returns left out there."

Q:What do you see from Oakland's Marquette King as a punter?TOUB:"He's off to a great start. He's high energy, very athletic and I have a lot of respect for him. He's punting well right now. Directionally, he punts toward the boundaries and pins guys down there. We're going to have our hands full with him." 

Q:How much does that make you adjust when a guy can punt the ball as well as he does? TOUB:"You have to play your guy at a certain distance -- whatever that might be. If he kicks it over your head, you've got to go back and get it. You can't let it drop. We've got a guy -- obviously number 10 [Tyreek Hill] -- who has great range and he's able to cover the field pretty easily. We think we'll get the ball in our hands with Tyreek back there."

Q:Do Jalen Richard and*Taiwan Jones have the same style of returning abilities or does one stand out a little different? TOUB: *"They're both very similar in that they're both running back type guys and they're both north and south type runners. You watch Richard now, he's got some shake to him as a punt returner. He almost ran one back against Baltimore a few weeks back. He's having a really good season too and he's averaging about 15 yards a return right now. They've got a good group. They're very well coached across the board: good kicker, good punter, good returners and they're playing really, really hard on special teams."

Q:Jack Del Rio isn't afraid to go for it on fourth down. Does that keep the special teams units on their toes throughout the game? TOUB:"Absolutely. That's one thing about this coach -- who ran a fake on us a few years ago with the 49ers on a direct snap -- we'll be on our Ps and Qs. He's obviously not afraid to call it so we have to be alert for it all the time."

Q:What have you seen from Sio Moore? Does he bring any special teams value?TOUB:"I honestly haven't seen him. He wasn't at practice yesterday so I haven't really seen him. If he gets the defense down and learns it well enough, we'll use him on special teams. He has experience doing it. We feel he's a veteran guy that can play in several spots."

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LB DERRICK JOHNSON Q: What do you see from the Raiders' running game and the guys in the trenches?* JOHNSON:*

"Their running game is on right now and they're hitting on all cylinders. In past years, they've been pretty good and even spotty at times. But they're playing very consistent this year and this is a team that's playing with a lot of confidence. They're coming off a big win too. They've been down in all their games that they've won so they've got a lot of confidence. We've got to go down to the 'Black Hole,' this is a rivalry game, it's going to be an interesting game and it's going to be a big game. We know that. It's a division opponent where we have the opportunity to improve to 2-0 in the division and what better way than to come down to a very confident Raiders group and try to get the win."

Q:Do you like playing in Oakland?JOHNSON:"I love playing in Oakland. I've had a lot of success there over the years but it's always been tough. And it's always going to be tough in Oakland with that crowd. You love going into a hostile environment. If you can operate in a hostile environment, it brings out the best in you. If you can't overcome the adversity, you're not going to be very good and you're not going to have very much success as a team. To be able to go down to playoff type atmosphere against a very good Raiders team, it'll be a good test for us."

Q:Does this rivalry mean as much to you as it always has?JOHNSON:"We go into every game with the mindset that you have to win and do the little things right. At times, the media and certain things of tradition help hype games up a little more. We're still going into it the same way, but there's a lot of other things that go into this one. This is a divisional game. It's an old-school knockout, drag-out type deal. It's going to be fun going to Oakland."

LB SIO MOORE Q: Would you be able to take on the role if they needed you to play on Sunday?* MOORE:*

"I'm just preparing to be ready for any role that Coach [Andy] Reid, on the defense or special teams if coach puts me in."

Q:If they asked you to rush the passer, is that something that you have to know the scheme to do or is that something that would be the easiest to do if you got put in there? MOORE:"I've been a football player my whole life, not any kind of degree of any player. So, I kind of pride myself in being able to adjust and play wherever my coach needs me to. So, if that's something that is talked about, and they need me to do, I'll do it."

Q:How much comfort do you have playing on the edge? I know you've done a little bit of both.MOORE:"I've had a blessing of being able in college and the pros to play inside the box and outside the box. So it's not foreign to me, it's something that I like to do. If that's something that comes up, I'll be ready for it."

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