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REX: Raiders Down, Sizing Up the Panthers


Excerpts from Coach Ryan’s Monday news conference


Watching the tape, I’m glad we brought the guys in. We had some things to correct, especially on defense. Normally a big strength of ours is our gap integrity in the run. Obviously, we had a couple issues in that, so clearly moving forward that has to be a strength, not a weakness. That long run, it’s actually embarrassing anytime you give up a run that far. Sometimes you can give up a pass that way, you feel bad about it. But it almost like rips your heart out, you give up a run of that distance. That’s kind of how we take it. So certainly we had to spend time to get that corrected and make sure everybody’s on board with the call and how we’re going to play it.




On if he is concerned about the run defense …

No, not really. I don’t know how many carries, I think Miami might have had almost 40 carries or something, if you give up 100 yards that’s fine. I just want to make sure that we know exactly where the error is and all that. We’ve been pretty good, we gave up the one. You’re not going to lead the league in run defense if you give up one big one, we’ve given up two now. We’ve given up the one on the short-yardage play to Fred Jackson and this one, things that we think are really correctable. I want to make sure we understand exactly how to play it.

On if he has done work on preparing for Carolina yet…

No, really not.

On what he has seen from Carolina’s defense…

I just know they’re really active. The [Luke] Kuechly kid from BostonCollege, I remember he was a tackling machine coming out of college. Apparently, he’s still a tackling machine. They’re really active up front and they’re doing a tremendous job. I watched that New Orleans game and obviously that’s not indicative of how they play. Defensively, I think it was some crazy stat that they haven’t given up even 14 points by halftime or something like that, but I think New Orleans was able to score three touchdowns or something like that. Obviously, they do a great job playing team defense. We’re certainly going to have our work cut out for us.

On if Smith was spoken to about not running out of bounds…

Yes, it’s like, “Really, kid?” Again, I think the competitor in you, you love seeing that competitive fight and that competitive fire, but no, you’re a quarterback in the National Football League. It’s tough enough to stay healthy anyway, let alone putting yourself at that kind of risk, and that was an unnecessary risk, so he has to learn that.

On his message to the team about the final three games…

No, my message really just about today is learn from this tape going forward. It had nothing to do with playoffs or anything like that. We have to watch this tape. We have to learn from it. Good, bad or ugly, we need to learn from it because what happens in this league, let’s say for instance they’re running the ball out of a certain look, formation, whatever, if you haven’t got that corrected, you’re going to see that run over and over again. Same thing, if you’re struggling picking up a certain type of blitz, you’re going to see it over again until you fix it. So I think that’s what it’s about, getting the corrections, the teaching and that’s really what I mentioned to the team.

On what’s he’s learned from the three game losing streaks to end the last two seasons…

Sometimes if you’re out longer, whatever, I think what you do now is want to make sure your guys are fresh and I think that’s what I learned from it. We’ll have the walk-through, like the walk-through practice, those plays, you’re getting like 40 reps, OK, but I’ve cut back the team reps and I’ve done a little bit of that and kind of cut back the practice. The focus has to be there, so I’ve learned that. Because we’ve got to get those guys ready to go on Sunday. We have to have our legs. This time of year you’ve got to get them in the tubs, you’ve got to do all that type of stuff, take care of their bodies, but also, the energy level and focus, attention to detail, all that has to be revved up in the meetings.

And generally, that’s why a lot of times you’ll say, OK, well, I’m going to give the guys Victory Monday off, but at the same time, I looked around, no, let’s get right back in. You’ve got to figure out as you go. But certainly, you have to be mindful of getting the best out of your guys and if that means cutting down a little bit of practice to achieve that, than that’s what you need to do. If that means, whatever it is, you have to mindful of it.

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