Head Coach Jack Del Rio's press conference from Monday, Oct. 23, 2017:
Q: Have you been reviewing film these past four days?
Coach Del Rio: “No, we’ve moved on to Buffalo.
Q: How do you make the most of this week?
Coach Del Rio: “Treat it as a mini bye for the players. Coaches, we get a jump on Buffalo and get busy on preparation. Got a big East Coast swing right now with going to Buffalo and then stay on the East Coast and play the Dolphins, much like we did last [year]. Putting all that together, but the primary focus is on Buffalo. Kind of going forward from last week’s big game.”
Q: How did you come out of that game health-wise? I think David Amerson was the only one who didn’t finish.
Coach Del Rio: “Yeah, I think that was the only one that didn’t finish. We had a couple of guys that were banged up going into in to it, a couple of linebackers. Hopefully, the extra long week will help them get closer to full strength. That was it, just one guy missed or went out.”
Q: NaVorro Bowman played 60-plus snaps.
Coach Del Rio: “That’s a pretty cool story for NaVorro to come in and the work that [linebackers coach] Sal Sunseri, the extra time they spent getting him up to speed as best they could. Focusing on the things that we would have him do in the game plan. It helped, obviously with his veteran experience and his overall knowledge of the game to begin with, to put it our terminology. Then green dot, the whole bit, called it. In some respects I think it’s a little better to have the green dot because Kenny [defensive coordinator Ken Norton, Jr.] is able to talk to him the whole time. That’s an added benefit really. But pretty remarkable for him to come in and three days turn around and have that kind of performance.”
Q: Was that the plan to play him that much?
Coach Del Rio: “Well, we didn’t have that many bodies. I didn’t make a big deal of it as we went through the week, but there were a lot of uncertainties at linebacker. We had two guys healthy. He was one of them that were really completely healthy. Nick Morrow ended up playing, but he wasn’t really healthy. It was a good job by him, by Sal, by us putting it together and him making it work.”
Q: What did you think going into last game?
Coach Del Rio: “We talked a little bit about the why. Why we love to do what we do. Whatever it is, each guy find that little bit that you get excited about. I thought we had a good week leading up to the game. We got a good group of guys. We really do. We have a good group of men in that room. There’s pride. I think there’s belief. I think we just continue to work at it. We know we need to play better. We need to improve as we go throughout the year. It was awesome to get back on track and go out there and really have a fun night.”
Q: Donald Penn said he thought he had just been too uptight. Did you think there was some of that team-wide?
Coach Del Rio: “I think that can happen a little bit where you want it so bad that you kind of press for it. I think you need to go out and it has to flow. You go out take care of your job and focus on your responsibility and have fun playing. It’s a game, have fun playing the game of football. Things don’t happen the way you want, you’ll be able to get past it and get on to the next play. I think that’s so important. If things do go well, get on to the next play. It’s kind of what you do. I feel like overall the vibe was good. I think it’s been pretty good. I think our spirit has remained strong and I think that will allow us to kind of pull ourselves out of that little bit of a rut that we were in and start playing some really good football.”
Q: Do you pay attention to the way the AFC West race has tightened up?
Coach Del Rio: “Sure. I’m well aware. I’m aware of the whole league. I think this year in particular, every year kind of unfolds a little bit differently, but I think you look at – I guess parody’s the word, I don’t know – there’s a lot of team’s that are good. What separates the very best from teams that are maybe not considered as good is very little, there is very little separating the teams. It’s those squads that go out and execute, stay relatively healthy and execute the best.”
Q: Do you expect to have resolution on Marshawn Lynch before you play Buffalo?
Coach Del Rio: “Yes. Yeah, I think we expect to hear something early in the week, hopefully by tomorrow. (It) would be the fairest thing so that the team can prepare.”
Q: Have you had a chance to talk to Lynch since the game?
Coach Del Rio: “No.”
Q: Did you have a reaction to his suspension?
Coach Del Rio: “No. I said the other night I was disappointed that we had a player leave the bench. It’s something we talk about – don’t leave the bench area.”
Q: How did you feel about the way that Jalen Richard and DeAndré Washington complemented each other in replace of Lynch?
Coach Del Rio: “Yeah, and [Jamize Olawale] Maze, all three of those guys did a nice job. Those two guys have a lot of heart, a lot of quickness. They were hungry for the opportunity and took full advantage of it, did a nice job for us.”
Q: What can Richard and Washington bring to the table that maybe Lynch cannot?
Coach Del Rio: “Yeah, they don’t have the size and the power but they have a little more quickness, they catch the ball a little easier, better route-runners, things like so. So, if you’re playing a little more wide open, in some respects they give you a little more juice. Marshawn give you the power back when you want to finish people and in tough situations. Those guys give you more than a change of pace.”
Q: Have you made a decision on the second injured reserve player?
Coach Del Rio: “No. We don’t have to make any decisions. We’re trying to get Obi [Melifonwu] up, but there’s no decision beyond that.”
Q: Is Denver Kirkland close?
Coach Del Rio: “I think he’s pretty healthy. He’s pretty healthy. But we don’t have to start that clock. That’s up to the team’s discretion. We’re not in a hurry to make any moves and we’ll see how the year plays out.”
Q: It seems like Denico Autry has been a force up there…
Coach Del Rio: “Yeah. Yeah, he’s really played well.”
Q: Is he equally as good at the defending run and rushing the passer?
Coach Del Rio: “I think he has the ability to be impactful in both. He’s rugged against the run and he’s disruptive against the pass. A lot of times it’s his effort that is maybe allowing production to come somewhere else. He hasn’t been, to this point in his career, like a 10-sack guy or anything. But a valuable piece to what we do.”
Q: What’s the different this Friday being that you’re leaving for a 10-day trip instead of a 3-day trip?
Coach Del Rio: “There are a lot of things that happen behind the scenes that make it all possible. For us, you pack a little more. We actually pack a little more and send it on to Sarasota and don’t worry about it. Then it’s a normal trip to Buffalo to play our game and then when that game’s over, then we instead of flying home, we’ll just fly down to where we’re going to be and then that bag will be there. Then you get into a normal week down there. So, in all the behind the scenes work, all the different departments – Will [Kiss – Senior Director of Media Relations] has his group, Bob Romanski [Equipment Manager] has his group – and everybody kind of has their department and they all make it happen. That’s what really, the organization makes it happen and really allows the players and the coaches just to concentrate on football. We have the easy part, they’re the ones that make it all happen.”
Q: What’s this stretch like? You won’t be playing in front of the Oakland crowd for awhile.
Del Rio: “Going to go back to a cliché, just playing one at a time. We’re going to stay over but we’re going to come home to enjoy the bye week and my Bocce tournament. We’ll raise money for the kids and see if we can’t be impactful and help a bunch of young people here in the local area. We’ll do that on our bye week. So, we’ll come back. We’re not just going to stay out on the road. We’ve got this east coast swing, have to go play two good teams that are playing well right now starting with Buffalo then go down to Miami, then come home and catch a little break and go play a home game in Mexico. Should be fun.”
Q: What has stood out about Buffalo?
Del Rio: “They’re playing tough football. You’ve got to save something for later in the week, but I think they have as good a back as there is in the league in Shady [LeSean McCoy]. I think he’s really good. They’ve got a couple of our guys over there. A couple of my favorites in terms of effort-filled, hardnosed, good football players that give you everything they have. Really appreciated what they brought to us and I know they’re doing a nice job for them. Lorenzo [Alexander] is playing well on defense, Andre [Holmes] is doing a nice job in their offense and on special teams they’re both contributing, and Taiwan [Jones] is over there. They’ve got some former Raiders on their team that are doing well for them.”
Q: Regarding Florida, are there benefits beyond not having the extra coast-to-coast flight?
Del Rio: “You have a chance to maybe come together a little bit as a squad but it has to do with going there and playing good football. Being on point, taking care of business, that’s what allows it to be a good thing. I think you have to do that, but the process is good, where you’re not flying coast to coast. You’re minimizing the amount of that travel. I don’t know if anybody does it more than us this year, but we’re called on to do a lot of traveling this year so to help mitigate that this year, we think it’s good for our organization.”
Q: The Cowboys had to use a safety as their kicker yesterday on PATs and kickoffs. Do you guys have an emergency kicker?
Del Rio: “You’d have to talk to Coach Seely about that one. We have an emergency snapper, emergency kicker, those things are in place, you’d just like to not get to them.”
Q: Is there something from an organizational standpoint, from Mark Davis on down, that allows you to have resources on the road to stay on the east coast?
Del Rio: “It’s been great from that standpoint. MD has told me to do the things I need to do for us to play championship football. He’s invested in us, and providing us with the things we need to travel properly and do the right things for the guys. It’s all about being as good as we can be on game day.”
Q: You’ve had a few weeks of inactivity from Gareon Conley. Are you anxious to see him this week?
Del Rio: “I don’t really want to try and paint it in those terms, or try and speak to his situation. I think we are going to be patient and do the right thing at the right time with him and we were trying to get him going and see if we could get a little bit, and it just didn’t appear to be making the kind of progress we need to make. When he can do the things he needs to do and he gets cleared to come back and be full speed for us then we’ll go.”
Q: At this point, it is a foregone conclusion that he’ll be able to return this season?
Del Rio: “I think it’s too early to speculate on that. I think the idea now is to get him healthy and let him return to action when he’s ready to be himself. Until then, just be patient.”