Las Vegas Raiders' Josh McDaniels speaks after OTA - Sports Illustrated Las Vegas Raiders News, Analysis and More

2022-05-29 00:59:06 By : Ms. Danica Ling

HENDERSON, Nev.--Yesterday, Coach Josh McDaniels of the Las Vegas Raiders spoke with the media after OTA practice.

We were there, and we have the entire press conference on video for you below and the transcript.

Opening Statement: “I'd like to first start by extending our condolences and sympathies to the families of the school shooting in Texas that lost a lot of innocent lives. I know there's a lot of us here that have kids and that hit home pretty hard, and a lot of our guys and coaches and people in our organization have been talking a lot about that, praying for them and their families and obviously anybody that was affected by that. So, just want to start by talking about that. And then, three days in, a lot of work that has already been done. A lot of work to do. Guys are working hard, as you can see out there. A long way to go. Excited about the guys that we have here and the intentions that they bring every day, the attitude that they're preparing with, what they're trying to accomplish each day; we couldn't ask for more than what we're getting right now. So, a lot of mistakes to clean up, a lot of things to get better at, but I like I like where we're at.”

Q: Could you tell us share with us how to work out with Colin Kaepernick went yesterday and what he could bring to this team potentially?

Coach McDaniels: “Yeah, I won't. Just a standard procedure, we will only talk about the people that are on our team. I mean, [General Manager] Dave [Ziegler] and his staff have worked out tons of guys this spring and we really don't make comments about the evaluations that we made or what they look like, what they didn't look like, strengths and weaknesses, those kinds of things. They're kind of private, obviously, for us as we look at things and try to make decisions to make the team better and if players are added to the team, then obviously we'll talk about them at that point. I respect the question 100 percent, I understand. But that's kind of what we'll stick to.”

Q: Why did you want to bring Colin Kaepernick in for a workout?

Coach McDaniels: “Like I said, we brought in tons of people for workouts. And if there's an opportunity to improve the team, we said it from day one that we would look at every opportunity. He's not the first player that we looked at, and not the last one. So, there's going to be a lot of people who are going to come in and out of this building and have an opportunity to make an impression. And like I said, the evaluations we make are kind of private for us. If we make a decision to add somebody to the team, then we'll do it.”

Q: You've been giving a ton of information to your team with a new offense and defense. How are they assimilating and grasping that? Can you talk about that process?

Coach McDaniels: “Yeah, I'd say the wheel is spinning pretty good right now, and that's just the nature of this time of the year. The hours are a little restricted, so there's less you can do in terms of meeting times and those kinds of things. So, the mornings are kind of power packed in terms of information flow. They're doing a great job of trying to stay up with the information. They're learning a new language, quite honestly, in each phase of the game. So, whenever that's the case, the first thing you have to do is really start to understand the verbiage. One word can tell a lot of people a lot of things. And whether we're giving the calls or we're guys getting the calls, there's a lot that can happen. So, we know there's a lot of variables on each play. Like I said, there's a lot of mistakes, but that's how we get better, from going out and just trying to compete the way that we can compete now, which is not really physical, but the mental part of it. There’s stress out there. We added the music today to simulate some noise that just made the communication that much harder. But like I said, the intention, the effort, the attitude we have is tremendous. A long way to go before we can really say we got it and we understand everything. But after three days of this, I'm pleased with kind of where we're headed.”

Q: Can you talk about Kolton Miller, whether he’s at his ceiling or just scratching the surface? What have you learned from him in the time you’ve been here?

Coach McDaniels: “Yeah, he’s one of our best workers, there's no doubt about it. And you can see why he has improved each year that he's been in the National Football League. He puts a lot of time and effort into it in the facility. He works really hard in the weight room. He's in great condition. He studies hard. So, in order to be really good in this league, there's a lot of things you got to do well. And Kolton gives a great effort every day at everything that he's responsible for. He’s got things we've identified already that he can improve on and he's working hard to try to do that, and we'll continue to work that way as we go into training camp. But he's just got a great attitude, a great approach every day. He's got an improvement mindset each time he walks in the building. He’s here early and he stays late, and in order to be really good football player in this league, you got to do some of those things. Kolton’s a great leader for us. Brings a lot of others along with him, which is great, and affects his teammates in a positive way.”

Q: Alex Leatherwood got a lot of snaps at tackle today. Is that kind of the plan initially for him right now?

Coach McDaniels: “Yeah, we've been moving him around a little bit. Each one of the guys up front. We've got some guys playing center and guard. We've got some guys playing on the right side and the left side. We've got some guys playing tackle and guard. So, there was a little bit more of a focus of that today for him. Ultimately, we're going to try to figure out who the best five are that can give us the best chance of success every play. And he's certainly working his butt off right now to try to give us the right stuff wherever we put him. Today, it so happened, like you said, it was more right tackle. I like his attitude. I like what he's doing. That whole group just works. They come to work every day. They don't really say a whole lot and they grind it out. So, pleased with the effort that they're giving us. And again, we're asking a lot of some of those guys in terms of moving because that gives us an opportunity to evaluate multiple people alongside other people. We don't want him to get into a habit of this is the only guy that I'm ever going to play beside because there's a lot of things that those two people, or three people, have to talk about and a lot of words that mean things to him. He’s doing a good job. He false started once today, but I mean that's going to happen when we hit the noise.”

Q: You mentioned some mistakes in practice and we saw some guys running some laps. Is that just drawing a line for accountability?

Coach McDaniels: “I would say they were probably just as responsible for that and wanting to do that because it wasn't a good period. They know that. I'm not going to be out there cracking a whip on that. I mean, if we're not doing the right things in a football game there's going to be some consequences. And usually, they're negative. So, I think they understand the whole the concept of that. We don't play well, we don't practice well. ultimately that's going to lead to bad results. So, weren’t having a very good period. It was very sloppy, lack of communication, lacks in detail. And so, just try to get it back and I thought they rallied a little bit as practice went on, did a better job of communicating and kind of righted themselves offensively, and sometimes that stuff can happen.”

Q: What does it say when the players take it upon themselves to hold themselves accountable like that?

Coach McDaniels: “That's what you want. That’s what you want ultimately. Certainly, there's an element of direction and those kinds of things. But when they understand what the standard is and they realize that they're not living up to it, that means you got them thinking the right things. If there's anything I can say about this group;I think they believe in themselves, their teammates, what they're doing, how they work. And they want to put their best foot forward every day. And so, when they don't, I think they recognize that and they know they can do better, and they will.”

Q: Given Colin Kaepernick’s popularity and all the attention that comes with this, do you have to give Derek Carr a heads up and say, ‘Hey, I'm going to bring him in for a workout.’ Is there any conversation there?

Coach McDaniels: “I think Derek’s pretty comfortable with where he's at, and I think he knows who he is for us. I know he knows how I feel about him, how we feel about him. I don't think that's really a big thing to Derek at this point. I think he knows this is his football team and he's working like it on the field. He's leading the way that we want him to lead and he's doing all the right things. I couldn't ask for more from Derek Carr and very pleased with what he's doing so far.”

Q: Is the high attendance rate during OTAs partially because they got so much to learn and if they weren't here, they would be falling behind big time? And what are the characteristics of this team?

Coach McDaniels: “I think the weather is not a negative. I’ve been other places where it's raining and windy and cold and all that at this time of the year. So, I think a lot of guys enjoy being here. I think we have a great place to work out and train in the off season, whether that's with us or on their own here. But I think that there probably is certainly a level of urgency and excitement to gain knowledge in the system and learn the material that is going to be presented to them. We talked about that at the very beginning, every coaching staff in the NFL, every coaching staff in college and high school, you have to have some language. That's the only way that we can communicate with each other. And so, our staff happens to know the language that we know. It doesn't mean it's right for everybody. It doesn't mean it’s the best. It’s just what we know. And so, they understand that we're trying to teach them that language so that they can use it and be productive. I'm excited. We haven't had perfect attendance. It’s a voluntary part of the off-season. We understand that. But excited probably doesn't do it justice in terms of us being eager to coach the guys that are here every day, looking forward to pouring into them every single day that we have the opportunity to work with them. You could see their spirit and attitude today. I mean, they're out there working. It’s 94, 95 degrees, whatever it is, they didn't flinch. And so, I really like the spirit that we come to work with every day. We got great leadership from our leaders across the board on this football team and they're really doing a great job of setting the bar high and then pushing their teammates to try to reach it.”

Q: This off-season you signed Chase Garbers and Nick Mullens and traded for Jarrett Stidham, so you've added a lot of competition to that quarterback room. Why was that such an important point of emphasis this offseason?

Coach McDaniels: “I mean there's nothing more important than that position. And people say, ‘Well, you got an established guy.’ We certainly do. And the next guy in line, you don't really talk about him until he's the most important guy in the organization when the starter gets hurt. And so, I know there's a lot of us on the staff that have lived through some of those injuries. I certainly have experience with that. It’s a one of the toughest positions, if not the toughest position, to play in all of sports. So, to try to constantly shuffle through and make sure that you're doing the best you can to provide competition in that room and to have guys in there that they can learn and play and produce in your system with the with the group that we have is really an important part of any football team. And we're encouraging the competition right now. They’re all competing with each other, whether it's an individual drill, a 7-on-7, a team drill. I think our football team understands that competition is the way for each player to improve. If you're out there working on your own and there's no threat of competition, sometimes, you can get lazy and lackadaisical. And so, we're trying to promote that at every spot we can, and we've got a full roster basically right now. Those guys are all out there working hard. The guys that we have now are learning and really like I said, and you mentioned it, there's a bunch of young players in our system right now. And so, each day is an opportunity for them to grow there. Derek has been tremendous in terms of his ability to learn and pick it up pretty quick. So, he kind of pushes it a little bit, which is great. And then the other guys are coming along.”

Q: With the new guys in the quarterback room, is it a big difference in terms of what they've had to learn since they’ve gotten here? And how pleased are you with what you've seen?

Coach McDaniels: “I mean, the young kid who just came here after the draft, Chase [Garbers], is working his butt off. It's just a lot of stuff. In college football, there's a lot of this stuff that we ask them to do that they don't necessarily do a lot of. So, he's poured himself into it. He's grinding away every day, makes some mistakes, tries to learn from them. And Nick [Mullens] and Jarrett [Stidham] are both veteran guys. They've got some experience, not a ton, but eager, smart. All of them are smart, so there's no question about that and there's some competition. They're making some good plays and then there's some things to learn from. I'm just excited about that whole group, the way they work with each other, the way they push each other. That's what we're looking for.”

Q: You've been in this position before, but it's been a while. What does it feel to kind of be running practice and have your voice kind of be where it is now?

Coach McDaniels: “I've been looking forward to an opportunity like this for a number of years now. And I'm so blessed to have the staff that we have and the group that we have working and the support staff that we have around me. I mean, they make my job easy. I'm just trying to keep us on schedule and on time and those kinds of things. But I couldn't say enough things about the staff here, the strength and conditioning guys, the trainers, the equipment people that make this thing go. They do a tremendous job. And then our coaching staff is doing a great job. They're here real early, they're here late at night, just making sure all the information is prepared. But I feel like I've learned a lot. I feel like it's slowed down for me for sure. It doesn't mean anything at this point in time of the year. It doesn't have any bearing on what's going to happen down the road, but definitely feel a different comfort level now in terms of understanding what my role is and how to do it better. It’s funny because when you're the coordinator, you can actually have a good period. When you're the head coach, doesn't matter who wins or loses, the head coach usually is just frustrated with somebody somehow or other. But that's part of being the head coach.”

Q: Are you pleased with the way Derek Carr and Maxx Crosby have been able to take your vision and be able to spread it across the rest of the roster?

Coach McDaniels: “Yeah. It's our idea of what to do, but ultimately the culture is going to be decided by the people who do that, who take it in and lead within their own part of the building, whether it's players in the locker room, coaches, the people at the top of their departments, they're the ones responsible. And so, we just want to come in and work hard. We want to try to put the team first and do our job and try to do everything we can to get better each day, and they're the ones that do all the hard work. So, very pleased with the way that the guys are leading, the effort that they put in, the time that they put in, how much they demand of themselves, which I think you have to do before you can start pushing other people. It just speaks for itself. And then there's a lot of players that are following the right people. So, excited about this group. I'm pleased with what they're doing so far and still got a long way to go, and eager to see how that's going to turn out as we go through the rest of the spring.”

Q: There's a lot of competition and a lot of learning going on in the quarterback room. But how much does having Jarrett Stidham, who is familiar with your system as long as he has been in the league, how much does that help?

Coach McDaniels: “Yeah, I mean, any time you change teams and go somewhere where you're familiar with that, you can kind of skip a step or two. And Jarett is now coming into a place where he knows the terminology, which is a good thing. It doesn't mean that the performance is always going to be exactly what it needs to be, but it gives you a little bit of a leg up in terms of how quickly you can get to a point where you can function and do all those things. I think Jarett’s done a tremendous job, too, of sharing, and that's always a big thing. He's very unselfish. He's a great human being and he's a great teammate. So, coming here and giving with his time, whether it's Nick or Chase or Derek, just having open conversations with those guys because he's actually been through this process with the same person who's kind of pushing him in that direction now. So, he's got a familiarity with (Quarterbacks Coach) Bo [Hardegree] and (Offensive Coordinator) Mick [Lombardi], myself, (Offensive Line Coach), Carmen [Bricillo]. He's heard some of the terminology. He's been in some of those meetings. He's heard the corrections. So, he's been great in terms of just being able to share information and try to improve the whole group.”

Q: There's a lot of curiosity if this is going to be a New England in the desert. How much operationally mirrors what you did there?

Coach McDaniels: “You know, like I said, it's hard for anybody to leave there. And I didn't know this a while ago, but it's hard for anybody to leave there and try to replicate everything that happens there. And it's probably true across the board in all of sports, and I made the mistake of trying to do too much of that the first time. I think you just got to be able to be yourself and I think we have a good thing going in terms of the direction that we've started things in. But there's definitely the football part of it and the belief in how to win or lose and some of the strategy and those kinds of things very much what I know. That's all I know. But I would say the interpersonal interactions each day, the flow of the day, some of those other things that you could choose to copy if you wanted to. We have a lot of great people, like I said, and so being able to just give them their responsibility, they know what their roles are and let them go do their jobs. I think it's really important for me. It's really important for them to know that I support them and that I'm just here to be a resource and try to help them if I can. And if I can’t, then I'm going to learn from them. So, it's been it's been great in terms of just trying to put that into motion here. I think the players and coaches know it's not going to be that way. I'm not Bill [Belichick], and I can't be, so I’m not going to try and I just want to try to be myself and hopefully I can be a good leader for our team.”

Q: Chandler Jones and Davante Adams, two superstars, but they come in with no ego and have quickly become leaders. What's it say about their work ethic and character that team is already following them?

Coach McDaniels: “They're really good people. They're great human beings. They come in to work and they don't presume to be treated any differently. I think that's a great thing. It speaks a lot to their teammates. They want to be one of the guys and if they do something wrong, we correct them just like we would correct someone else. They don't want to be receiving special treatment and I think that really helps the messaging, and they're willing to take time with other players. They're also really two of our hardest workers. So, they're out there busting their butt, they're trying to learn and improve in their own role in the system and then help others along the way. But their presence here speaks a lot to what their goals are. They want to help our team improve. They want to improve individually and try to make their units as good as they can be. Two huge acquisitions, among others. As you see, there's a lot of new people out there, obviously, that are working really hard. But really excited to coach both of those guys and see how they can acclimate as Raiders this year.”

Q: During the off-season, you mentioned the importance of getting to know Derek Carr and building that human relationship. You're now getting into the football aspect of Derek Carr. How is that relationship going and just that interaction going from a football standpoint?

Coach McDaniels: “Great. I really enjoy him in every way. He's a great human being and he's a really smart football player. You don't have to say it five times for him to get it. There's a natural way he learns that it's pretty easy for a coach, and he's a great leader. His teammates follow him. He's a competitive guy. He wants to do it the way you want it done, which I love that about him. He knows that I'll give him some grey, but he doesn’t want the grey, he wants, ‘Hey, tell me exactly how you want it done and I'm going try to do it that way.’ So, just a great process. Really excited about the time I've got to spend with him so far and looking forward to developing that relationship more and more as we go. Very coach-able guy. Like I said, sets the bar high, here early, stays late, does everything you could ask of him.”

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