HENDERSON, Nev. — The Las Vegas Raiders enter week two of the 2022 NFL schedule with a 0-1 record. But the sample size was just one game, from a brutal 17-game regular season.
OC Mick Lombardi took the time after rewatching the film to talk about the state of the Las Vegas Raiders defense.
You can watch his entire press conference below and read the transcript.
Offensive Coordinator Mick Lombardi
Q: What was your opinion of the performance of the offensive line?
Lombardy: “I thought those days the guys were very competitive. They pass well protected, they fought hard in the running game, it’s definitely not an easy task against [Joey] Bosa and [Khalil] Mack and that forehead; very good, very talented. But they did a good job. They anchored, they struck. As far as assignments go, they were very clean. They fought hard for 60 minutes and they competed, which I thought they would do, and they did. So I’m very happy with the offensive line and the seven guys that played.”
Q: Is there a preference for five guys defending to be starters on the offensive line?
Lombardy“No, I think ultimately we’re trying to figure out what’s the best thing for the team to win. And I think, like [Head] Coach [Josh McDaniels] said, all seven guys deserved to play. Not because they were training, but because they performed well. Not just in pre-season games – I think you’ve all seen that – but also on the training ground. And we thought you know what, ‘bringing all these guys in there to try and establish some kind of consistency by playing them all like we do in practice’. So nothing they are not used to. They all got reps in training equally, and they got it in the game, which obviously was beneficial, and they played really well.”
Q: Can Davante Adams still be better the more Hunter Renfrow and Darren Waller are implemented so people can’t just touch him?
Lombardy: “Davante is a special player and he obviously had a number of goals, and that’s how the game started in terms of coverage. And then as the game went on, you saw Darren get a few more targets and then Hunter got some more targets later in the game, and even saw Mack Hollins get a target early in the game. I thought Derek [Carr] did a really good job of going where the covers took him. I think at the end of the day, it’s like you say, what other guys can do and what Davante can do. I think it’s just executing their work based on the cover and Derek is doing a good job of reading the cover the right way, so I think everything takes care of itself.”
Q: Did you have to step away from the running game because of the early deficit?
Lombardy: “I think if you look at the first practice of the game, we moved the ball down the field, got points on the basket. Obviously, I would have liked to have the ball in the end zone. And then the next time we had the ball, we gave up a penalty, we held on, we gave up a third-and-long sack. And then the next series, we were saved and we just didn’t convert on that third and short, which sort of stalled the player. The next thing you know is that you’re in for a final two-minute shooting opportunity at the end of the second quarter. We obviously didn’t have many plays in the first, and we had the turnover there on the interception. We just had a number of plays in the first half, and depending on the opportunities we had, we ran the ball down the back. We did a decent job moving the ball downfield on the first drive. But in terms of sample size in the first half, we didn’t really have enough plays or series to establish what we wanted. And then when we came out in the second half, obviously we’re down and trying to play football and get a good practice, which we did.”
Q: Watching a movie, what did you and Derek Carr see about interceptions?
Lombardy: “I think when a player makes a mistake he goes back and thinks about it. As a coach you want to try to solve the problems. There were a number of games, I think Derek – I’m sure he told you; I know he told you – would have stuck to his progressions, stuck to his reading, stuck to his feet and all that kind of stuff. goes for any quarterback. He obviously knows that and so we’re going to try to work hard to do it consistently, game by game.”
Q: Will it be a point of emphasis this week to involve more players in the passing game?
Lombardy: “Yeah, I think it’s our job as coaches to try to put players in certain places to be successful. Where we put them in the formation of the game in the passing game, we think there’s going to be some coverage, and we kind of hope for some coverage for this game, and then all of a sudden now this move on. Whether it’s a post zone, split zone, whatever he might get you, and then that cover, that game, I’d say can go to a different player, just like Mack Hollins on the third down in the game. He was at the back of the progression, Derek [Carr] did a great job of reading through his progress. Next thing you know, he catches a 16-yard cut for a first down. It’s just kind of how the game plays out and we try to put players in the right places to give them the football, whether it’s Hunter [Renfrow] Darren [Waller]Mac [Hollins] and Davante [Adams]. And then if it doesn’t go that way, then the quarterback trusts his footwork and trusts his eyes and he gets to exactly where the covers dictate.”
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Q: What did you see on the bags? Were some of them the fault of the offensive line or were they coverage sacks?
Lombardy: “The offensive line at the end of the day, when you throw the ball almost 40 times, there will be times when the pocket is pushed and especially when the defense knows you throw it. Coverage dictated the sack and go back to everybody doing the right thing. Whether the quarterback makes the easy throw or the catcher runs the right route to the right depth. It all comes into play. And the next thing you know, we gave up negative yards on the only gimmick play we ran on Davante’s backhand [Adams]. But other than that, really, I think the offensive line did a good job of grounding themselves and staying in there. And then obviously we would like to get the ball out more on time, more consistently.”
Q: Where do you stand if the holders were to play in pre-season?
Lombardy: “I mean, look, Davante [Adams] did not play pre-season. It’s like that. I think at the end of the day, all of these guys have played a lot of football and they’ve been training here every day since training camp for a lot of reps and things like that. So I think they’re prepared and ready to go.”
Q: What do you think about all seven guys earning their right to play on the offensive line? When you watched the movie, was there a unit that stood out among the groups you had there?
Lombardy: “I think it goes back to I think they all played the way they trained. They all played consistently the way we thought they would. I think they earned the right to do that, and they won the right to play again this week.”
Q: How did all the communication and logistics work on the sidelines in the first game of the season?
Lombardy: “In pre-season you try to work through all these issues. But on opening day you always get these butterflies of, ‘Okay, here we go. It’s real now.’ But everything was clean and flowing; the coaching staff did a great job of getting everything communicated and going. Obviously this was the first time we had all worked together – not my first time with the Coach McDaniels, but all of us as an attacking team together on the pitch and in the press box, it all went pretty well from that point of view.
Q: Can you get out of this game and be encouraged by effort and play?
Lombardy: “As a coach in particular you try to preach about certain things like ball safety and execution. We failed in some of those areas but as a coach you go back and watch the tape and say, ‘Did this team compete and play hard?’ And I think they did. So there’s a lot of credit to them. The Chargers did the same too. Much credit to this coaching staff, Coach [Brandon] Staley and them, getting them ready to leave. But to your point, yes. You can create positives, and I think the positive is that we have guys who like to play football and who will play hard for us.”
Q: How difficult is it for the offensive line to withstand the five-man pressure that Arizona likes to use on defense?
Lombardy: “I mean, Arizona presents a number of different things defensively than what we just faced. It’s every week in the NFL. I think at the end of the day it comes down to following your rules. We have rules for the offensive line and the same for the skill guys. We think it’s going to be a front, it could be something different. We think it’s going to be a cover; it could be something different. But if you follow your rules in that specific route, or that passing concept, that protection, then hopefully those things can carry you through for that series or that game.”
Q: Do you have any information on the status of André James?
The Las Vegas Raiders (0-1) kicked off at home at Allegiant Stadium on Sunday against the Arizona Cardinals (0-1) at 1:25 p.m. PT.
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