Raiders Head Coach Rich Bisaccia (12.20.21)

Opening statement:

“I would like to start this off by just [saying] late last night, (Raiders LB) Will Compton called me and went down to his room. He lost his mom sometime between 10 and 11 o’clock last night. It was a long night for him and he ended up going home this morning. He went back to Nashville and drove with his wife over to St. Louis to be with his dad and his brothers. Our condolences to him and his family. It was difficult for him. We talked to the team about it this morning. Also, we saw (Browns DE) Takk McKinley get carted off today. We sure hope he’s okay. He is a great player – really well respected in the league and certainly well respected by us in our locker room. We hope he’s doing okay. Other than that, about the game, [I am] real excited for our guys. To win a game in that fashion and to play with the effort that they played with all the way to the bitter end, even when it looked like it was probably going to go the other way. To come back and have a drive to stop them and get the punt out. Then, to have a drive and go down and give (Raiders K) Daniel Carlson a chance to hit a field goal. Well done by our players. Real excited for them. Right now, again it’s been a long time coming to win a game like that at the end. I can’t say enough about how they played. We ended up minus two in the turnovers. It’s difficult to win a game when you do that. We had some issues back there with (Raiders WR) Hunter (Renfrow) catching the ball. It was a lefty punter. There was a little bit of a swirl of the wind. Still at the end, I thought he made a great decision to get his hands on the ball even after the ball was bounced. It saved us some field position. Defense held right before the half and gave up a missed field goal there by them. Obviously now, you look at the end of the game and it ended up being a big deal for us. The first stop by our defense to start the game and then a big punt return by Hunter. Then the first drive for us on offense to go down and hit a touchdown was certainly big for us. With that being said, I’ll answer any questions you may have.”


On Raiders DT Johnathan Hankins making a big play on third down to stop Browns RB Nick Chubb:

“Yeah, it’s the second time, right? Go to the Dallas game and Hank makes a big play in the second and came back out on the screen. I just think we’re always thinking he’s going to do that right now. That’s the way he’s been playing all year. He’s been a force inside and I thought he played again to the bitter end for us and made a big play.”


On how the team responded to the hectic schedule this past week:

“I think they had a right to speak their mind when that particular thing happened. I thought they did a really good job of coming back to work yesterday and resetting to some degree. Credit to our defense. We weren’t sure what quarterback we were going to play against and we tried to prepare for all of them. Credit to the Browns before. They’ve gone to Pittsburgh a year ago with a lot of COVID issues with coaches and players and came out and won that game. They came out today and they played really good football, really physical football. It was a battle to the end for both teams. Credit to our team in preparing for some degree jersey numbers. They probably had to do the same thing. We lost (CB Nate) Hobbs this morning. We didn’t know that was going to happen. They didn’t know that was going to happen. We lost Will Compton last night. Again, just jersey numbers and to some degree nameless, faceless players, except we all know who 95 (Browns DE Myles Garrett) is for them. Credit to our guys for the way they finished the game.”


On the team’s confidence in Raiders K Daniel Carlson:

“Well said. I think our team has a great belief in Daniel. They see the way he practices. I think they have a great belief in the battery from (Raiders LS) Trent (Sieg) to (Raiders P) AJ (Cole III) and then to Daniel. They get to see them in practice and can see the way they work, the way they handle themselves in meetings and carry themselves when it’s a miss, and the way they carry themselves when it’s good. I think we all thought we were going to have a good chance to go out there and kick a 48-yarder. I’m excited that he made both.”


On the rapport between Raiders QB Derek Carr and Raiders WR Zay Jones especially in big spots:

“I think they’d like to have a catch or two back. I think we’d like to have a first down back and finish the play, but they have great chemistry. We had a couple uncharacteristic drops, I thought today as well, where we had a chance for a couple big plays. I know (Raiders WR) DeSean (Jackson) was open across the middle and he had a big play for us, but I know he’d like to have that one back where it was a drop. We’ll look at all those things and get back to work. There is a good chemistry and hopefully we’ll foster that with some plays as well. We’ll see what the injury status is for some of our guys when we get back home.”


On Daniel Carlson struggling with the wind pregame and whether there was a range determined for the last drive:

“Yeah, we always know. We certainly confer with him. The wind is always changing a little bit during the game. I think they took the ball to start the game when they won the toss. They took the ball because they wanted to go in that direction in the fourth quarter. We had some conversations about that as well. If we had won the toss, who knows what would have happened. We always know and it’ll change, so we know at the end of the second half also when he warms up, what his range will be regardless of where we’re going. But in that situation, we hope to get the ball to the 40 and we’re going to take a shot at a field goal and give them a chance to win.”


On the initial injury prognosis on Raiders QB Derek Carr:

“I think he got his ankle caught. It sounded like he got his ankle caught, from the guys upstairs that saw it. He came out for a little bit. They checked him out and said Carr is back up. So he’s up, he’s in.”


On confidence in the offense when they got the ball back after giving up an interception:

“Again, we had been moving the ball all day. We just had some drops and some plays we would love to have back. I think we were real disappointed in the drive before that. We threw the ball way down the field and got an interception. It was really bad by us. We’ll look at that and hopefully do a better job at that. I just think anytime we get on the field, even though we’ve been sputtering at times, we feel like we’re going to get ourselves in field goal range and at least have a chance to win it.”


On tonight being a good example of what he has been preaching about staying the process:

“We’d like to think so. We all know when we go out there, how important it is to win a game, or we wouldn’t we playing them. We’re all pro football players and we understand situation we’re in, what the race looks like. Again, we’ve been playing to the bitter end. A week ago is a week ago. We get a big play towards the end, uncharacteristic a little bit and gave up a gap. It was just a matter of time before Cleveland was going to come out and try to run the ball down our throat for as long as they could. They had some good drives and did a good job there at the end of the fourth quarter, but our defense held when they had to and forced a punt. Then our offense came down and gave Daniel a chance to win it. I’d like to think we’re just going to keep playing to the bitter end and see what happens.”


On how he feels about how everything was handled regarding the postponement:

“You know, I learned a long time ago that if I can’t control it, it’s nothing to really get too worked up about. We tried to convey that to our players. Here was a situation that was dealt to us, and then how are we going to respond to it. Again, credit to them. They did a great job. We gave them the day off when we didn’t get on the plane. Guys came in the next day and kind of treated it like another Friday on their own. They got their lifts in,  they got their body work done. Then yesterday we kind of reset the whole morning. We started at 7:30 or 8 in the morning and we kind of went ahead like it was the day before. Well, like it was the day before the day before. A lot of credit goes to them. They did a great job of resetting their focus and getting on a plane and getting ready to play a game.”


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