|12-01-2004, 04:49 PM||#2|
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Q&A QB Trent Green
Dec 01, 2004, 4:19:28 PM
OAKLAND CONFERENCE CALL
Q: You’re listed a questionable on the injury report. Do you anticipate being ready to play?
GREEN: “That’s just part of league policy. I took a couple knocks in the game, but I anticipate playing.”
Q: What is the status of RB Priest Holmes?
GREEN: “I don’t know; we haven’t hit the field yet today. I don’t know where Priest stands. He hasn’t practiced up to this point in the previous weeks, so I’m anticipating Derrick (Blaylock) and Larry (Johnson) doing most of the work. And if Priest gets healthy by the end of the week, I’m pretty sure they’ll find a way to get him in there if he feels up to it.”
Q: What has RB Derrick Blaylock’s contribution meant to the team?
GREEN: “It’s been big. I think the thing for us is that Derrick has been in the system for four years and when he’s been given the opportunity, he’s played very well – if you look even to last season. He spent so much time in the system. Earlier this year he had 90 yards and four touchdowns against Atlanta. Then the first game he played against the (New Orleans) Saints he came in and had around 180 yards. He’s done very well. Where we haven’t done so well is our Red Zone production and that’s the area where Priest is the best in. So he has definitely hurt us not being in there, but I thought both Derrick and Larry Johnson ran well last week and we’ve just got to find more ways to get in the end zone.”
Q: Can you explain the frustration of this season?
GREEN: “Well, it definitely has been frustrating. If you talk to everybody as a group or individually, it’s just been a very frustrating year. When you come in with the anticipation and the expectation that we had this season, it would be very similar with what happened to Oakland a year ago. How you were coming off a Super Bowl team, had high expectations and everything gradually fell apart as the season went along. That’s kind of where we think we are right now. We’re very frustrated to be in the position we’re in. It would be different if we were getting blown out every game, but I think every game has been within 10 points or under a touchdown. It’s just been very frustrating to know that so many games could have gone either way and not being able to finish it and get the job done. Then you look at the three teams we have beaten, all three of those will probably be in the playoffs.”
Q: It seems hard to put your finger on what’s been wrong?
GREEN: “Yeah, I know, I wish I could explain it. It’s frustrating. Going into the New England game, I think our record was 0-4 against teams with a losing record and yet we were 3-2 against teams with a winning record. And that’s just continued (to fall) these last couple weeks – New England got us and San Diego got us. Both games were close games that we easily could have won if we didn’t make crucial mistakes. I wish I could put my finger on it; we could have fixed it weeks ago. Similar to you guys a year ago, our expectations were through the roof and we expected nothing short of making the playoffs and winning the division and having the good things continue. It just hasn’t happened that way.”
Q: Does it put extra pressure on the offense to produce with the way the defense has played?
GREEN: “I don’t know if I necessarily look at it as an individual thing. I know we as an offensive group, every time we take the field, we’re trying to produce points. Whether it be a field goal or a touchdown and it doesn’t necessarily fall on a lack of confidence in our defense, it falls more on the point that we’re confident in what we’re doing as an offense and our ability to move the ball. That’s been the frustrating thing; we’ve been in some games where we’ve scored lots of points and haven’t been able to finish it in the fourth quarter and we’ve been in others where we’ve had the yardage but we didn’t produce the points. Both those scenarios get very frustrating for us as a group. But to say we put undo pressure on ourselves, (I say) ‘No.’”
Q: What are your impressions of the Oakland defense?
GREEN: “I think what they’re doing is playing with a lot of emotion. They’re playing very aggressive. They’re doing a great job mixing it up. If you look at this last stretch of games which are the only one I’ve seen, they change every week. They do some 3-4 defense, they do some 4-3 defense, they bring nickel and dime packages in. They’re shifting around; bringing pressure in situations you don’t normally bring pressure. They’re just basically keeping offenses guessing; they’ve done a good job mixing it up. They’ve got a lot of talent over there – and some young talent in some guys that are playing with a lot of speed and flying with the ball.”
Q: Despite your record this season it appears that your team is still a very close-knit group, can you explain that?
GREEN: “Well that’s the thing that Coach Vermeil has stressed since day one when he got in here. That we’re going to do this as a team. We’re going to turn the program around as a team; we started out 6-10, then went to 8-8 and then 13-3 and I think that’s the one thing he’s really built up with the personnel and the people he’s got in here both from a coaching standpoint and a player standpoint. We’re all in this together. It couldn’t have been made more clear a year ago when we were 13-3 and everybody was talking about the offense and how well we were doing. Then we went to the playoff game against Indianapolis and everybody wanted to blame the defense. As an offense we had to say listen, ‘We had two opportunities to score points, two possessions we had to score points – a missed field goal and a fumble – had we scored on those we think we would have won the game.’ Never at any time over the last three seasons has the offense pointed a finger at the defense and I think because of the kind of players coach has brought in and the atmosphere he’s built around here, we’re all in this together, we’re all messing this thing up together. Whether it be the offense turning the ball over or having dumb penalties, or the defense getting penalties or giving up the big play or the special teams giving up a big play. We’re all in this together, whether it’s good or bad and that’s really the mindset he’s put in here since he got here in 2001.”
Q: Oakland head coach Norv Turner gave you your first starting assignment when you both were in Washington, what do you remember about your first season as a starter?
GREEN: “Well the thing I remember most about that year (’98) is the injuries we had to veteran players and how the young guys and inexperienced guys like myself responded in that situation. We had – if you would ask Norv (Turner), he would know better than me – I think over that 16-game season we never had the same starting offensive line in back-to-back games, there was always someone hurt or rotating, getting back healthy and moving somebody over to guard. There was no real continuity in terms of the offensive line. We had Terry Allen as our running back, he ended up getting hurt. He had Stephen Davis, who obviously turned into an All-Pro tailback after Larry Bowie broke his leg, Stephen Davis was playing fullback. Skip Hicks was a rookie out of UCLA starting at tailback for us. Westbrook broke his neck so we had James Thrash, who hadn’t played up to that point. It was basically a bunch of young guys who hadn’t gotten much playing time, so we were excited about being on the field, we were excited about getting an opportunity to play in the NFL. Everybody just played with a great deal of enthusiasm because nobody ever gave us any chances. We were a bunch of guys nobody had ever heard of and everybody just responded very well and when given the opportunity just stepped up.”
Q: How did Norv react to you taking over the starting job, with all the injuries that season?
GREEN: “I don’t recall a particular incident or way he would have changed. I think he, from my memory, pretty much stayed the same. Even though that was my first year starting, that was my fourth year with him. Because as the third quarterback for three seasons, I had been on the headset with him calling in plays, sending the plays in to the quarterback, because I had a great deal of communication with him either through meetings or in practices and games because it was my job to communicate what he wanted to the quarterback. When I got in there, it didn’t seem like it had changed all that much because I had already had that communication built up with him. The way he coached me or reacted to me really didn’t change much.”
Q: How has this season affected Coach Vermeil?
GREEN: “He tries to maintain as much as he can. Like we talked about early in this conversation, it’s frustrating for everybody and I know for him especially. I know he made the comment in training camp that he felt this was his best team at that point in the season. For us not to play like he expected has been very hard on him. He’s been as frustrated or more frustrated that anybody. When that happens he even gets more emotional than he normally does. We think we owe it to him to finish this thing out as best we can. Everybody asks us ‘What are we playing for?’ There are many things. You’re playing for your job number one because when this (season) is all said and done, players are going to be released, they’re going to move on because of free agency. Last year we went 13-3 and yet we had 15 new players, whether you win or lose that’s just the way this league works. We have the responsibility to get the job done every week. It’s definitely been hard on coach.”
Q: Do you think Coach Vermeil will be back for another season in 2005?
GREEN: “Well I know he signed a two-year extension last year. He has made no indication to us as a team or to me personally, because I tend to talk to him more than some of the other players, and he hasn’t hinted around or given any indication that he’s not going to finish out that contract. In terms of extending it, there hasn’t been any of that talk, either. So, I would just anticipate him finishing out the one year (2005) and at the end of that season, him sitting down with (GM) Carl (Peterson) and (owner) Lamar (Hunt) to figure out what direction they want to go in, but every indication is he’ll be back.”
Q: Are Norv Turner and Al Saunders similar in their style of play calling?
GREEN: “Yes and no. I know that’s kind of a cop-out, but they both have an aggressive nature in terms of their play calling. They would like to get downfield; they would like to keep defenses guessing. They both do a real good job in terms of play calling, calling plays in a timely manner. Being able to read defenses and know when a good time for a specific call would be. I really enjoyed my time with Norv. I owe him as much as anybody in this league for me being where I am. Those four years I had with him were invaluable. He taught me so much, not only about the mental part of the game but also the physical part of the game and just playing the quarterback position. I owe a great deal to him.”
|12-01-2004, 05:14 PM||#3|
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Hey look it's a one legged punter! Oh wiat! It's the karate kid.....
|12-01-2004, 06:53 PM||#6|
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Q. Did you envision this type of season at all?
DICK VERMEIL: “I think only a few times did we ever get beat by truly a better team. But we’re minus seven in turnovers, six times have we turned the ball over in the Red Zone going into score. When you do those things you normally don’t win. It’s disappointing and a problem we’ve got to solve.
“I thought we would be a better football team, but I didn’t think we’d win as many games because we had a much tougher schedule and, also, tougher locations at which to play at critical times. But I thought we’d still be a very good football team and I thought we’d be a playoff team. I still think this is a pretty good football team, but we’re not a playoff team for a number of reasons, number one, because we’re minus seven in turnovers and we’ve given up too many big plays on defense. When you do those things you don’t normally make the playoffs.
“It disappoints you. You beat three winning teams and lose to some losing teams. You play the San Diego Chargers here and you’ve got the lead in the fourth quarter and you don’t get it done. You have to respect those that get it done and keep evaluating yourself as a head football coach and what you’re doing and what you’re not getting done, so that you can provide the opportunity for your team to win. That’s where I am right now.”
Q: How much has the injury to Priest Holmes determined your record today?
VERMEIL: “We don’t use it as an excuse and we have some fine young players that play behind him. We don’t use it as an excuse for not playing well or not winning. You miss him, that’s all. We’ve got a lot of horsepower in our offense and have always been either the one, two or three ranked offense in the league for the last three years in scoring and everything. When you lose a little horsepower you’re not quite as good. You never know what play that a great back can make a difference in a specific drive. Maybe it’s a 10-yard run that is made that next week is only a four-yard run. You just don’t know. We miss him and, hopefully, he’ll be back soon.
Q: Evaluate the Raiders.
VERMEIL: “Better in the passing game, playing better on defense where they’re not giving up as many big plays. They look like they’re really starting to fit into the scheme. Sometimes it takes a while. You can’t duplicate game day on the practice field, so sometimes it takes a while. But they’re obviously playing better; I was impressed with how they played in tough conditions and in a tough place Sunday night.”
Q: Does playing the Raiders give you any extra motivation, especially with a team that needs a win as bad as yours does?
VERMEIL: “I think the Raiders are in the same boat that we are. They’re coming off a big win. We both have pretty much the same record. They’ve won one more game than we have. So, we both have pretty good motivation just to win a football game.”
Q: But because there has been in the past a Chiefs-Raiders rivalry, does that….
VERMEIL: “I think that exists. I think there is a Chiefs-Raiders rivalry like there are in the other divisions. I think the players as the week goes – especially the veterans – will move that tradition down to the 15 or 16 new kids we have on the roster. I think they know they’re playing the Raiders.”
Q: Has Gunther Cunningham let them know that?
VERMEIL: “He worked for the Raiders, but I don’t know what frame of mind that left him in. I haven’t heard him say a word about it. I know Al Saunders has coached against them for a number of years. To me, it only matters how you play on Sunday.”
Q: Is it good to play an opponent like that after four weeks when your hopes are pretty much dashed?
VERMEIL: “In terms of the rivalry, I think rivalries always help you a little bit. In terms of looking at the Raiders any different than we looked at the San Diego Chargers? No. We don’t look at teams – at least I don’t – and stack ‘em one way or the other, especially when you’re struggling like we are.”
Q: Do you think some rivalries have changed because of free agency and player movement?
VERMEIL: “I think it has changed some, yeah. A third of the roster changes every year. I think it’s harder to hold onto those old traditions, but this organization from ownership to management on down has always been a Raider rivalry organization and I’m sure it’s the same for the Raiders.”
Q: It looks like you may go into this game with two new safeties since your starters don’t look healthy. What do you do?
VERMEIL: “Dexter McCleon will be the third safety. He was prepared to do it as we got going last week. He worked there some today.”
Q: Are the Raiders a different team with Collins than they are with Gannon?
VERMEIL: “Collins is a downfield thrower and a good one. There isn’t a ball he can’t throw down field: the posts, the corners, the fades, the streaks. He has a very strong arm. In fact, I broadcast probably the finest college game he ever played. It was an unbelievable college football game and he brought ‘em back in the final drive of a fourth quarter against Illinois on a Saturday night. He played well last week.”
Q: Are they at all different with him because of his abilities?
VERMEIL: “I don’t know. The Raiders in the old days were always a vertical down-the- field passing team. They changed over a few years with Gannon and now with Norv Turner there he’s always placed a real strong emphasis on the running game, play-action and going down field. Probably they’ll be a blend fitting it in with Collins.”
Q: When you were with St. Louis and were looking at Trent Green did you talk to Norv about him?
VERMEIL: “Remember, they wanted to keep him (in Washington). There was hope that they could keep him there. But Norv has always been very positive about anybody I’ve ever asked him about if he felt he should be positive. Norv’s not a con man in any way. I remember asking him about Mike Martz and he didn’t want to lose him but he gave him a good recommendation. I vaguely remember talking to him about Trent but I think it was after everything. Norv’s not a BSer in any way, very matter of fact.”
Q: How’s Kris Wilson doing?
VERMEIL: “He’s a little hobbly today, not as good as he was last week prior to stinging the ankle.”
Q: Was he getting ready to play before that?
VERMEIL: “There would have been a possibility but with other injuries you just can’t afford to suit him up unless he can play linebacker, defensive line, or safety.”
Q: Do you envision he will get some opportunities?
VERMEIL: “There’s a possibility but it depends when other guys get back.”
Q: In terms of his long-term development, what do you want to do with him? How much would you have liked to have gotten him healthy this year?
VERMEIL: “I’ve seen enough of him to know he’s a good football player and going to be. Right now there are other crisis areas. It’s not that he’s not important but there are more important things to get done in the near future.”
Q: How about Samie Parker?
VERMEIL: “I’d like to see him play, but he’s been on the 53-man roster all along. He was active last week and he looks like he is ready to play. But right now on a 46-man roster, if we’ve got a healthy body who can help on special teams and at defensive positions then that player has to suit up.”
Q: Do you envision him dressing Sunday?
VERMEIL: “There’s a possibility because we’ve got so many guys who can’t play. You can suit up everybody. Do you want to play?
Q: How’s Steve Cheek?
VERMEIL: “He punted today and he was OK. I was concerned but he punted and punted well today. But his foot is bothering him.”
Q: Do you expect him to go on Sunday?
VERMEIL: “Right now I do, but I have some people on hold just in case.”
Q: Did Samie Parker pick up the offense as well as you would like? Is that what’s keeping off the field?
VERMEIL: “No, it’s just that I’d have to put Chris Horn down and Chris Horn can play all three wide receiver positions plus he’s really good on special teams plus he can returns punts and is on the kickoff return team. He got a nice block on the kickoff return for a touchdown.
Samie’s not that guy. That’s the negative of the 46-man rule. I felt very comfortable and told Charlie (Joiner) if we need him in any situation…..but he’s limited to one position.”
Q: Lawrence Tynes missed another PAT last week. What’s your assessment on how he’s played this year?
VERMEIL: “Well, I thought he has done a really good job overall. He’s had some bad kickoffs and some good ones. I told him this morning in the meeting if he gets another one like that I’m going over to Rockhurst High School and get their PAT kicker because high school guys don’t miss ‘em.
“There’s just no excuse in missing a PAT. I think sometime guys take it for granted that it’s going to go through and they’re not focused. He already had made a field goal. You’ve got to put it through.”
Q: No regrets on keeping him around?
VERMEIL: “I think he could be a good kicker and I think he’s done some good kicking. He’s our kickoff guy, so I would have had to cut somebody else on the roster. The punting situation didn’t work out with (Jason) Baker. He’s not punting in the league any more either. He’s kicking off somewhere – in Indianapolis. Morten (Andersen) isn’t kicking off in Minnesota either. Sometimes things don’t work out perfectly, but you should make your extra points. You miss one, OK. Miss two, no. Miss three, I’ll kill him.”
Q: The Raiders said they don’t expect Tyrone Wheatley to play. Is that a factor in your preparation?
VERMEIL: “They haven’t been running a ton anyway. Wheatley is a big strong physical guy and a good football player. None of us can afford to lose our running back. There have been a few teams and we’re fortunate to have Derrick Blaylock and now Larry (Johnson) going. But you take Wheatley out of your offense you take something out of it. They have other good runners but different style all together.”
Q: You’ve turned the ball over many times in the Red Zone this year. How do you correct that?
VERMEIL: “That’s the first time I’ve heard that statement. (laughs) We’ve had six of them. We go into playing the game smart and talking about it and selling more than probably anybody in football. We document it. A lot of players have information they could give you. But it doesn’t stop it from happening – like the two receivers getting the ball stripped, like Priest Holmes fumbling going in to score. Priest Holmes doesn’t fumble, but he did. Like Dante Hall fumbling going into score. I’ve never seen it before, but it happened. Trent Green getting the ball batted in the New Orleans game going in, Trent Green getting hit in the shoulder and throwing an interception in the goal line area. That’s all part of the game but our job is to prevent it from happening.
“It hasn’t happened to us before. It’s a new experience for me. Evidently we did something better three years in a row than we’re doing right now, cause we didn’t throw over down there. I think we darn near set a record for percentage of touchdowns going in two years in a row when we were down there. We’re coaching just as hard as ever have but it isn’t working as well.”
|12-01-2004, 07:10 PM||#7|
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A 35 year drought can make you thirsty.
|12-01-2004, 07:16 PM||#9|
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