The Oakland Raiders have the last-ranked defense in the NFL.
They are last against the pass and 27th against the rush, hardly what anyone would expect from a team guided by defensive-minded Jack Del Rio. And it’s hardly what Del Rio expected, either.
‘We’ve given up some gifts’
The coach is confident, however, that much better days are ahead for the Raiders’ D.
“We’ve given up some — I called them gifts — this week,” Del Rio, in reference to the Raiders’ 34-31 victory against the San Diego Chargers, told Jim Miller and Pat Kirwan on Movin’ The Chains. “Not wanting to play Santa Claus anymore. But honestly, it’s really been some gifts. I mean, we’ve been pretty solid in a lot of other areas and pretty good on third down. We’ve been decent in the red zone. We’ve got a group that’s going to be tough to run against.
‘You’re not going to be able to sustain stuff on us’
“You’re not going to really be able to sustain stuff on us and we’re going to play better football as we go. But we’ve had a couple of communication issues. We do have some younger players that are playing. And those things end up sounding like excuses and I don’t really like to talk about it like that.
“I just say that we’re a good group that will come together and will play better, much better football as we go through the year and become a strength of this team.”
Turner: Treadwell will make an impact on Vikings’ offense going forward
Rookie wide receiver Laquon Treadwell has yet to catch a pass for the Minnesota Vikings.
That should be changing in the not-too-distant future.
‘I think he’s really doing well’
Vikings offensive coordinator Norv Turner sees the first-round draft pick from Mississippi having a role in the offense this season.
“I think he’s really doing well,” Turner told Jim Miller and Pat Kirwan on Movin’ The Chains during the Vikings’ bye this week. “We kind of practiced against each other (Tuesday), and he caught four or five balls and he caught crossing routes and he caught balls over the middle, change-of-direction type things. He’s going to be a factor in our season.
‘We’re fortunate that we have other guys really playing well’
“I think we’re fortunate right now that we have some other guys really playing well and he hasn’t had to go in there and play as a young guy. But he’s growing up. I think, when he’s called on, he’s going to do well.”
Stephen Jones: Cowboys have a ‘great, great situation’ at quarterback
For some teams, the pressure of wanting to get a veteran quarterback like Tony Romo back in the lineup as quickly as possible would be enormous.
The Dallas Cowboys have, in fact, felt that pressure before and were guilty of having him return too soon from injury.
‘We’ll just continue to monitor’ how Romo does
But they aren’t feeling it now, thanks to the outstanding performance of rookie Dak Prescott. As Cowboys executive vice president, CEO, and director of player personnel Stephen Jones explained to Jim Miller and Pat Kirwan on Movin’ The Chains, the team can afford to be patient as it awaits Romo’s return from a broken bone in his back.
“Our initial thoughts on Tony were looking at that eight-week time frame, seven- to eight-week time frame, and we’ll just continue to monitor how he does,” Jones said. “Obviously, we’ve got a great, great situation here with the young guy playing well and winning football games for us.
‘People have been critical of us pushing Tony back too soon’
“In the past, I think people have been critical of us maybe pushing Tony back too soon like last year when he rushed back and then got hurt again, so all these things are things that we’ll take a look at as we move forward. We just are obviously very fortunate to just have a great situation here with a good, young quarterback playing well while we have one of the best veteran quarterbacks in the league not having to push to hurry up and get back in terms of him being at his very best when he ultimately does get back.”
D’Qwell Jackson isn’t worried about GM’s comments about Colts’ defense
Indianapolis Colts linebacker D’Qwell Jackson took no offense to the recent comment by General Manager Ryan Grigson that the team’s defense suffers because the team has to pay so much to its franchise quarterback, Andrew Luck.
Jackson is realistic about the circumstances with the Colts. It’s nothing new for the organization. It’s a structure that has been in place since before he and Grigson arrived in Indianapolis.
‘The football gods sprinkled football dust on this organization’
“We all know, defensively, being here in Indy, the football gods sprinkled the football dust on this organization, having a quarterback like Peyton Manning for 15 years and now Andrew Luck,” Jackson told Ross Tucker and Brady Quinn on the SiriusXM Blitz. “We understand the situation we’re in. We’ve got to do a great job of playing great team defense.
“And, yeah, he made the comment. I’ve got enough to deal with getting these guys around me prepared to play, get us on the same page, communicate well. We have a saying, ‘As long as we’re all wrong, we’re all right.’ If we’re all playing the same defense, if we’re all playing the technique, things will take care of itself. And it’s early in the season, so our focus is on getting to .500 and stringing some wins together.
“But it doesn’t bother me whatsoever.”
‘We have to do a better job of tackling’
What is of far greater concern to Jackson is the Colts’ defense being more consistent with its performance.
“To help us, we have to do a better job, including myself, of tackling,” he said. “Fundamental football, not beating ourselves. If we have a gap-control defense, stay in your gap, do your job. I think that’s where we can get better at. Just like each and every week, even if we win games, there’s always areas to improve in. I think, you look at the positives, in the red zone, I think we’ve been playing fairly well — not giving up touchdowns, but three points — and it showed. It came into effect in the wins we’ve had this year. … We’ve just got to find our groove.”
Featured Image Credit: AP Photo/James Kenney, File