Raiders Blog and Q&A

News, observations and reader questions about the Oakland Raiders

September 11, 2008
Ryan has his say

ALAMEDA - Rather than give you bits and pieces of the nearly 20 minute press conference with Raiders defensive coordinator Rob Ryan, here is a transcript with notes from today below.

Ryan spoke a day after Raiders head coach Lane Kiffin said owner Al Davis has input on the defensive gameplan, something that has been said off the record for some time.

Ryan also addressed his defensive calls, using the Tampa 2 (the scheme that Kiffin's father, Monte has used in Tampa Bay for years) and the pressures of being a coach.

I like Ryan. He' a fun guy to talk to and when discussing football, he really seems to know his stuff. It's easy to see why his players love him.

Without further adieu, here's Ryan:

Q: How you doing?
RYAN: Who asked that question? A little bit rough, OK? Just working extra hard and I want to make sure that we give our guys the best chance to play well. Obviously we had an embarrassing loss, didn't have good defense. We were expecting great things, and it didn't work out. Is it going to look like this for 16 weeks? I know it's not. However it came to be, we didn't play well, and that's just the way it is.

Q: How do you approach it, take them apart, encourage them, both?
RYAN: You've got to do both. The thing is, I've been in this business a long time, I'm a professional, I've dealt with bad losses before. Nobody wants to see you when you're going over that tape and you have to point things out, but you've got to get it done to move on, to do the right thing. Were we upset about our style of play? Yeah, it didn't go well. And I've seen some comments out there, some days you guys aren't perfect. I know you're the best at your profession. I am too. I'm man enough to stay up here and say, `I didn't have a good game.' That's kind of (expletive) obvious. I'm sure there's times where you put your work out there that sometimes it doesn't work out like Pulitzer Prize stuff either. Only difference is, you guys, when you're out there, you can hit spell check. After I call a bad one, I can't hit spell check. That's a big difference. I've seen a lot of things out there, written, and there's styles of play, guys, that are different. Our style of play is putting our players, which we have a strong belief in, to win one-on-one matchups and that's how we're best. Last year we lost six games by giving up one offensive touchdown, something like that. We've played Denver five times in a row, before last week, where we hold them to 19, 18 points a game, probably play them better than anybody does. So it didn't go well. But I've seen, 'Tampa, ah, let's play Tampa.' The three worst plays we had last week, we were in (Tampa) `2.' There's a lot of people that want to be experts at my job and I understand that, it comes the territory. And when the whole stadium is booing my name, I kind of got the message. Understand this, guys. There's a chain of command that we have here in Oakland, and I'm just going to say it, that story is wrong and I usually don't read the press, especially after a (expletive) game. But that's all on me. I put the game plan in. I run the defense, and it's all on me. The meeting with the owner, during the week -- I meet with Mr. Davis in the offseason, guys. That thing is just (bull) and I want to make sure you got it right. I meet with the owner in the offseason. He's the boss, he's the man that hired me, and that's been well-documented. I don't meet with him on game plans or come up with all this. Hell, it's amazing when things like this come out when we have a bad week. Let's just be honest about it. Put it on me, that's where it belongs. I'm the man that runs the defense. I'm the man that played Tampa 2 three times and went to (expletive). OK, that's me. I'm that guy. I'm the guy that that had a max pressure in the teeth of max protection and they hit a triple move on our corner, DeAngelo Hall. That's not on him. That's on me, for just a poor call. So put it on me, and that's OK. You guys do a great job, but if it's just not right I just can't not say anything. It's been too long. I've been here five years, and I'm just going to tell you how the mode of operation works. I'm hired to be the coordinator. That's what I do. If it goes great, that's great. If it goes like (expletive), you've still got the same damn guy up here. I'll be the same guy up in front of you next week when we kick ass. But I'll be the same guy if we stumble again. Hell, I've been through some tough times. Look at this (removes hat), I've got gray. This is that National (bleeping) Football League. You're not going to be on point every week. Am I (mad) off about Monday night? You're damned right. It's on me, and come on, guys, enough's enough. Hey, my last name is Ryan. Why aren't you blitzing more? Well, a Ryan won't even blitz -- and we will blitz -- but a Ryan won't blitz in a max protection and all close receivers. Nor will anyone else. Nobody else will. The great documented Tampa coverage teams, and there's some out there that had just as (expletive) weeks than I did. You can look 'em up. Detroit, Tampa, Indianapolis. All of us lost. Our style of play is what it is, and that's me. That's Rob Ryan's style of play for our defense and for our players. Do we have great players? Yes. Every one of those guys, DeAngelo Hall, who seems to be under attack, Nnamdi Asomugha, who nobody gets a completion on. What, did they hit a hitch route on him? C'mon guys. Put it on me, let's not make up some (bull). I've been here five years, let's just get it out on the (expletive) table, and get it done with. I'm man enough to do that. Our whole team is disappointed. We have excellent players, guys working their ass off, and it didn't go well. And I'm not telling you how to do your job because you guys are great journalists. (Shoot), we had one Ryan in journalism, my older brother, and that lasted for like two months because he's a starving journalist, a football coach. Guys, I've been around this business a long time, the Ryans have six Super Bowls, I've won two of them, I've been on defenses that have been in the top one or in the top three, for sure, in run defense at least a couple of times, in pass defense -- hell, I did that here -- in total defense, in turnovers, in sacks. OK, come on. I'm not some incompetent guy standing up here and I'm getting a little bit tired of this (expletive). Put it on me for a bad performance but it ain't going to be that way every week, all right, and just come off our players. Just put it on me where it belongs and get off our players, OK?

Q: Rob, the things that are bothering you are that your players are under attack?
RYAN: "Sure, you're damned right. It's all on me."

Q: And that you don't like to blitz enough?
RYAN: "I'm going to blitz but I'm going to blitz when it's smart to do it, just like you guys will put in a picture with your story when it's the right thing to do. (Shoot), I don't know. I know my business, I don't know yours."

Q: And that whatever you do comes from you and not Al Davis?
RYAN: "It comes with me and it comes with our assistant coaches. Hell, (linebacker coach) Don Martindale has been with me for five years. We get paid to make decisions and when it goes astray, just know where to put the blame. Put it on this damned guy in front of you that is just as disappointed as anybody out there and more so. This is my profession. That's why I was embarrassed by it. That's why I felt like it was my opportunity to face the music, OK? When we kick (butt), that's cool. I don't want it. But we're going to get there, guys. We're going to get there. We had a bad game. Say whatever you want to say. We were trying some different things, and they didn't work. Did we get outschemed? Hey, say whatever you want to say. I've played this Shanahan a long time who is damned good. They got a good staff over there. Did he hit a couple of plays on me? You're darned right he did. It's the NFL, OK? But that's just the way it is. I just want to make sure that the story is legit, OK, and I'll be honest with you."

Q: Just to be clear, Al Davis doesn't have a week-to-week say on the game plan?
RYAN: "Not on a week-to-week basis, absolutely not."

Q: Occasionally?
RYAN: "When I deal with Al Davis, guys, it's in the offseason. And here's the thing: Al Davis knows football. And I'll have four-hour conversations with him in the offseason about everything in this league. About offenses, about players, about scheme, about everything, but during the week, guys, (expletive), I don't have time to talk to my wife, OK. If I'm going to make one phone call, it's going to be her, all right? That's the truth. I'm just telling you the truth. I literally had one conversation with Mr. Davis last week, and it was about (defensive tackle) Fred Wakefield."

Q: That's why we ask you, because we aren't privy to your weekly goings on?
RYAN: "OK. I understand that. I just want to say the truth. There's one Rob Ryan as far as I know and I'm the guy and I would know. That's just the way it is, and I'm going to tell the truth. I'm a smart man but I'll say I'm too dumb to lie. I'm going to tell you the damned truth and that's the way it is. To sit here and say, well, I don't know what the hell to say, what was really said. I saw one article and I'm like, '(expletive) when the (expletive) is it going to stop?' Maybe if we play good defense. OK, we'll stop it next week, then. Alright, let's go. That's the way it is, all right. If I don't blitz, then there's a reason for it. If I do, there's a reason for it. If we get beat for a damned touchdown during an all-out blitz, well, then, obviously, I had a poor call. If I hit them for a safety or whatever, all right, it was a good call. But, guys, everything I do up here is educated. It may not look like it when you give up 41 points, all right, but it's the truth. I'm doing the best job I can and I know it's good enough to win with. My legacy is going to be with this Ryan name, we've been in six Super Bowls, won five of them, five different teams, that's no accident, OK? That's no accident. Did last week look like the (expletive) '85 Bears? (Expletive) no. Come on. You know we didn't (expletive) look like the '85 Bears. OK? But (shoot), maybe it looked like the (expletive) Patriots when we won the Super Bowl and went out there and laid an egg against Cincinnati at Cincinnati, who had a (expletive) team and beat the (expletive) out of us the first game. (Note, I believe Ryan was actually referring to the Patriots losing 31-0 at Buffalo on 9/7/03) OK? Maybe it looked like that. That's the way it is. All right guys? I just want to set it straight because, damn, I've been here five years and you know what, I don't think people necessarily have the right story. I know you guys are doing your best. But (expletive) I can only speak for me. I can't speak for everybody on the team. I'm disappointed but I just wanted to tell my side of the story for once because there's so many other things that come out where I have to read it and take it and I just want the truth as I know the truth. There you go.

Q: Anything lacking effort-wise on your players part?
RYAN: Not in effort. Sometimes it looked like we were stuck in mud, I swear, the speed of the game. Denver makes you play an adjusting style of game but we've done it before an d it just didn't work out. We were giving up big plays and that's just not our style and what you don't want to do against Denver. That was happening and it was damned disappointing. We don't want to play a game like that. Again, that comes on me. They got us in a couple situations where they got us in a couple different coverages and we just didn't execute.

Q: How do you make the adjustments for the Chiefs?
RYAN: Every week you deal with a different offense and a different style. There will be copycat plays but you go and correct them and that's what you do in those hard meetings, come to Jesus meetings that we all have to have when things don't go well. I know we're on point. We've got great players. They're pros. They'll work. We'll get better. We're all disappointed with how things went. Can it be fixed? Hell yeah. And we gotta do it. (Shoot), we will do it.

Q: How much communication do you have with Lane during the week?
RYAN: We've had good communication this week. He talked about a front that I'm actually running this week. We talked about this could be a good front to run against Kansas City. We have communication, but understand, my job's to be the defensive coordinator and Lane's the head coach. He's got a million hats, I've only got one. Eventually the whole thing comes down to me being a better coach and doing a better job.

Q: What happened with Hall against Eddie Royal?
RYAN: A lot of that was me playing loaded coverage over there but the routes went deeper than we were anticipating and so it looked like he was playing soft when he was actually a deep third player. Usually we get up there in their face and press but I was trying to bait their young quarterback with the big arm into a loaded zone and hell he threw right through it. A couple of those plays were definitely on me. The one max pressure where we hit our head the guy had a triple move on him and (expletive) I don't know who could cover that. Willie Brown, maybe, back in the day. That's just the truth.

Q: Can Hall play press coverage?
RYAN: Absolutely. When they're all in their close, you know teams are going to attack us differently because of the prowess we have at cornerback. When they get in there real tight in bunches you want to go get these guys because that's our styles but sometimes there's formations and tricks that guys do that makes it difficult for you to get in there and press them. We absolutely believe in press coverage and in my opinion we have the guys to absolutely do it against anybody in the league.

Q: You and Lane sharing grooming tips and beers still?
RYAN: Hell yeah. Look, here's the thing guys. I'm an assistant coach. I've worked, it seems like 100 years in coaching. Ten or 11 in pro football. And you have a chain of command and the head coach is in charge. He's in charge and I'm sure he's just as disappointed in me -- probably not as much but a hell of a lot -- in the way things went Monday night and the job that I did. That's just the way it is. I've never had a problem with authority. I was brought up right and I always respect authority.

Q: Can Hall put that game aside easily?
RYAN: That game that he had, it wasn't near as bad as people want it to be. There's a lot of different things that go on in a game. You say it was all him and it wasn't. A lot of it was a loaded zone where he was deep third and they hit that deep comeback and there's no one there. (Shoot), that's not on him. Did he give up a completion or two? Maybe. He was playing a little soft for me in two-minute but bottom line is this guy's got great confidence, he's a super talented guy and a damn good player. Will he bounce back? Man I hope we all bounce back. That's what I'm up here for. We have to bounce back. It's not one of my players. It's me right here, all on me. I just want to make sure we got it right.


S Gibril Wilson (elbow) did not practice Thursday but is expected back tomorrow

LT Kwame Harris (knee) and DE Derrick Burgess CQ (shoulder) also did not practice. Burgess is expected back tomorrow, too.

Harris and Burgess dressed for practice but were ultimately held out of full-speed work.

Mario Henderson has been the first-team left tackle the last two days and would start if Harris weren't healthy.

Henderson's motivation to play well is simple:

"I don't want them all yelling and screaming at me," he said.

--Jason Jones

About Comments

Reader comments on are the opinions of the writer, not The Sacramento Bee. If you see an objectionable comment, click the "report abuse" button below it. We will delete comments containing inappropriate links, obscenities, hate speech, and personal attacks. Flagrant or repeat violators will be banned. See more about comments here.

What You Should Know About Comments on is happy to provide a forum for reader interaction, discussion, feedback and reaction to our stories. However, we reserve the right to delete inappropriate comments or ban users who can't play nice. (See our full terms of service here.)

Here are some rules of the road:

• Keep your comments civil. Don't insult one another or the subjects of our articles. If you think a comment violates our guidelines click the "report abuse" button to notify the moderators. Responding to the comment will only encourage bad behavior.

• Don't use profanities, vulgarities or hate speech. This is a general interest news site. Sometimes, there are children present. Don't say anything in a way you wouldn't want your own child to hear.

• Do not attack other users; focus your comments on issues, not individuals.

• Stay on topic. Only post comments relevant to the article at hand. If you want to discuss an issue with a specific user, click on his profile name and send him a direct message.

• Do not copy and paste outside material into the comment box.

• Don't repeat the same comment over and over. We heard you the first time.

• Do not use the commenting system for advertising. That's spam and it isn't allowed.

• Don't use all capital letters. That's akin to yelling and not appreciated by the audience.

You should also know that The Sacramento Bee does not screen comments before they are posted. You are more likely to see inappropriate comments before our staff does, so we ask that you click the "report abuse" button to submit those comments for moderator review. You also may notify us via email at Note the headline on which the comment is made and tell us the profile name of the user who made the comment. Remember, comment moderation is subjective. You may find some material objectionable that we won't and vice versa.

If you submit a comment, the user name of your account will appear along with it. Users cannot remove their own comments once they have submitted them, but you may ask our staff to retract one of your comments by sending an email to Again, make sure you note the headline on which the comment is made and tell us your profile name.

hide comments

On October 14, The Sacramento Bee will temporarily remove commenting from While we design the upgrade, we encourage you to tell us what you like and don't like about commenting on and other websites. We've heard from hundreds of you already and we're listening. Please continue to add your thoughts and questions here. We also encourage you to write Letters to the Editor on this and other topics.

About Raiders Blog and Q&A

Matt Kawahara was born in Sacramento and attended McClatchy High School and UC Berkeley, where he wrote for the independent student paper The Daily Californian. He graduated from Cal in 2010 and started at The Sacramento Bee as a summer intern. He joined The Bee's sports staff in fall 2011.

Raiders stories on

October 2013

Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
    1 2 3 4 5
6 7 8 9 10 11 12
13 14 15 16 17 18 19
20 21 22 23 24 25 26
27 28 29 30 31