LV Post-Game Quotes

Head Coach Jon Gruden

Opening statement…
I’ll say, that was a great win for us. I’m really proud of our players and how they finished. There are plenty of things to clean up, but we were missing a lot of key players today. To win on the East Coast on a short week after a tough outing is a character builder for us. I’m really proud of the guys.

On the range of emotions on the sideline during the last drive…
Well, we got a first down to (Darren) Waller to put us in position for the Hail Mary at the very least. That was the number one goal. Then we had a couple of plays. The play to (Nelson) Agholar, I thought we had a great shot at. Unfortunately, we didn’t make that play. I’ll let the players tell you about the last play. Derek (Carr) made a great call to fix the protection and to give us a chance to launch it. After Henry Ruggs fumbled the football and he was involved in the interception, I thought he should have caught that pass, a lot of guys would hang their heads and go in the tank. For him to win that game for us, it just says a lot about the football character he has and we have. I hope that sums it up.

On if he was surprised there was an all-out blitz on the last play…
They lost to New England on Monday Night Football and they didn’t blitz. Cam Newton made a throw and I’m sure they got criticized for no pass rush. Then you blitz and get beat over the top. We’re in this business together as coaches. We’re never going to be right when we lose. I really thought the Jets showed a lot of character. They ran the ball. They threw the ball. They came from behind. They did everything they could to win the game. I was really impressed with Rodney Hudson and our offensive line. We picked up some nasty blitzes throughout this game.

On how important it is for young players to learn how to win…
It’s huge. Especially like that. It will teach you as a Raider forever that you never quit. Derek Carr is another player here. He missed a couple throws in the previous drive that he was really upset with himself on. To answer your question, it’s critical that we can go on the road after a tough loss, a humiliating loss, and come from behind in a dramatic way to win and in weather that is a little different than we’re used to. It’s a huge learning experience and it’s fun to learn some positive things once in a while with all the things that have been going on.

On Darren Waller…
He’s special. If you look at where he caught passes, he caught them at wide receiver, playing split end, he caught them as a flanker, he caught them in the slot. He caught them everywhere and he ran all kinds of routes. A lot of guys can’t even dream of doing what Darren Waller can do and I think he solidified today clearly as one of the top Pro Bowl tight ends in this business.

On getting Clelin Ferrell back…
That was great. He’s had the coronavirus. He’s missed a couple of weeks. He’s had a tough start to this season. We were missing some defensive linemen and some defensive players today and he made some impact plays. That’s what we need from him. He’s a hard-nosed, energized finishing player. He’s got a lot of football character that we’re going to lean on also.

Derek Carr

On the emotions of winning the game in the last few seconds just a week after his daughter was born…
Talk about an emotional rollercoaster, how angry I was, how mad I was after the Falcons game. How upset I was and then, the next day, how happy I was to look my little girl in the face for the first time, the love that I felt in that moment, the joy that I felt in that moment is unlike anything, with all my children and especially with my first little girl. And then, this game was kind of the same way. We were doing some good things, then all of a sudden, I felt really bad. At the end, I missed two, three throws that just drive me insane. I’m not going to lie to you, it still bugs me, it still makes me mad right now, even. With that said, to be able to have time back on the clock. I was just praying for one more chance. And we hit Darren (Waller) on a big play, on a little corner route – a corner-stop thing and put ourselves in position with seven seconds left. I couldn’t believe they all out blitzed us, but as soon as I saw it, I was thankful. And that’s why we prepare the way we do. That’s why coach teaches the way he does. I give Coach Gruden all the credit in the world, because he has prepared me and equipped me to handle those situations. Whenever we get those kinds of looks, to be able to handle it accordingly. To be able to win a game like that in the fourth quarter, lot of emotions. Big-time roller coaster to say the least.

On TE Darren Waller…
We know how special he is. He’s even more special of a person. I think that’s why I just love playing with him so much. I love throwing him the ball, I love competing with him, taking the field with him every time. I look in his eyes and I know he’s ready. Him and I have similar mindsets and I like that. He’s a fun guy to compete with. Obviously, he had a huge day: 200 yards as a tight end on 13 catches, that’s just ridiculous. That’s video game-type stuff. He’s a special talent and I’m thankful I get to be his quarterback. It’ll be something I can get to tell my kids about.

On adjusting the pass protection prior to the game-winning touchdown…
Yeah, I mean the play before they played a little cloud, like a little kit coverage. On the deep ball that I tried to hit Nelly (Nelson Agholor), I tried to throw it over (Marcus) Maye’s head, I just threw it a little too far. I remember when coach called the play in the huddle and I’m telling everybody what to do, I definitely thought they were going to do the same thing. Play a soft coverage and make us try and throw like a little out route or something, to get in position to throw one into the end zone. And sure enough, I saw the safety start cheating over, I saw the nickel start creeping in. The WILL linebacker creep in, the MIKE start walking up and I was like, oh buddy, you know? You’ve got to take a breath because you’ve got to make the right call. You’ve got to make sure everybody’s on it. And then, you’ve just got to execute. It’s RCE, coach talks about it all the time. Recognition, communication and execution. And he can give me all the credit that he wants. Yes, am I on the field and did I say the right things? Yes, but he’s the one that taught me. He’s the one that equipped me and so it’s nice to have a coach that allows you to do those things in those moments, and it leads to memories like that.

On going back to WR Henry Ruggs after a drop and fumble…
It’s just what he’s proven to me over time. He comes from a great, I want to say organization, a great program in Alabama, where those guys are tough. If you play there, you’re a tough guy. You’re tough minded. You can get through Coach Saban’s program and be successful, and start, you’re a tough-minded person. He’s just proven it over-and-over again, just how tough he is. Mentally, physically. It’s his rookie year. That won’t be the last mistake he makes. It happens to all rookies. This game tests every rookie to see if this is really what you want to do a for a living. And it does that. One thing I love about him is he’s someone, that if he gets punched in the mouth, he stands back up and he goes again. He gets punched in the mouth, he’s going to stand back up and he’s going to give you everything he’s got again. He gave us all four-two of it on that last play, because I threw it as high as I could and just prayed that he’d run under it. And I thank Mr. Mayock for drafting that man, because I don’t know how many guys would’ve went and got that football.

On seeing man coverage on Waller and deciding to throw it to him more…
Yeah, and you know how it is in a game, you feel a guy heating up. He’s winning on all his routes, he’s making contested catches, he’s breaking tackles. Obviously, we threw a little hitch and he took it to the house. The man’s feeling it that day, you know. It’s nice to throw those five-yard passes that go for touchdowns, for those that aren’t fans of the west coast offense. But those are fun ones. And when someone’s heating up like that, coach just keeps calling his number. He’s like, do you like this? Do you like that? I’m like, yeah! If Waller is number one in the progression, I love it. He just kept dialing him up and whenever you have good players with good looks, you get great results. Coach Gruden, again, he doesn’t get enough credit. He does not get enough credit. He takes a lot of the blame that he doesn’t need to take. He takes a lot of it off of us players. But he doesn’t get enough credit when we win. That man is a genius when it comes to offensive football. The guy knows looks and timing and this and that. And he knows how to get people the football and he knows if he wants to do certain things and they’re playing this coverage, well he can do it this way, or he can do it this way, or he can just use somebody else. And today it just kept working that Waller was the number one in some progressions and he kept winning. So, I tip my hat to coach for continuing to call his number and tip my hat to Darren for continuing to win. It’s not easy to do in this league, obviously. Not only games, but one-on-ones. It’s not easy.

On does his daughter Brooklyn get her first ball or does it go to his wife Heather…
I think they’re going to have to split it because Heather did most of the work but Brooklyn’s pretty special, too.

On how proud he is of the young players and how this win can lead to the maturation of the Raiders becoming a championship team…
Yeah, coach talks about it all the time, our young guys, they have to learn on the fly. They’re going to have to play above being rookies and things like that. Obviously, they did that today for us. You’re right, for us, to be a championship-type organization, be in the playoffs every year, and a team that’s picked to be there every year, we have to learn to win in these close games. And Lord knows I’ve had to learn that the hard way in my time with the Raiders. We’ve won so many games in the fourth quarter or last drive or last second, and then you look in the huddle and all of a sudden, there’s a couple of new guys and there’s a couple of young guys, and they need to learn that if there’s time on the clock, we can win this game. I look at Rodney (Hudson) and he looks at me and we know we can win the game. We’ve done it 20-something times together. We know we can win it. But I look at some of these young guys, “Oh, we haven’t done this yet.” They learned that today, that as long as there’s time on the clock and we’ve got the ball in our hands, we have a chance to win. So, it’s really good for our organization.

On if he can’t celebrate this win because of how he played…
I try to be a super positive person, but like anything if you miswrote something or mis-said something, you’ll feel bad about it no matter how good it turned out. Same thing with me. No matter how good it is, you always feel like, “Dang, I could have had that.” But, that’s every game. I’m going to continue staying the same way. I’m going to keep my mindset the same way because the job’s not finished. It’s really as simple as that.

On if feels like they are prepared to take care of business and get into the playoffs…
I think so. I think we’re ready. Time will tell if we can execute and do it at a high level. We have some really good football teams that are playing for something just like we are that are about to come to our place and try to take it from us. If we want to go where we want to go and do the things we want to do, we have to win football games. Everyone knows what’s at stake here. Everyone knows the opportunities we have and that’s why I’m super pumped about this. Trust me, I lost my voice yelling down there with how excited I was, but at the same time, my preparation for the next game has already begun. I’m already getting ready for the next one, because like I said, the job’s not finished. We have a lot of work to do to make sure we get back to the playoffs. I want to play in the playoffs. Last time, I broke my ankle. I didn’t get to play. I want a chance. I want that opportunity. I know our other guys do too. Some of our veterans, some of our young guys and some of the guys we signed in free agency, they came to go to the playoffs, they didn’t come here just to mess around. We have a lot of work to do. We have to get healthy. We’ve got to get guys back on the practice field. If we can do that, we can make a little run at this thing.