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For Del Rio, rolling the dice is a matter of trusting his players

NASHVILLE, TN - SEPTEMBER 25:  Head coach Jack Del Rio of the Oakland Raiders coaches quarterback Derek Carr #4 during the first half of a game against  the Tennessee Titans at Nissan Stadium on September 25, 2016 in Nashville, Tennessee.  (Photo by Frederick Breedon/Getty Images) Getty Images

Raiders coach Jack Del Rio has become the latest coach with a propensity for doing the unconventional, whether it’s going for two with a Week One contest on the line or keeping the offense on the field on fourth down.

Appearing this week on PFT Live, Del Rio explained why he keeps doing it, and whether he enters each game with a specific plan to take big chances.

“You always have your preparation ready in terms of knowing if those situations arise what things you’d like to be able to get to or conversely how you’d want to defend those situations,” Del Rio said. “I think what’s come up there were a few situations early in the year where I basically trusted the team and told them, ‘Let’s go get it.’ And we’ve been able to execute in those situations. So for me it’s about building that trust in our preparation and then the guys going out executing and making it look good.”

They’ve made it look more than good so far, fueling the team to a 4-1 record and, for now, first place in the AFC West. Just like in the old days.

Another similarity to the old days comes from the team’s propensity to commit penalties. That’s not something Del Rio relishes.

“We want to get it under control,” Del Rio said. “Really mainly the pre-snap penalties, which haven’t been a big part of it, but they are a part of it and we’d like to make sure we clean those up. The judgment calls where our football team is competing hard and we know we’re disciplined and we know we’re tough and we’re going to fight hard for things. Sometimes the judgment calls balance out as you get going but the pre-snap errors are the ones that drive coaches crazy and the ones that we have to clean up.”

The old Raiders drew penalties from their efforts to intimidate. Del Rio isn’t specifically looking to do that.

“I think more than talking about penalties or trying to intimidate people I think you want to have physical play and it starts in the trenches,” Del Rio said. “I think the addition of KO, Kelechi Osemele, he’s a really physical player and adding him to the left guard spot for us has really solidified our offensive line. We’re off to a great start opening holes and providing protection for our quarterback and it starts up front with the big guys.”

Whatever they’re doing, it’s working. Perhaps the biggest test of the year comes on Sunday, when a rested and prepared Chiefs team shows up for their first post-bye game, in a renewal of one of the great rivalries of the 1970s.

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12 Responses to “For Del Rio, rolling the dice is a matter of trusting his players”
  1. araidersfan says: Oct 16, 2016 10:31 AM

    Looking forward to today’s matchup; it’ll be a huge test for the Raiders given Reid’s 15-2 record coming off of bye-weeks.

    BTW, the Raiders-Chiefs rivalry mostly leads to excellent matchups even when one or both of the two teams is down. It’s not been often that BOTH teams have been very good simultaneously (late 60s/early 70s/early 90s) but if it turns out to be the case this year that’ll make the contests even better.

  2. howielong says: Oct 16, 2016 10:41 AM

    The NFL is more relevant when the Raiders are relevant.

    Get that defense tightened up. With all the young talent, quite possibly the best OL in the league, an outstanding receiving corps, and a probable elite QB… the Raiders can become much more than simply relevant… they could become a dynasty. Throw Vegas in there… it’s quite a time for the Raiders.

    Game by game, the Raiders are removing the accolades off the paper (tiger) and gaining respect with the W’s. Still have some growing to do and more wins stacked up before I’ll talk playoffs and beyond… but there’s a good solid knock on the door.

  3. joetoronto says: Oct 16, 2016 10:47 AM

    Look at that 4th and 2 fade pass from Carr to Crabtree for a 21 yard TD last game.

    That takes big cahunnies and not all HC’s have them.

  4. genericcommenter says: Oct 16, 2016 10:49 AM

    Maybe he’s doing the unconventional because he’s being logical and everyone else is irrational.

  5. tonebones says: Oct 16, 2016 11:26 AM

    I’ve had the NFL Sunday Ticket for the last 5 years and I get to watch every game. In the past I’d click right through the Raiders’ games and find a better game to watch. Now I seem to stop on the Raiders games a lot more. Reggie McKenzie has done a great job of making the Raiders a solid team. Del Rio is proving what a good coach can do when he’s not forced to play with Blaine Gabbert under center. Mark Davis has made a lot of good decisions. Now Al Davis can finally rest in peace.

  6. peytonmanningshghconnection says: Oct 16, 2016 11:26 AM

    Let’s look at who the Raiders have beat. They beat the Saints by one point who currently are a 1-3 team, they beat the Titans who are 2-3, they beat the Ravens by one point who we all know aren’t what their record says it is, and they beat the Chargers by 3 points on a last minute fluke play fumble who by the way are 1-4. The Raiders are much improved but they have the 32nd ranked defense so before everyone starts penciling them in as a Super Bowl contender pump the brakes a little there is plenty of season left to go. They are still the Raiders and until proven otherwise they will find a way to implode themselves.

  7. war27 says: Oct 16, 2016 11:32 AM

    Joe, not sure how true it is but I read somewhere that the 4th and 2 play was supposed to be a slant. Carr changed the play at the line.

  8. rayguyhof says: Oct 16, 2016 11:32 AM

    Can the NFL scheduling try to tee up a “w” for the Chiefs any more easily?
    This first game, Chiefs get a “bye” before it.

    The second game rematch, Oakland flies cross country on a short week for a lousy Thursday night game.
    No one is surprised in the Nation about this.

  9. war27 says: Oct 16, 2016 11:35 AM

    The Raiders didn’t beat the Chargers on the botched snap. That play was a chance for the Chargers to TIE the game.

    From there it would be a tie game, 2 minutes to play, two timeouts and a kicker that already made a 56 yard FG going that way that would have been good from at least 5 more yard out.

  10. thebillscouldeventuallymove says: Oct 16, 2016 11:39 AM

    peytonmanningshghconnection says:
    Oct 16, 2016 11:26 AM
    Let’s look at who the Raiders have beat. They beat the Saints by one point who currently are a 1-3 team, they beat the Titans who are 2-3, they beat the Ravens by one point who we all know aren’t what their record says it is, and they beat the Chargers by 3 points on a last minute fluke play fumble who by the way are 1-4. The Raiders are much improved but they have the 32nd ranked defense so before everyone starts penciling them in as a Super Bowl contender pump the brakes a little there is plenty of season left to go. They are still the Raiders and until proven otherwise they will find a way to implode themselves
    ______________________________________

    Sounds like a Chief’s fan in denial. It will hurt a lot less if you just let it go and accept the Raiders will rule the AFC West for the next decade or so. But to your point I wish they didn’t have to take some of the chances they’ve had to take. Some of these games should have been over before the 4th quarter but our defense keeps them in it. They sure have been exciting to watch though.

  11. joetoronto says: Oct 16, 2016 11:56 AM

    war27 says:
    Oct 16, 2016 11:32 AM
    Joe, not sure how true it is but I read somewhere that the 4th and 2 play was supposed to be a slant. Carr changed the play at the line.
    **************************************
    Wow, that tells you how confident Carr is and the trust he has in Crabtree.

  12. stampnhawk says: Oct 16, 2016 1:08 PM

    Every teams fans get excited at the prospect of making the playoffs, but until you get there, and win a game or so, and then do it again at least the next year, no team is “back” or it being “just like the glory days” let alone 5 weeks into a season.

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