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Andy Reid's Wednesday Press Conference

Posted Dec 11, 2013

The team's head coach discusses preparations during Raider Week

OPENING STATEMENT: “Alright on the injury front here, Branden Albert will not practice today. Anthony Fasano and Justin (Houston) will be limited in what they do. Anthony is going to work a little bit with the scout team and kind of get back in the swing and see how he feels; that’s kind of the fourth phase of the five phases that the guys go through. And then, Justin is going to do some warm-up individual work and see how he feels there. The rest of the guys are practicing. We look forward to the challenge of playing the Oakland Raiders. We’re on our second go-around with them and the first one was a challenge for four quarters and we’re not expecting anything less here. We understand the process and what we need to do to get ourselves ready to go on the road and play against a good football team. The guys started off with a walkthrough this morning and we will continue this afternoon.”

Q: If the possibility exists that you clinch a playoff spot before kickoff, will that change your game plan?

REID:
“No.”

Q: You’re going to play to win?

REID:
“Yeah, that’s what we’re going to do.”

Q: Can you talk a little bit about Tamba Hali being the player of the week again?

REID:
“Yeah, Tamba (Hali) is the AFC Defensive Player of the Week and it is well-deserved. He’s worked very hard in the offseason and works very hard, every practice. You get every play as his last play, that’s how he approaches it. (And he did it) without (Justin) Houston on the other side. It’s a tribute to the rest of the guys, which Tamba always says, but it’s true. There are other guys there, who are in pass rush positions, (Frank) Zombo in particular, who has upped his game and really has done a nice job for us. And likewise with the interior guys. But not taking away from Tamba, you love to see a player like this get the credit that he gets, because he works so stinking hard and he’s all in, all the time. He’s all about team. He doesn’t get caught up in all of this. He brings it every snap and you appreciate that, from a coach’s standpoint.”

Q: What comes to mind when you think of playing the Raiders in the black hole?

REID:
“I’ve had a chance to take teams in there a couple of times; it’s a tough place to play from that standpoint. The fans take a lot of pride in making that the black hole; we get that. Most importantly, it’s preparing to play that football team. It’s important that you focus in on that process. We respect them, as a football team; we respect them. They have good players, they have good coaches and they’ve had some change over there player-wise this season. (They’ve) brought in some new guys and we feel like they’ve got it. They have the defense now and they do a ton of things defensively. Offensively, they have a nice little mix going right there. Then special teams, they have one of the best special teams coaches in the National Football League and I’m very familiar with him, Bobby April. He does a nice job with the group he has there. We know that we have to prepare for the football team, the fans aside, not taking anything away from them, but we have to make sure we handle the tough football team first.”

Q: Can you identify some of the good things that Rodney Hudson does for your football team?

REID:
“Yeah, I would probably tell you just his leadership ability and the stability of him being there every day and working hard every day. He’s a transmitter from the right side to the left side. He has a ton of responsibility. The only one with probably more, not taking anything away from the importance of his responsibility here, is the quarterback. They have to be on the same page. They have to be thinking as one there. I think he’s having a very good year.”

Q: What does that bring, having a center that’s there every single game? How does that make the offense mesh?

REID:
“It’s huge, that’s a huge part of it. You have to have communication up-front. Defenses are way too complex today. They’re going to hold things, right until the end and somehow you have to get it communicated, whether it’s in the black hole or in Arrowhead. When you’re in a loud crowd, you have to make sure that you get that transmitted across the line. When you’re playing at home, it’s a little easier to do that. It’s an important position and he has handled it very well. We’ve loaded him up and he’s handled the load there.”
 
Q: How do you handle a team that has nothing to lose at this point in the season?

REID:
“We knew that situation going into this past week; you have to stay, there’s no time to have a mental lapse, you have to be so focused, that anything is possible. You feel that way anyways, but anything is possible and we understand that. The players know that, the coaches know that. We keep our radar up for those things.”

Q: Was there a time, earlier this year that you felt that the team wasn’t able to win in all three phases or that you weren’t playing complete enough? And, how do you feel right now, knowing that you have the potential to win in any of the three phases?

REID:
“I’m not sure I felt that way, for the first part of that, that any of the three phases wouldn’t work. Do we have room (to improve)? We still have room to improve, a tremendous amount of room to improve. I’ve seen improvement over the weeks that we’ve been together. I’ve seen some young guys step up and that’s probably where the biggest question kind of comes in like, how are they going to fit in there? Or the move, where (John) Dorsey brought in the guys, before the season. How are they going to fit in? How fast are they going to learn? Everybody has handled that well and they have continued to improve and get better, so I haven’t felt an emptiness in any of those phases or a lack of hope or that. I never felt that. It was just a matter of new guys or young guys just trying to catch up quick.”

Q: Can you speak about Quintin Demps and his ability to reclaim his career?

REID:
“Yeah, Quintin (Demps), we drafted him in Philadelphia and then we asked him to fill some small shoes; you know, Brian Dawkins, a minor little thing, a future Hall of Famer. (We asked him to) step in and take his spot. That’s tough, tough in your first or second year. It didn’t work for him. He’s a tough kid. I knew a little bit about him, having coached at UTEP. I knew the coach there and the athletic director, so I knew even if it didn’t work in Philly that he would keep at it. He’s a talented guy, so whatever the road was, he was able to get back to Houston and did a nice job, a very respectable job there. I felt very comfortable bringing him here. He’s a good kid and works hard. He’s not afraid to admit a mistake, if he makes one. He’s a stand-up guy, which if you guys have had to deal with, you know that. I’ve appreciated him and he’s a good special teams player. He returned for me, when he was a pup, young guy, rookie, I think even, and did a nice job for us then.”

Q: Can you talk about what it means to this team to have not only one good kick returner, but three great returners?

REID:
“Well, a couple of them had experience and Knile (Davis) didn’t. Dave (Toub) and Kevin (O’Dea) have kind of groomed and taught him and we have a couple of others, who can do it too that we haven’t used. It’s a tribute to the players, but it’s also a tribute to the coaches and the scheme that they put together for the guys. And then it’s the trust that they have in that. Some of those are a little different and they’re all in and willing to make it work.”

Q: Can you frame Derrick Johnson in this stage of his career?

REID: “Yeah, he’s a great player; it’s time-tested. He’s a great player, great kid, great leader. Guys respect him; they just know that he’s going to do that. I’ve been lucky enough to be around some great players and they do just what you’re saying. When you need a play, they somehow just make a play. That’s what makes them great. He’s done it year after year; that’s not something new. I appreciate working with him. I’m lucky to work with him.”

Q: Have you seen anything different from the Raiders, since you last played them? Have they been doing anything to ignite the team?

REID:
“The thing that I’ve seen is kind of what I mentioned earlier, they do a lot of things on defense. They had some changeover, some new faces on that team. You see them kind of fly around. They’ve taken on 24’s (Charles Woodson) personality just a bit. Before, there might be a guy that pops open here, but you don’t see that anymore. Everybody is covered, everybody is tight. You have to work for everything you’re going to get. Offensively, they’ve had a couple of different quarterbacks working there. (Terrelle) Pryor played against us and now, they have the young kid (Matt McGloin). He’s really been on fire for a few weeks here. They’re putting up numbers and then they’re working Pryor back in, so they have a nice little mix going. We know that. We know that there’s a small margin between winning and losing in the National Football League. We’ve got it. We understand. We’ve been on the plus side of it a couple of times. We understand how it works. We’re going to prepare ourselves that way. We respect them and we’re going to get ourselves ready to play the best we can.”

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