Jack Del Rio

Del Rio 'frustrated and pissed off' after Raiders waste golden opportunity

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Del Rio 'frustrated and pissed off' after Raiders waste golden opportunity

ALAMEDA – Head coach Jack Del Rio started his Monday press conference with a message for Raider Nation.

He didn’t wait for a question or a prompt. Del Rio just went for it, and set the tone for a new reality. Going to the playoffs is a considerable long shot after Sunday’s 26-15 loss in Kansas City. Not an impossibility, but it’s close.

Del Rio wanted everyone to know that’s unacceptable, and he isn’t happy about it.

“As players and coaches, we are as frustrated and pissed off about what occurred yesterday as anybody out there,” Del Rio said. “Losing a game like that hurts, and there are no words I can say here today that will take away that pain or make people who care about the Raiders feel better. I’m really not going to try.”

Fans should be upset when a team with offensive firepower to spare can’t score consistently. Fans should be upset when drafted players weren’t developed, and major defensive flaws weren’t addressed in the offseason.

This year’s Raiders are a woefully disappointing 6-7, nowhere near the lofty internal expectations held to start this season. It feels like a waste now, with so much talent producing so little. People will point fingers. Someone will ultimately be held accountable and several will end up unemployed, players and coaches alike.

That’s what happens when you fall short. Ownership isn’t happy. Nobody is.

Looking back, Del Rio wishes his team would’ve played with abandon, with some risk in their play. The Raiders haven’t done that much this year, tiptoeing through quality competition with lackluster results.

“I think that there have been many examples throughout this season where we have not played boldly to go make the plays,” Del Rio said. “I would really like to see that because, at the end of the day, if you kind of go half-way, it’s not good enough anyway. I’d love to see us just let it rip. And go play. We’ve talked about playing with our hair on fire, talked about that kind of effort and energy and playing fast. That’s what I believe in, and I’d love to see it more often.”

The Silver and Black played like that back in Week 7, in a game against Kansas City. It was the only time these Raiders channeled last year’s group, which got by with a little hocus pocus and quality performance under pressure. It felt like a turning point then. The past few weeks proved it was not.

The Raiders could still make the playoffs. Getting there was simple math heading into Sunday’s game. Now calculus is required.

What comes next? The Raiders have to win out and pray for rain, hoping it’s good enough to sneak into the postseason through the back door. Different is necessary to do that. They simply haven’t been good enough or consistent enough to believe that’s possible.

“We have to coach it better. We have to execute it better, as players and coaches,” Del Rio said. “Head coach and quarterback get a win-loss record off of their performance in these game. We’ve won a bunch of games over the last three years, and we’re going to continue to win a bunch of games. Yesterday was a disappointment. We can’t go back and do anything about that. I tell guys all the time that you get what you earn in this league. What we’ve earned is 6-7. What we have in front of us are three games and what we’ve got to do is play good football and win the next one and see where that takes us.”

Del Rio hopeful NFL doesn't suspend Crabtree, Jackson for roles in brawl

Del Rio hopeful NFL doesn't suspend Crabtree, Jackson for roles in brawl

ALAMEDA – There’s a real prospect the Raiders face the New York Giants next week without their two best receivers.

Head coach Jack Del Rio can’t control the odds.

Amari Cooper’s in the concussion protocol following a violent collision with Broncos safety Darian Stewart. He injured an ankle on the same play.

The league office will determine Michael Crabtree’s availability. Crabtree could be suspended for his part in a huge brawl early in Sunday’s 21-14 victory over Denver.

Crabtree was accused of throwing a punch to Chris Harris Jr.’s gut one play – it’s somewhat clear on All-22 film -- and mixing it up with Aqib Talib after his chain was snatched for a second straight season. In a humorous twist, ESPN reported that Crabtree tape his chain to himself and Talib still ripped it off.

The second incident escalated quickly, and Crabtree and Talib eventually took swings at each other in open field.

NFL Network reported Monday that suspensions are possible due to the extended length, especially with the second round including overt fisticuffs.

The league is reviewing the incident and should have a decision soon.

Del Rio doesn’t think Crabtree deserves further punishment.

“That’s for the league to decide,” Del Rio said. ‘I would hope not. Based on what I saw, I wouldn’t think there would be that type of reaction.”

Right guard Gabe Jackson was also ejected for making contact with an official in the melee, where he charged into a crowd of Broncos scuffling with teammates. The contact with an official looks inadvertent on video, and Del Rio believes his right guard should be back right away.

“All I can go off of is the game tape and nothing showed up on game tape,” Del Rio said. “So, I don’t sit and surf the web or whatever, I’m not looking for any of that kind of stuff. If there’s an issue, the league will bring it to my attention. Gabe is a pretty mild-mannered guy. He’s a pretty powerful guy so if he was going in a path over that way and you got in front of him, he could run you down accidentally but he wouldn’t be trying to do that. I don’t have anything to add on that. I think Gabe is pretty pure. I don’t think he would intentionally do anything like that.”

Del Rio and Broncos head coach Vance Joseph said the brawl was unacceptable, especially with good players on both sides being ejected. Joseph said there would be no internal punishment for Talib, and understood somewhat how things could escalate.

“I’m not going to speak for the Raiders, I’m going to speak for our guys,” Joseph told Denver reporters. “I told our guys I don’t want it, but once it happens, how does a guy not defend himself? Punches are being thrown and helmets are off—I don’t want it to happen, but if it does happen you can’t blame a man for defending himself. I want our guys to simply defuse and walk away. That’s what I want.”

Del Rio: 'Nobody should feel comfortable,' following Norton firing

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Del Rio: 'Nobody should feel comfortable,' following Norton firing

ALAMEDA – Raiders head coach Jack Del Rio put out a statement Tuesday explaining why he fired defensive coordinator Ken Norton Jr.

He went into greater detail Wednesday afternoon, his first time facing the media since a change was made

Specifics will be discussed further down this story. We don’t, however, want to bury the lede.

Del Rio’s main message wasn’t about Norton. It applied to all in Silver and Black. This season has not met lofty expectations. That is unacceptable.

“I know one thing,” Del Rio said. “Nobody should feel comfortable, because what I’ve been watching is not good enough.”

Del Rio didn’t absolve himself from blame. Norton got fired, but everyone has played a part in this disappointing 4-6 record.

“It’s always shared,” Del Rio said. “A change was made, obviously. We all share in it, all of us, starting with me. It’s coaches and players. It’s a team game, and we’re all in it together. And nobody is coming to help us.”

The Raiders must look inward to start a prolonged winning streak they’ve shown little evidence they can create.

The seat will be warm under players and coaches alike, even if only one in-season change gets made. Expect further shakeup on the coaching staff after the season, if vast improvements don’t come down the stretch, possibly with several position coaches being shown the door. More than a few higher profile players could be cut or allowed to leave, especially on defense.

While Del Rio has taken more heat the past month than at any other time in his Raiders tenure, expect him to be around a longer term. He was given a contract extension in February, and has significant capitol built after changing the culture in Oakland and re-teaching this team how to win. Nothing, however, is guaranteed should this season go further south. 

Raiders brass were looking to shake things up, and Norton was the obvious move. Experienced play caller John Pagano was on staff – he was Chargers defensive coordinator from 2012-2016 – and firing the popular Pagano’s style could create some new waves and looks that any offensive Norton would make an impact in the locker room and prove this story’s opening quote, that no one should feel comfortable.

Del Rio hopes firing Norton will be a shock to the defense’s system.

“I really felt like I needed to shake things up,” Del Rio said. “We couldn’t continue doing what we’ve been doing to this point. So I made the call. The whole idea is to change what we’re doing and make sure…what I’m looking for at the end of the day is for us to play fast on defense. We weren’t playing fast enough. We weren’t playing confident enough.”