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November 03, 2008

Fox Q&A

Here's the transcript of coach John Fox's Monday news conference, ahead of Sunday's game at Oakland, which lost 24-0 against Atlanta:

Q. What are thoughts on Oakland?

"You learn in this league very early, you'd better be ready. You saw Kansas City give a real good game to Tampa Bay, so anybody on any given Sunday...I know it's a cliche. Our goal is to get our team ready for a long trip west."

Q. How hard is it to motivate your team team like the Raiders who looked so bad on Sunday?

"It's always hard to motivate them. That's why it's hard to win in this league. Not just for a team that's record is not as good as another team's, whether it's 2-6 or 6-2. It happens every week. Typically the team most ready to play, wins. Maybe not the best or the most talented or with the best record. It's not just true this week, it's true every week."

Q. When you look at tape of Oakland, what do you see warn your guys about?

"Without going into specifics, because I won't, but they're a very talented football team. All we need to be concerned at this point is with us. We're just starting our week's work and we haven't really talked to all we need to be concerned with us at this point is us. We won't do a final game plan until tomorrow. Not much has happened since last week, other than we had some guys with some time off."

Q. Can you say whether Ryan Kalil and Jeff Otah will play?

"Again, not much has happened. I'll have you guys updated on Wednesday."

Q. When did you start seeing improvement in defensive end Charles Johnson?

"Late last season. He's a guy who has excellent leverage and good playing strength. He has the potential to play inside or outside and is a good athlete. All he's missing is experience. In (training) camp, preseason games, this season, he's had some pretty steady improvement in games."

Q. What did you have the team do today?

"We ran and lifted real hard. When I say 'we,' I mean them. (Laughs) We did take a short look at personnel and some things we got done as a coaching staff. We didn't get the tape of (Oakland's) Atlanta game until this morning. We broke that down and got a good initial look."

Q. What goes into your self evaluation during the bye week?

"A lot is self-scouting, where you scout yourself like you do opponents, because you know they're doing that. A lot of it evaluation, where you are and, I hate to say this, you look at statistics to see if it's forming a trend. But they're just measuring sticks, not an end all. It's just like a 40-yard dash, it might not make or break a real football player. It might be a red flag, but you evaluate it and correct, it might be something you can catch. It's not a not end all, like a Wonderlict score (isn't). I don't want to get into a whole lot of detail. I actually halfway regret mentioning it. You learn some things hopefully of value and you move forward."

Q. Is it tough to play a team like the Raiders after they've had such a poor game?

"My experience is to focus on yourself. That's who we can determine. We've been in some low spots and high spots. It's all hard, whether it's your team or the team you're playing, the best you can do is prepare and be ready to execute on game day. That's how we'll approach it. You have bad days at the office. I've been on the other side of it. We didn't exactly light it up against Tampa. Did I see that coming? No. My focus is on our team and our state of mind. We've just come off a bye and those will be the things that will be the focus for myself and our staff. Our focus will be on us."

Q. Rookie running back Darren McFadden didn't play against the Falcons, but are you expecting to see him?

"No doubt they were without some guys, I don't think (Derrick) Burgess, the defensive end, played. McFadden didn't play. Some teams go without guys, but they all seem to be back when we play them. We'll know more Wednesday."

Q. Has your new policy of leaving on Friday for west-coast games worked well?

"Each time we go out there it's a new adventure. I thought we were a little fresher and that started last year. Whether that stays true, I can't say. I like the schedule, that's why we kept it. We'll go out Friday again this time. Time will tell."

Q. Practicing at an undisclosed location?


Q. It's tougher going west to east, when it's reversed, right?

"It's been a long time since I've been out west, as far as coaching. But, yes, you have no choice but to leave Friday. Sometimes, going west from the mideast or east, you can actually leave Saturday and stay on east coast time. Whenever it's three time zones, it's hard. But if I recall if there's a difference, I can't really say. But it's not where you play, it's who you play, who you are and who they are. I still kind of go by that. Some experiences are better than others."


Posted by Observer Sports on November 3, 2008 at 01:57 PM | Permalink


did Fox just say, "its always hard to motivate them" when referring to his own players?

Posted by: Matt | Nov 3, 2008 3:52:49 PM

Matt, that is especially true when fans and media hype up one player and that player starts acting like the team is nothing without them (ie, Gross, Peppers, Smith, Jeff Mitchell, and even Keyshawn in his short stint was guilty of it). I suspect Terrance Holt was playing that, "I'm a local and my cousin will play with you guys if you keep me" card a bit too hard as well; which may have lead to him being cut on the final day. Anyway, in the modern NFL where players are overpaid (even before they ever take the field for the first time) and sometimes overhyped (again, even before they ever take the field for the first time), keeping players motivated may be the biggest obstacle coaches face.

BTW... "Stats are for losers." This especially applies to players who emphasize their personal stats over team wins. They are easy to spot; especially when their team is losing by a large margin (and the game can obviously no longer be won with 30 sec left) and they are still trying to get as many yards or completions (or whatever the case may be) as possible. If you are down three scores and have a minute or less left, why are the starters all of a sudden playing with more intensity than they did the entire game? They are risking injury playing against back ups in a lost game for what??

More importantly, that expression also points out that you can have 150 total yards of offense and still win. You can have penalties galore and still pull one out. You can have mulitple turnovers and still somehow come out on top. At the end of the day, all that really matters if your TEAM got the win. So if both backs are not getting over 100 yards rushing every week, who cares as long as the team finds a way to be the victors in the end. And by extension, who cares who is dubbed the starter consequently!? That stuff pays the reporters' bills and keeps some fans happy, but it does not do the team any good. Hence, "STATS ARE FOR LOSERS."

Posted by: Keeping It Real | Nov 3, 2008 4:21:43 PM

KIR......who is terrence holt's cousin? Why do you think that players aren't already motivated to win?

Posted by: matt | Nov 3, 2008 4:45:57 PM

Maybe Fox meant that it's hard to know what it takes from a coaching stand point to motivate a team. Such as to say the right things or give the players the right speech that gets them in the frame of mind for that particular game. By what i've seen this year from training camp until present the team looks pretty motivated as is.

Posted by: pland67 | Nov 3, 2008 6:21:12 PM

Did he answer any questions about that shirt he was wearing? Sheesh...

Posted by: Joshua | Nov 3, 2008 6:39:20 PM

Torry Holt is actually Terrance's older brother, not cousin. But the way Torry is playing so far this year, that Terrance-Torry package deal doesn't look so good anymore. All those cries of outrage about keeping Salley over Holt seems so long ago now.

Posted by: DB | Nov 3, 2008 6:48:00 PM

yeah really......looks like he just got off the set of a 70s porn video shoot.....lmao

Posted by: The Truth | Nov 3, 2008 7:03:51 PM

I never get this with the motivation speeches and all. Sure at high school and collage but for pros?

They get payed enough in a day for the rest of us to last a year and they only have 3 hours every week (for half of the year) to show they earn that money. Should that be enough?

Posted by: Thorrez | Nov 4, 2008 8:31:35 AM

Good grief Thorrez...where should I start?

Well, how about this - a grown man should know the difference between "paid" and "payed" which isn't even a word by the way. And did these guys go to "college" or did they make a "collage"?

Secondly, although you only watch them for 3 hours during the game you do realize that these guys do other work, right? They practice, they work out, they watch film, the volunteer for programs in the community (well, a lot do anyway), etc. And that is just during the season. Off season they work hard to keep in shape and to study and become better. These guys have careers that on average only last a few years, hence why they are paid so much. And if you ever read the stories like about Jerome Bettis where he had mornings where he literally had to slide down the stairs because his knees hurt so bad, you might understand why these guys are "payed" so much.

Posted by: vcw charlotte | Nov 4, 2008 9:01:52 AM

Great reply vcw!

Furthermore, I think Fox was merely implying that all teams in the NFL come ready to play, some just have it more for a certain week. You can't say that the Panthers weren't motivated to play the Bucs a few weeks ago, since they are one of our biggest rivals, however we weren't as motivated and ready on that particular Sunday as they were. Hence, they came out more aggressive and jumped on us and we never could recover.

Posted by: Mason | Nov 4, 2008 12:28:09 PM


I don't know how you think Pep and Gross consider themselves above the team? Neither Peppers nor Gross have ever come out in an interview and talked about their own personal accolades. Also, have you ever heard another teammate or coaching staff member complain about Pep or Gross for starting locker room issues? I would go to the opposite end of the spectrum and say that all of the players fully respect both Pep and Gross and that both are great teammates. Look at the way Pep celebrates when Taylor or Johnson get a sack or Beason makes a big hit. Just because someone makes a ton of money, or hasn't signed a long-term extension, doesn't make them bad teammates or mean they think of themselves as higher than the team.

Posted by: Mason | Nov 4, 2008 12:37:40 PM

Well put vcw, however I still believe they, and professional athletes in general get paid too much. There is no point in bickering or trying to change it though, because it's a supply and demand system. If you're willing to pay the ticket prices and religiously watch the games on tv, then athlete's salaries will go up respectively.

However, I think the problems with injury and veteran compensation should be solved with a more comprehensive retirement plan that helps injured and struggling ex-athletes as opposed to upping the current salaries. Obviously those athletes that waste away loads of money and go bankrupt should not be helped in this plan.

Posted by: Christian | Nov 4, 2008 12:39:47 PM

The best way to handle that IMHO is to put them all under performance based contracts...do well, you are rewarded. Do awful, regardless of your "potential", you make the minimum.

Posted by: vcw charlotte | Nov 4, 2008 1:04:35 PM

I don't think you can do completely performance based contracts in the NFL. Too many issues with that including players trying to hit their individual statistics instead of helping the team. If pay was based purely on performance, think D Will would be happy splitting carries with Stew? Think DEs would continue to play the run instead of simply rushing the QB on every down and trying to stockpile sacks? Think LBs are going to maintain their gaps and spacing or try and make every tackle possible? In the red zone, will QBs continue to hand off the ball if a run is called or audible to a pass and try to throw as many TDs as possible?

Contracts in the NFL aren't guaranteed, so if a player does not perform, teams always have the option of cutting the player and taking some sort of hit. We signed Carr to a multiyear deal, as we did w/ Key, but cut both of them after only one season.

Posted by: Mason | Nov 4, 2008 4:51:01 PM

Classic trap game for the Panthers this weekend. They need to understand that Oakland can and will beat them if they do not work hard this week and come out ready to play. The Panthers have a history of playing down to their competition. I just hope Fox pushes them hard this week and gets them ready to play.

Posted by: J Thomas | Nov 4, 2008 4:57:35 PM

That's a good point Mason and I see your point. My thought though was probably different on how it was structured where you don't reward based on individual stats. For instance, number of snaps participated...team rankings for rushing yards per carry or as a defense on points allowed...winning your division...etc. You would still have to pay them to play and they all make good money. But perform better as an individual which should result in better team performance is what I had in mind.

Posted by: vcw charlotte | Nov 4, 2008 5:00:53 PM

JT, the only "trap" we'll see on Sunday is the one Smitty sets for DeAngelo Hall. Those are always WAY fun

Posted by: Michael Procton | Nov 4, 2008 8:18:48 PM

DeAngelo Hall will NOT be covering Smitty, it will be that other CB with the crazy name that I wont even attempt to spell.

Posted by: matt | Nov 4, 2008 10:38:45 PM

vcw: Really? They just don't just watch TV all week and then play for 3 hours, amazing.

My point is so what? If you don't perform on Sunday you are not here next year regardless of how good you are in practice, remember Drew Carter? So "a grown man" should make sure to perform to keep his job without speeches.

And yes, my spelling suck, I know that already. In my case it is called dyclxia (which, as you can see, I can't spell either ;-).

Posted by: Thorrez | Nov 5, 2008 3:25:59 AM

Again Procton you show that you are a total idiot. Hall is getting cut by the Raiders and even if he wasn't Smith will be covered by Nnamdi Asomugha all game on Sunday.

Posted by: J Thomas | Nov 5, 2008 12:18:27 PM

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