On Wednesday, Raiders general manager Mike Mayock and interim head coach Rich Bisaccia took part in their first press conference since the resignation of former head coach Jon Gruden.
Owner Mark Davis declined to speak publicly, but told ESPN, “I have no comment. Ask the NFL. They have all the answers.”
On the other hand, Mike Mayock welcomed the opportunity to address the media and support his players and new interim head coach.
The Raiders are known to be trailblazers. They have welcomed, celebrated, and honored a historic number of minorities, something that Mayock made clear to the press today.
“The Raiders have always stood for diversity,” Mayock said. Something that Mayock made clear that they don’t plan on ever changing. And like all things in football, it comes from the top. Owner Mark Davis, son of legendary Al Davis, has his own additional guidelines for the Raiders.
Mayock told the media that since the day he accepted the GM position three years ago, Mark Davis has been adamant about three things: diversity, social justice, and domestic violence. Mayock told stories of himself and Davis meeting to thoroughly discuss potential draft picks that have had run-ins with any of those three things. The GM says they always do their due diligence to ensure their men have earned their place in the building.
Mayock could have continued praising Mark Davis and the organization, but that simply was not on the menu for today. Mayock had pressing questions to tend to, and he knew it.
“In regard to the Jon Gruden situation, we all respect his decision, and we’re gonna move ahead accordingly. As far as the team is concerned, bottom line we’re 3-2, Week 6. And a lot of these interim head coach deals over the years, it’s like Week 15, and guys are already packing their bags. That’s not the case here. All of our goals are ahead of us. 3-2. One game out of the AFC lead. The focus has got to be on Denver.”
Of course, it’s the players that have to prepare for Denver, the same players who just lost the man who led their locker room and was one of the most prominent members of their lives. Mayock, however, isn’t worried about the players’ ability to compartmentalize.
“I believe the focus is back on Denver. And I think the fact that we’re 3-2, and I think the fact that we got a young team that believes in themselves, feels like they’ve worked their tails off and they want to finish this thing out the right way,” Mayock told reporters.
DE Carl Nassib, the first openly gay player on an active NFL roster, requested a personal day Wednesday before preparing for Sunday’s game. The team granted his request, and Nassib is expected to return to practice tomorrow.
Mayock also took the opportunity to praise the new interim head coach, Rich Bisaccia.
“He’s the most natural leader of men that I’ve ever been around,” Mayock said. Mayock told reporters that Coach Bisaccia has as much respect as any coach he has worked with during his career. Mayock made it clear he has all the confidence in the world in Bisaccia and the work he will do the remainder of this season.
Coach Rich Bisaccia also addressed the media on Wednesday for the first time since becoming interim head coach.
Bisaccia began his press conference by saying that we all have a responsibility to be held accountable for our actions. Bisaccia was emotional as he told the media, “No one person is bigger than the Raiders shield.”
The new interim head coach was asked what it meant for him to become an NFL head coach.
“Easy to get emotional about that question. This is certainly an exciting moment, no one wants to be a head coach in this particular situation. No one wants to be put in front of this in these particular circumstances. But it’s an incredible opportunity certainly.”
“Not only for me, but all the other coaches that are here to see what we can do with this adversity, see what we can do with this challenge, see what we can do with the next day, and same thing for our players.”
Bisaccia has been a coach for 38 years. This is his first head coaching opportunity.
Bisaccia noted that his time as special teams coordinator prepared him to coach offensive and defensive personnel. He also shared it prepared him to be very knowledgeable of the clock and time during the game and practice.
On top of his coaching experience, Bisaccia also shared his experience with the players on a personal level.
“I think they all feel like they can come up to any coach’s office at any time to visit with us. They have, they do, and they will today. I think a lot of our coaches, we’re kind of minglers. A lot of us are in the locker room. A lot of us are in the equipment room and the training room. I know I am. I spend a lot of my time getting around them.
“For me, that was part of what my role was and I’m going to keep it the same way. I’d like to think that they feel like they can come and talk to us on a personal level.”
Bisaccia told reporters that when he coaches, he coaches a jersey number, not the person. When the players come up to speak with him, he is speaking with the person, not the player. Bisaccia’s mindset is sure to go a long way with the players as they adjust to the unknowns after a hard week.
Bisaccia shared his thoughts on Derek Carr and the captains. He said that Carr will continue to be an extension of the coaching staff and he will continue to rely on him as well as a lot of other players and coaches. He also said he made it clear to the players, “If we have a team that cares about each other, it’s a hard team to beat.”
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