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Q&A with Sanjay Lal

By Jerry McDonald - NFL Writer
Sunday, August 9th, 2009 at 11:07 pm in Oakland Raiders.

A transcription of the first meeting with the media for first-year wide receiver’s coach Sanjay Lal:

Q: How are the young WRs coming along?

Lal: Very good, extremely hard working core. They want to be great. They’re hungry, they’re young. A coach couldn’t ask for more.

Q: How about the rookies?

Lal: Every one has done what’s been asked of them and more.

Q: Darrius Heyward-Bey had a rough start, but seemed to turn it around, what went in to that?

Lal: All summer he’s been working on a key set of techniques in terms of his catching, concentration, routes and it’s just a matter of time. It needs to come together for him. We just need to get him reps. More reps, more reps, more reps and that’s where it’ll take him to where he needs to go.

Q: No experience outside Javon Walker, but do you like having a clean slate to work with?

Lal: I’ve always had a vision of how I would want the receiver corp to be and with a clean slate like you said, you can implement everything from Ground 1 how it should be done. And speaking of Javon, he has echoed every one so it’s been great to have a clean slate with a veteran who wants them to be great also.

Q: How does it help to get Javon added to group?

Lal: It gives us the bell cow that we haven’t earned yet. If he comes in and plays like the Javon we know we can be, then they’ll have a leader who can apply what we’re teaching and make it real for them.

Q: Last year’s stats were NFL worst, but with strong finishes by Schilens and Higgins, did you have a good feeling about what you had coming back?

Lal: Yes and I wouldn’t correlate it to the stats. Those guys are getting better every day. The run game took off at the end, the defense played better, JaMarcus played well so it’s a combination. It was everything starting to jive and that’s what we feel will happen this year.

Q: You got to learn under James Lofton, how much did that help you?

Lal: What he did was he gave me confidence to stand up for what I believe as a coach. He and I really thought alike on a lot of subjects. It was nice for me to see, here is how I would handle it, how is James will handle it. And it reinforced a lot of my beliefs. Stand tough, don’t back down. You’re teaching them the right things. They will respond, maybe not at first. But if they trust you and you can show them one technique or one move than can help them, then they will listen to you.

Q: Guys said in OTAs that you used round table for meetings instead of rows, is that still in place?

Lal: We can’t do it at training camp but we replaced our classroom style for a conference table. Because we are all in it together. We’re going to make each other better. I’m the facilitator. We all watch film together. I ask Johnnie Lee what Chaz did wrong or what he could do better on a route. I’ll ask Chaz himself. We all talk about each play together.

Q: Is that something you had done somewhere else?
Lal: Like I said, I always had a vision of how I wanted it to be and how I was not coached and how I wanted to be coached. I took it from my book of do’s and don’ts.

Q: What led you into coaching?

Lal: It really stemmed from … I always thought I wanted to be a coach at some point and I really tried and tried and tried and probably over-tried to make it into the NFL and I didn’t. When I didn’t make it into the NFL, I coached high school football. At first I thought it was just high school football. But then I got into it. There was one player, a receiver, and I taught him a move and he used the move and scored and came back and hugged me on the sideline and said, ‘Coach, I wouldn’t have scored if it wasn’t for you.’ And right then I was hooked.

Q: Was that at Miramonte?

Lal: Yes.

Q: Was it Drew Bennett?

Lal: It wasn’t Bennett. Bennett was the quarterback. None of the big time guys. Phil Wagner actually. It was Phil Wagner and I was hooked because I could live my dreams through them.

Q: Does it put pressure on you because they used first round pick on receiver?

Lal: Not for me personally. I just take it as I’m privileged to have this job. I told Coach Cable and Coach Davis that ‘You’ve given me my dream job and I will coach every day with that attitude.’ It’s like a gift to me to have these young guys to mold.

Q: How cool to have a job in NFL and for it to be with Raiders with you having some Bay Area roots?

Lal: To be with the Raiders is a dream. It’s one of 32 jobs but it’s with the Raiders. So you have your dreams and this comes true and you look back and say how did I get here. If I could have written it, I wouldn’t have been able to write it or believe it. But it happened and I’m not going to let go of it.

You’ll notice Lal referred to “coach Cable and coach Davis.” Calling the owner “coach Davis” gives Lal something in common with Bill Belichick.

As he began his interview, Cable walked past and said, “That’s a fine,” with Lal joking that perhaps he should have waited until the coach had cleared the area. Lal was approached a few days back when Cable gave the green light for talking to assistants, only to have the P.R staff insist on 24 hours notice. John Marshall and Ted Tollner talked in the meantime.

Lal needn’t worry about a fine. He said all the right things, paid respect to all things Raiders and has held steadfast to what is so far company policy to not single out or criticize one receiver as opposed to another.

Burgess talks to New England media

Derrick Burgess spoke to the New England media for the first time since being traded from the Raiders, and not surprisingly revealed little or nothing about the process.

He did have one good line when asked by a reporter if he could play standing up, a reference from moving to outside linebacker after being a defensive end.

“I’m standing up right now,” Burgess said.

Burgess didn’t criticize his former team, just as they didn’t criticize him, and said there has been no agreement to extend his contract.

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  • RaiderRockstar

    How much do you play Russell & Co Thursday?

    ***

    first half. NEXT

    LOL

  • Thec07

    ROFLMAO post 406…..

  • Raider Headbutt

    KoolKell Says:
    August 10th, 2009 at 1:58 pm
    How much do you play Russell & Co Thursday?

    I’d like to see him and his recievers play at least a Qtr
    ===================
    I would like to see that too. But I think it will depend on how well their first couple drives go, if they go out and are successful with what they are trying, you might not even see the full qtr

  • AZ Raider

    KoolKell Says:
    August 10th, 2009 at 1:58 pm
    How much do you play Russell & Co Thursday?

    I’d like to see him and his recievers play at least a Qtr.
    ……………………………………………….

    I say 2-3 series max. They are gonna want him to get one in the End Zone, so if he struggles you might see 3 series. If he drives down steady and scores a TD on the first series Cable will pull him.

    IMO

  • RaiderRockstar

    DHB on the other hand will hopefully be able to give us something this year. I do not count on much from “manos de piedros” (DHB). The guy has already had hamstring problems, and now his toe is bothering him? Give me a break, you are the 7th pick of the draft, get your butt out there and practice. DHB gets a hang nail and he will be sitting out the game. Heaven forbid he gets a fever blister on his lip.

    ***

    I’m waiting for somebody to set this guy on fire for his comments regarding Darrius Heyward-Bey. my guess? it won’t happen… most Raider fans probably agree

    Chaz Schilens = #1 WR stud
    DHB = bust

  • AZ Raider

    Headbutt, funny we were typing the same shyt at the same time LOL.

    1 NATION FASHO! LOL

  • Thec07

    A qtr no matter how many series, unless they score TD’s on the first 2 posessions then it moot….

  • Richochet

    RaiderRockstar Says:
    August 10th, 2009 at 1:03 pm
    Honestly, how can anyone say the Raiders receiving situation is better than last year?
    And last year it was one of the, if not THE worst in the NFL.

    Should be fun, don’t you think?

    ***

    Darrius Heyward-Bey & Louis Murphy can’t be any worse than Curry & Lelie … the passing game will also improve with more of Miller, DMC & Bush in the mix. We drafted Myers to free up Zach Miller as a receiving option. Fargas isn’t the starter anymore. another year under Russell’s belt, this time with experienced coaches to groom him and clean up some crucial parts of his game. Better blocking from the o-line minus Kwame Harris should help as well.

    Russell should have 3200 yards, 20 TD’s and fewer fumbles this year. That would be good enough progress in Year #2 as the starter
    ==========================
    Hmmm..not sure about the above.
    First off, Miller, McFadden, and/or Bush were always in the mix last year, with only Miller shining.

    Saying Bey and Murphy “can’t be any worse” doesn’t exactly help the argument that the Raider passing game will be much improved, or even improved, for that matter.
    Bey, at this point, is a project. Can’t even count on him suiting up, considering he’s already getting the “injury prone” tag before tackle one.

  • AZ Raider

    RaiderRockstar Says:
    August 10th, 2009 at 2:04 pm
    DHB on the other hand will hopefully be able to give us something this year. I do not count on much from “manos de piedros” (DHB). The guy has already had hamstring problems, and now his toe is bothering him? Give me a break, you are the 7th pick of the draft, get your butt out there and practice. DHB gets a hang nail and he will be sitting out the game. Heaven forbid he gets a fever blister on his lip.

    ***

    I’m waiting for somebody to set this guy on fire for his comments regarding Darrius Heyward-Bey. my guess? it won’t happen… most Raider fans probably agree

    Chaz Schilens = #1 WR stud
    DHB = bust
    ……………………………………………….

    Chaz Schilens = Great reciever in progress…

    Darrius Heyward-Bey = A star in the making…

    Whoa! IMO!

  • DKnight007

    For some reason, I keep thinking this team needs to work harder and they need to be disciplined far more and they need to run more, so they can be conditioned to the max.

    These team needs to be kicked in the rear more…..

  • Raider Headbutt

    1 NATION AZ, I hope they are on fire to start that game

  • http://i380.photobucket.com/albums/oo249/the408RAIDER/749px-I-420svg.png 408RAIDER

    Oh heeeeeeelllllllllllllllllll no I missed it again!! WTF Thec why didnt you get my back on the 408??? LOL :P

  • AZ Raider

    Dang bro, I can give a R*ts A** about the damn pre-season game so long as the Starters march down and put 6 on the board right off, as they should in the PS. September 14th is THE REAL DEAL BABY!

    Can’t wait for that Headbutt, that is fasho!

  • RaiderRockstar

    These team needs to be kicked in the rear more…..

    ***

    Mark Schlereth on NFL Live always discribes Tom Cable as a great football coach and a no nonsense guy, which surprises me to hear that considering his hatred for the Raiders. Cable describes Kiffin’s coaching methods as “soft”

    maybe Cable will bring his steel toe boots & cattle prod to work?

  • Thec07

    Post 413,
    you opined beutifully, but you failed to address the answers that were provided.

    We drafted Myers to free up Zach Miller as a receiving option.
    experienced coaches to groom him and clean up some crucial parts of his game.
    another year under Russell’s belt.
    A SOLID LT in Henderson..

    I like how you glossed over a descrepancy, and yet totally failed to metiuon the other parts of the post….

  • jhill

    Now DHB is injury prone????

    Man o man you are really reaching for something, aren’t you?

  • http://i380.photobucket.com/albums/oo249/the408RAIDER/749px-I-420svg.png 408RAIDER

    Thec

    oh my bad now it says Richochet got comment 408.. Doh!

  • Thec07

    408, I was embattled in a disccusion with a RAIDER Brethren. My bad homie, wont happen again…..

  • jhill

    The starters should get 2 series at the most, and some of the starters shouldn’t get more than a few plays.

    All I need to see is DHB get behind someone, Bush run over someone, and DMac break into the open field. Once all that happens, they can have the rest of the night off.

  • http://www.car.org KoolKell

    I think Russell initially will be able to get things going with Chaz, Higgins, Miller, DMac.

    Bey, Murphy, Walker worked in eventually.

  • Thec07

    Gotta go NATION, it has been fun….the fire was
    lit, the torch must be passed.

    Dont you just hate all these other imposter nations….

    Only 1 true NATION, the original NATION,

    THE RAIDER NATION…….

  • AZ Raider

    Thec07 Says:
    August 10th, 2009 at 2:14 pm
    Post 413,
    you opined beutifully, but you failed to address the answers that were provided.

    We drafted Myers to free up Zach Miller as a receiving option.
    experienced coaches to groom him and clean up some crucial parts of his game.
    another year under Russell’s belt.
    A SOLID LT in Henderson..

    I like how you glossed over a descrepancy, and yet totally failed to metiuon the other parts of the post….
    ………………………………………………

    WHA WHA WHat? Me Me Me?????????????????? Na man, I just don’t know what your reffering to cuz.

  • Raider Headbutt

    Speaking of pre season…what you guys think about the idea to ake the reguldar season longer and not have as many pre games?

  • http://i380.photobucket.com/albums/oo249/the408RAIDER/749px-I-420svg.png 408RAIDER

    :P

    sure is a lot of good raider talk going on in here.. Chaz is the Man IMO.. been sayin it since last year.. All you non believers will change your tune soon enough… Bush is a beast and Miller will make the PB…

  • RaiderRockstar

    WHA WHA WHat? Me Me Me??????????????????

    ***

    AZ: I love me some me!

  • Thec07

    AZ Raider Says:
    August 10th, 2009 at 2:18 pm
    Thec07 Says:
    August 10th, 2009 at 2:14 pm
    Post 413,
    you opined beutifully, but you failed to address the answers that were provided.

    We drafted Myers to free up Zach Miller as a receiving option.
    experienced coaches to groom him and clean up some crucial parts of his game.
    another year under Russell’s belt.
    A SOLID LT in Henderson..

    I like how you glossed over a descrepancy, and yet totally failed to metiuon the other parts of the post….
    ………………………………………………

    WHA WHA WHat? Me Me Me?????????????????? Na man, I just don’t know what your reffering to cuz.

    +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
    Not you Bro, the modes moved the post was speaking on
    the one just above your 412 my bad.

  • RaiderRockstar

    All you non believers will change your tune soon enough…

    ***

    408: are you speaking for the Raiders or the nation of 1slam?

  • SnB offense defense specialteams

    The Raiders usually take it easy on rookies getting playing time. I don’t think DHB will be treated any differently than Darren McFaddenor JaMarcus Russell. Both of them played a secondary role to a starter.

    McFadden will be platooned in his 2nd season. Why are people so upset with the prospect of DHB playing a platoon or secondary role.

  • Thec07

    Only 1 true NATION, the original NATION,

    THE RAIDER NATION…….

  • jhill

    I’m still looking for a reason why DHB won’t start. Especially since he is ALREADY RUNNING WITH THE ONES! NOt rotating in and out, but exclusively running with the ones, with JLH getting nothing but 2nd team reps.

    We drafted DHB to provide that deep “THREAT” that will open up things for everyone else. He is already doing the job in practice, so why is the job not his to lose?

  • RaiderRockstar

    S&B: I’d hate to see DHB get wally pipped

  • Richochet

    jhill Says:
    August 10th, 2009 at 2:14 pm
    Now DHB is injury prone????

    Man o man you are really reaching for something, aren’t you?
    =======================
    Not my comments, saying it’s now popping up on different reports.

    How can you argue it?

    Two injuries in non-contact drills, before even the first preseason game?

  • http://i380.photobucket.com/albums/oo249/the408RAIDER/749px-I-420svg.png 408RAIDER

    RRS…

    LOL Im speaking 4 myself.. Dude whats ur beef with chaz??

  • SnB offense defense specialteams

    The 1st team offense should play at least a quarter and possibly more. They need to get the timing down and they just need reps. This is a young team trying to figure it out….not a veteran team working out the kinks.

  • jhill

    Zach Miller, Huff, Howard, Morrison, Gallery and a few others started from day 1. JRuss should have played a lot earlier instead of McClown even with the holdout.

  • Richochet

    jhill Says:
    August 10th, 2009 at 2:23 pm
    I’m still looking for a reason why DHB won’t start. Especially since he is ALREADY RUNNING WITH THE ONES! NOt rotating in and out, but exclusively running with the ones, with JLH getting nothing but 2nd team reps.

    We drafted DHB to provide that deep “THREAT” that will open up things for everyone else. He is already doing the job in practice, so why is the job not his to lose?
    ===========================
    You must be reading different reports.
    Bey has been very very inconsistent. More drops and bobbles than catches.
    Yeah, he’s given every chance to prove their #7 pick wasn’t a bad one. Team already knows what Higgins can/can’t do. Now they’re giving Bey every opportunity to see if he can step in.

    And the verdict is???

  • jhill

    Two injuries? A toe that had him suited up and working with Southwick catching balls?

    The guy has not missed one game yet, but he is already injury prone?

    Same with DMac, I just don’t get the “prone” part of it. A guy gets hurt for the first time and he’s all of a sudden an injury concern. Is Tom Brady injury prone?

  • HayesDaze37

    Richochet Says:

    First off, Miller, McFadden, and/or Bush were always in the mix last year, with only Miller shining.

    —————

    Wrong, Richochet/troll –

    Metaphorically speaking…Miller, DMC and Bush are like pears, apples and oranges — nothing at all alike, in terms of development…

    Miller: already established himself as a rookie before last season…DMC: Thrust onto the scene and battered (for Lance) to prove a point, almost ruining his rookie year (and more)…Bush: Never given the shot he deserved (in year #2), by neither Lance nor Cable until he was almost wasted.

    But, R/troll — they each had at least SOME moments where they shined bright. And that’s what you hope to get from young players.

    In years 2 & 3, you expect improvement. You don’t hope for it, you EXPECT it…and history shows that is when the biggest gains are made for the majority of NFL players starting their careers.

    You got nothin’ R/troll…

    Just hopin’ the team fails, that’s all you got…and that’s not a credible way to defend ones position in a debate.

  • RaiderRockstar

    S&B: McCown & Culpepper started in place of Russell his rookie season

    Fargas started in place of McFadden his rookie season

    Mike Williams & Tim Dwight got more playing time than Higgins his rookie season

    Curry & Lelie started ahead of Chaz Schilens his rookie season

    Barry Sims & Kwame Harris started in place of Mario Henderson his first two years

    ***

    S&B: you want to continue this trend of starting average vets over talented rookies? I don’t!

  • http://www.car.org KoolKell

    DHB is probably running with the ONE’S so he can study under Nnamdi.

  • The Big Banana

    4evaRaider – good point with OO. Might not seem like news to many fans but his health should bring HUGE returns. I’m also juiced about his return.

    RR – I really wanted Monroe but, oh well. I’ll take DHB over Crabtree. What a diva. The antics by him and his entourage in the waiting room (wiping their forehead in relief) were unacceptable. Stupid too. If you expect to be drafted top 5 or 10, got news for you. You’re going to a bad team. And it’s up to you to help turn them around.

  • jhill

    Ok Dude … I mean Richochet …

    Show me the reports your reading where it says he is dropping more balls than he is catching. 2 or 3 balls a practice? You really think he is only getting 10 or less balls thrown his way per practice?

    Chuckle, chuckle …

  • http://RAIDERS Oakglenn

    Richochet Says:
    August 10th, 2009 at 12:46 pm

    Florida Pete Says:
    August 10th, 2009 at 11:39 am
    going out on a limb…

    Crabtree will either be the biggest bust of this years 1st round crop…

    or he will not be playing football…

    either way…

    the niners are going to suck…
    =======================================================
    AND WE HAVE A WINNER.
    Congrats.
    Dumbest Post of the Day.
    And here you thought you couldn’t do it?

    You don’t need me to post all of Crabtree’s awards, again, do you?
    —————————————————

    Wow. Where did this guy come from??? He is stupider than most of the really stupid posters in here and that is saying something. So, this guy is going to post Crabtree’s college awards. That PROVES he was the best wide receiver available. If that were the case, then Chris Weinke, Eric Crouch, and Jason White would be tearing up the league with their Heismans! The reason we didn’t draft Crabtree is he is a PAIN IN THE ASS, and wouldn’t sign. I don’t care how good he is, if he doesn’t sign it doesn’t matter. Last time I looked, dude hadn’t signed.

  • http://www.car.org KoolKell

    “S&B: you want to continue this trend of starting average vets over talented rookies? I don’t!”
    ——————————-
    Why are you asking SnB? It’s Raider philosophy not his.

  • SnB offense defense specialteams

    jhill Says:
    August 10th, 2009 at 2:23 pm
    I’m still looking for a reason why DHB won’t start. Especially since he is ALREADY RUNNING WITH THE ONES! NOt rotating in and out, but exclusively running with the ones, with JLH getting nothing but 2nd team reps.

    We drafted DHB to provide that deep “THREAT” that will open up things for everyone else. He is already doing the job in practice, so why is the job not his to lose?
    =======================================================
    Explain how this deep threat is supposed to work. DHB still has to develop into a complete receiver. Not just a guy trying to run 9 routes all game.

    We will see in the exhibition games. He has to become more consistent in his catching ability. Not just be some decoy. You and I both know that isn’t going to work. What will work is DHB being able to be a reliable receiver short, intermediate and then hopefully long too.

    My guess is that DHB is getting all the reps that he can get. They know what JLH can do….and Walker is the veteran. My guess is Cable is trying to get DHB up to speed as fast as possible. I still don’t think he will start though. Darren McFadden doesn’t start….if he doesn’t start…its not impossible to think DHB won’t start either.

    How many deep throws will you see in a game? 4 or 5? The game will be won short and intermediate….a strong running game and play action

  • The Big Banana

    Raider Headbutt Says:
    August 10th, 2009 at 2:19 pm
    Speaking of pre season…what you guys think about the idea to ake the reguldar season longer and not have as many pre games?

    ====================================================
    I’m all for it. I’m done buying preseason tix packaged with my season tix. Won’t do it anymore. If they want my business, it’s either more real games and less fluff or I’ll just wait until the season starts to re-up.

  • http://RAIDERS Oakglenn

    Richochet Says:
    August 10th, 2009 at 12:21 am

    Oakglenn Says:
    August 9th, 2009 at 10:16 pm
    Dmac20, the Raiders had trouble against the run last year, because teams could run at them all day long. the reason teams could run at them all day long, was they didn;t put up points. Once the Raiders start scoring, teams can’t rely on the run. Once they can’t do that, they play into the Raiders strength, which is their pass defense. Until the Raiders start putting up points, we are going to see teams run the ball. See post #27.
    ======================
    Well gosh, Glenn..I thought the reason teams ran on the Raider all day long was because the D line totally sucks.
    Wait.
    Yep, just checked. They really..REALLY…suck.

    If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

    See, when you have success running it, and you’re ahead, you don’t risk turnovers in the air. The fact teams run, pretty much at will, AND were ahead indicates the D line was pathetic.
    ——————————————————–

    Moving on to this post, if what this knucklehead says is true, then the Raiders should have been giving up 100 yards a game on the ground, in the lst half of each and every game. Other than the Atlanta game, and maybe one other, they actually played WELL early in games. If what I was saying is right, then in the 2nd half of games, when our offense was doing nothing, opponents would bust some runs. Seems like what happened to me. Of course, I actually watch the games.

  • Raider Headbutt

    The major thing that stands out in my mind why I think DHB will start is not just because he is running with the ones, its that Nnamdi himself has said that he needs to be careful covering him because of the speed.

    When one of, if not the best, corners in the NFL goes and says this about a rookie it pretty much says he is going to make an impact.

    Mayb not with stats mind you, but the way defense must play against him and the team.

  • jhill

    Higgins has been solid throughout camp, but the only time he’s on the field with the one’s is when they run a three-receiver set. Otherwise, he’s practicing with the second team.

    •Speaking of rookie receivers, Darrius Heyward-Bey continues to get himself open when being guarded by a defender…….. The only problem is that he also continues to have problems catching the ball. In the few opportunities that he had tonight, I credited him with two and a half drops. The half drop came when he was a little overthrown and he got a hand on the ball. Taking that away, he had two bad drops–one coming as he was wide open with four defenders in the area. The other drop was a lot harder to catch as it sailed through the hands of Thomas Howard before also sailing through his. Even with his inconsistent hands, I like his progress. After practice, he and Nick Miller were taking rep’s. on the juggs machine.

  • HayesDaze37

    Statistically speaking, DHB is still likely to be a ?? in our minds a year from now. If he’s not a ??, then it means he either made a big impact or he’s an early bust.

    There’s absolutely nothing to indicate DHB will be an early bust, in fact he’s drawing plenty of praise from those who would be his harshest critics — the Coaches and Defensive players who have faced him for the past week+.

    So far, it appears DHB is at least as ready to play as ANY other WR taken in the draft…and, as long as his injury is minor, and he misses but a few sessions, there isn’t anything major to worry about — he’s a healthy specimen.