Del Rio: Raiders need to get ‘mojo’ back
SARASOTA, Fla. (AP) — Coming off a lopsided loss to the Buffalo Bills, Oakland Raiders coach Jack Del Rio said his team needs to regain its energy and start playing aggressive football again starting with next Sunday night’s game against the Miami Dolphins.
“As I said yesterday, I feel like we’ve earned this 3-5 through the first half of the year,” Del Rio said. “Nobody is real happy about that. I think we all take responsibility and are accountable for that. We’re going to go into the second half and look to make it a whole lot better in the second half. We need to kind of get our mojo back a little bit.”
Del Rio believes the Raiders (3-5) need to get back to being the physical team they were when the season began.
Quarterback Derek Carr suggested the intensity in practice needs to be greater but Del Rio said that while poor execution remains a big issue, the Raiders just need to play hard and “let it rip.”
“I know what a Raiders football team that I envisioned having,” Del Rio said. “We’re not playing like that — what my vision is. We’re not playing like that right now. We need to be more physical up front offensively and defensively. We need to be playmakers aggressively going for the ball, competing. That’s what I’m looking for. That’s what we’re looking to get this second half.”
Offensively, the Raiders failed to follow up on their last-second comeback victory over the Kansas City Chiefs. With Marshawn Lynch serving a one-game suspension for shoving an official, the Raiders ran the ball just 14 times for 54 yards in their 34-14 loss to the Bills on Sunday. Carr threw for 313 yards but had two interceptions while running backs DeAndre Washington and Jalen Richard lost fumbles to put the Raiders at a minus-6 turnover differential this year.
Shalom Luani, who made his first NFL start at safety in place of Gareon Conley, almost had the team’s first interception of the season Sunday but the ball fell off his hands.
“That would have been a great catch,” Del Rio said. But each game we’re getting our hands on balls. You got to catch the ball. I mean, we’ll keep working. We’re drilling it. We’re drilling stripping it. They did a great job yesterday getting four from us. That was the difference in the ball game.”
Lynch, who was reinstated to the active roster Monday, will join the Raiders in Sarasota on Tuesday.
The running back made headlines during his suspension when he participated in a practice with his high school alma mater, Oakland Tech. The high school could face discipline from the Oakland Unified School District for allowing Lynch to participate without providing notice.
Del Rio, however, said he had no issue.
“There’s nothing really to talk about,” Del Rio said. “I think people at the school district have more of a problem with it than I do.”
To make room on the roster, the Raiders released running back Elijah Hood.