Ryan takes on critics, takes shot at Kiffin

Defensive coordinator Rob Ryan spent part of Wednesday talking about the Raiders' win over the New York Jets, the demotion of free safety Michael Huff and the team's upcoming game against Baltimore. He also took the opportunity to take some not-so-veiled shots at former Oakland head coach Lane Kiffin.

Ryan spent 10 minutes with reporters at the team's practice facilities following the Raiders workout Wednesday and spent most of it talking about Oakland's defense. He defended his play-calling, talked about the improved play from the defensive line and had some choice words for people he feels have unfairly criticized the unit.

"We take a lot of (stuff) in the press and everywhere else so it was great to see our guys fight like hell and help us win the (Jets) game," Ryan said. "It was big to come back as a team. We fought New Orleans tooth and nail but then it just didn't go our way. We fight every damn game and every quarter. It doesn't always work out. Sometimes, people think, well, we play prevent. We don't have prevent, so I wish people would stop saying that (stuff). Other than that, it's good. Our guys are ready to go. They're going to fight like hell for four quarters. We got a great matchup coming this week."

The Raiders gave up 10 points in the fourth quarter against the Jets, including a late game-tying field goal, but held New York scoreless on three drives in overtime, opening the door for Sebastian Janikowski's 57-yard game-winning field goal.

It was Oakland's best defensive effort of the season by far, though the team still is ranked just 26th in total defense. The Raiders are 24th against the run and only slightly better against the pass.

But Ryan says the stats are misleading and insists he is pleased with what he's seen from his players so far. He also said criticism that the team doesn't blitz enough is unfair.

"Everybody says, 'Well, blitz them,‘^" Ryan said. "Well, (shoot), you can't get there when they got a million people blocking. So, it's a tribute to some of the things, the protection we're getting, but it's definitely (that) our guys are coming together as a front. A formidable one. We didn't blitz Favre much but we damn sure hit him. Those guys were knocking the crap out of him. That's a tribute to the work that the D-line is doing and their coaches."

All of it was mildly entertaining but only served as a precursor to the meatier issues. Specifically, Ryan -- who ha been at odds with Kiffin since he was told by the former head coach he was fired at the end of last season -- sounded totally content the Raiders made a coaching change and hired Cable.

"I think it's great, a breath of fresh air having Tom Cable come in," Ryan said. "I felt, to be honest, I felt a lot of stuff was pointed at the defense that I wasn't necessarily agreeing with. It's been well-documented, we lost six games giving up one offensive touchdown last season and it seemed like every different game was the defense's fault. Attribute that to whatever it is. Bottom line is I think we've got a damned good leader in front of the group now and everything's fine.

"I think Tom's a guy that you can go to. He's a guy that guys believe in and I think when you see a guy like that, you see some genuine toughness and like our head genuine toughness, and I know, hell, out defensive guys liked him and we played well when he was our head coach and I think Tom Cable brings a lot of those good attributes to guys that are in the room as defensive players."


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