OPENING STATEMENT: "I think it was a good start. A lot of players played tonight. They've come a long way in a very short period of time. I credit our coaches for working hard with a lot of these players. They've come so far in a short time, credit to the players obviously. I thought Nate Peterman has really shown some development on the practice field, and he carried it over today. Some long drives, I liked what he did today."
Q: What are your thoughts on the efficiency level on third downs tonight?
Coach Gruden: "I thought it was a good start, we had 17 snaps in defense in the first half, and I think we had 52 snaps of offense. We're going to play better when you're not out there, we gave up a third-and-17, a penalty, which we can't allow to happen. We gave up a touchdown on zone coverage, but other than that I thought Nate Hobbs showed up on a blitz. The energy was great. We're getting better, we still got a long way to go. It was great to have the Raider fans out there, I'm kind of numb to see the world come back together and be in this stadium with these fans again. It's just warming my heart, I thank them all for coming out. We're really excited about playing in front of them for the rest of the year."
Q: What are your thoughts on Alex Leatherwood despite playing limited minutes tonight?
Coach Gruden: "I have to look at the tape to say exactly. I was very pleased when I saw a down on the sideline."
Q: What are your thoughts on Andre James tonight?
Coach Gruden: "We had a 14-play drive, we had a 17-play drive, we had 52 snaps in the first half, somebody is blocking somebody. They were blitzing almost every play, really good defense. They weren't playing all their regulars, but they were still playing some really good young players. It wasn't easy, but it's building blocks for us, it's one step at a time. I thought Andre did a good job. He made some great calls up front. I thought the big right tackle stood his own in there."
Q: What are your thoughts on Zay Jones tonight?
Coach Gruden: "I would say his ceiling is untapped. He's taking advantage of these opportunities. We obviously sat down [Bryan] Edwards who's been on top of his game in training camp, [Henry] Ruggs [III] has been really good, we thought we've seen enough of [Hunter] Renfrow for the last few days, but I wanted to see Zay in 15-20 snaps. He made a couple great catches, a couple really good blocks. He's got great energy, there is something about being around him when you just feel younger, I feel healthier, I feel better about myself. This guy is a hell of a kid, and I'm rooting for him, I'm really happy for him because nobody has work harder than him."
Q: Watching practice looks like Javin White has been waiting to hit somebody. He was all over the place with six tackles. What's your take on him?
Coach Gruden: "I'm really proud of him. Richard Smith, veteran linebacker coach, here's a guy that we all we know in Vegas. He [Javin White] played all over the field for the [UNLV] Rebels. He played safety, corner, linebacker - he played every position basically. He's finding his way as a linebacker in this scheme. His speed, his recognition is improving and he's off to a good start tonight."
*Q: Jon - you mentioned the fans, but what was the emotion like the first time you stepped on the field and looked around? And during the game, how loud was it in there with that atmosphere? *
Coach Gruden: "It was great. It was like a playoff game for me and one of the bigger games I've been, just emotionally. Getting back to the real Raider atmosphere. It's hard to replicate and it's hard to describe. I think there's going to be a lot of people that have a lot of fun coming to these games. We have a good young team and if the coaching doesn't screw it up, we have a chance to keep getting better."
*Q: Josh Jacobs said that the running back room was really, really competitive this year. What did you think of Trey Ragas and B.J. Emmons? *
Coach Gruden: "Ragas didn't know how to get in a three point stance when he got here. No one's come further in a shorter period of time than him. He makes really good runs, he caught the ball and he picked up the blitz. Jalen Richard goes down and another man gets an opportunity. Tim Berbenich, our running back coach, he's been with me a long time and he's done a hell of a job. This Emmons kid - he went to Alabama and Jacobs is like his agent because Josh knew him at Tuscaloosa. Josh said, 'You better get a good look at this guy'. And boy, did we get a good look at him tonight. He's interesting. He's big, he's fast, he's elusive and he's got no milage on him. He's an unknown. He's off to a good start also and next week is another week."
Q: You mentioned Nate Hobbs to me during training camp. He showed up on that blitz, but elsewhere, what else has caught your eye about him?
Coach Gruden: "He's a little bit like Zay Jones. There's certain guys that bring juice. They bring something to the game that others can't. You can't explain it. He's one of these guys that's into it all the time. Walk-throughs, meetings. He's a nickel corner and might end up being a starter for us. We gave him the start tonight. It's never too big for him. Played good on special teams and wire-to-wire he was in there at the end of the game. We have a lot to look at before we make any conclusions, but we do like our fifth-round pick."
*Q: One of the points at the beginning of camp was the redzone. You took four trips in and punched it in twice. Can you talk about the aggressive approach, Nathan's play and your overall assessment? *
Coach Gruden: "We had some pretty good numbers last year if it would make one of these articles, you know. We did score points and we moved the ball. We're going to be better in the redzone, but two out of four - we want to be four-for-four. We'll hopefully get better and better as the season goes on. It's kind of a sore subject, it's kind of like getting old to me. We know we got to get better and until we do so, we're going to keep hearing about it."
Q: What was the atmosphere like out there and how did you feel tonight?
Peterman: "It was fun. After almost, it feels like two years of really playing, so it's fun playing in front of fans. Like you said, the atmosphere is great. First kind of game in front of fans in Vegas, it was pretty fun. So, just thankful for the opportunity and yeah, I had fun."
Q: Did you feel you sort of had something to prove and inherit that feeling as the game went on with a chip on the shoulder?
Peterman: "Yeah, I think I was always play like that and I think that's kind of when I play at my best. So, every time you go out there, whether it's preseason, practice, whatever it is, I always got something to prove I feel like. So, that's what it was today and just happy to go out there and have some fun and get a win."
Q: First drive there was a lot of you to Zay, and I know you guys have been together a long time on the practice field from the very beginning in the NFl. So how much of that connection kind of helped especially early in the game?
Peterman: "Man, it's amazing just to kind of see where me and Zay [Jones] have come in our careers. I remember throwing to him in the Senior Bowl, still getting drafted together and then obviously coming here together, it's been amazing. He's one of my favorite teammates, favorite person. He's really out there. He's an awesome guy and a great friend, great teammate. It was fun to have some success out there with him on the field."
Q: Because Zay was the early target, did that bond help get you settled in and get the nerves out because he was the primary target in the first quarter?
Peterman: "Yeah, I mean he just he makes plays. Obviously the second one, the go ball, I mean that's just a 50-50 ball. I'm just putting it out there for him to make a play. So, that was all him. It was awesome. He really sparked the whole offense, the whole team. So, pretty awesome to see from him."
Q: Any thoughts on the performances of Alex Leatherwood and Andre James?
Peterman: "Yeah, they were great. Obviously, I've played with Andre a little bit the past couple of years. It was cool to see his progression, he's really taking control out there and communication was great. Yeah, it was fun."
Q: When you see the running backs running as hard as they are and getting that extra yard. How much easier and how much more fun does it make for you to be behind center and handing the ball of to those guys?
Peterman: "Yeah, it's awesome. I told not just the running backs, but obviously the offensive line at the end, I mean it was four-minute drill kind of the whole fourth quarter and they were just mauling people. I told all of the O-line that it was pretty fun to hand the ball off and you look back and there's a huge hole and then to see the running backs obviously hit the hole, break tackles; really happy for all those guys.
Q: Zay said the go ball was all you, so do you have fight for who gets credit for that?
Peterman: "Yeah, see it kind of just says what I was saying, of what a great he is. I can't catch the ball or finish like that, or run like that, so it was definitely all him."
Q: What were your thoughts on Alex Leatherwood? What did you think of his performance?
Peterman: "Yeah, he's my locker mate so we talk a good bit. He's a little quite as a rookie, but I think he always comes to work and obviously I didn't see too much but felt pretty clean when he was out there."
Q: As a unit, how much did the defensive play tonight really spark the offense up with their play?
Peterman: "Absolutely. just noticed them really getting after the passer. I mean that's a huge deal for us and obviously it makes it hard on other offenses. Yeah, I thought we played good complementary football. Field position, we couldn't quite get really good field position in the first half I didn't feel like. And then second half we kind of got good field position finally, stalled a little bit and then had to punt it away and they got it right back to us and we were able to go down and score. So, complimentary football is huge and really just thankful for them."
Q: What would you say kind of happened on the interception and how could you kind of balance between being aggressive and trying to avoid those mistakes?
Peterman: "For sure, yeah kind of part of the game. I just kind of got hit, didn't feel the pressure. I thought we had somebody open and I need to do a better job of just trying to feel the pressure and get it out to whoever and avoid catastrophic plays like that."