The one thing to know about Stanford Routt is that he’s never afraid to answer questions of reporters — even when he’s not in the mood. Most players, when they see the contention of media enter the locker room, remember that they have things to attend to somewhere else and scatter faster than you can say, “Got a moment?”
Routt also isn’t afraid to take responsibility for his play. Last Sunday, the Raiders allowed Phillip Rivers to throw for 431 yards and make Malcom Floyd look like more like Cliff Branch than, well, Malcom Floyd. Asked what the reason was for the Raiders’ collapse on pass defense, Routt bluntly stated, “Our communication wasn’t as on point as it’s been in week’s and year’s past.”
When asked if the team’s focus on stopping the run had anything to do with it, Routt gruffly said, “I don’t know. I mean, you know you can really make whatever inference you want to come up with about it. Whatever explanation. Maybe that was it, maybe it wasn’t.“
Whatever may have been the problem for the Raiders’ defense on Sunday, the point is that even if they play just as bad this week, it’s highly unlikely that Alex Smith and the 49ers will come close to what Rivers and the Chargers were able to do — being that they have the 23rd ranked offense in the NFL and not a top five offense like the Chargers. It’s also highly unlikely that the Raiders’ pass defense will play as poorly as it did last Sunday.
Is that communication in or outside of the huddle? “Both. Presnap, during snap, whatever you want to call it,” said Routt. “We just didn’t get it done on Sunday. We got the win, which is the main thing and the great thing, but we definitely didn’t get it done on the back end, especially our corners…especially.”
While Routt can be matter of fact about the circumstances surrounding the San Diego game, it doesn’t mean that he’s not bothered by it. He’s still mulling over some of the plays the Chargers were able to be successful with on Thursday.
“Even now, on Thursday, I’m still going over plays in my head from Sunday, thinking, ‘Man, there’s plays that just shouldn’t have been made by them.’ But it happens. You’re never going to play perfect as much as you want to because the other teams get paid, too. Football’s a lot like a 12-round boxing match. Very seldom is there going to be a third-round KO. They’re going to make their punches, they’re going to make their plays. You just want to make sure in the 12th round, a la the fourth quarter, you’re the person that makes the last blow. That’s what we did as a defense.”
The most important thing for any player in any sport is confidence, and Routt says he and the Raiders’ defense still have plenty of that — even after letting up 947 yards in the last two games. “Yeah, we feel like we’re still a good defense and that everything that has gone wrong the past two games is fixable,” said the sixth year corner.
Because it’s fixable in the minds of the Raiders’ defensive team, there’s plenty of confidence that they will only get better. Routt was just as courageous about making that statement as well.
“We just played two of the better offenses in the league and didn’t make some of the plays we normally make. We’ll get it right and get back on track where we were at the start of the season.”
I think they’re similar as far as ability, but they may be a little bit different as far as how they get it done, but nevertheless they’re both two Pro Bowl tight ends, plain and simple.
– Routt on the differences between Antonio Gates and Vernon Davis.