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Rich Gannon Pre-Game Press Conference

Raiders Quarterback Rich Gannon talks to the press about their upcoming game against the Pats on Sunday in Foxboro.To read a full transcript, click below.



Q: We congratulate you on a nice season you have had.

RG: Thank you.

Q: Of course we have a young guy here who has done pretty well too.

RG: I would say so.

Q: What transpired when you were drafted here in '87? How did it happen? They didn't want to give you a chance to quarterback, is that what it was all about?

RG: Well it was such a long time ago that I don't know if anyone, even back there, remembers.

Q: Yeah we remember.

RG: Well you know no one really is left with that organization. Coaches, general managers, owners, everybody is different. But anyway what happened was I was drafted. I was drafted really as an athlete and I didn't really feel like…I'm pretty sure they weren't going really to give me a chance to play quarterback. The quarterback situation at the time was pretty good. They had Steve Grogan and Tony Eason and Tom Ramsey and I just felt like my chances of playing in the National Football League weren't very good if I wasn't going to have the opportunity to play quarterback. It would be very difficult for a guy that never played a position to try and learn one in the course of four or five weeks of training camp and try to make an NFL team.

Q: It's pretty rare that a rookie stands up for his convictions and you did and you wanted to be traded?

RG: Yeah I told them I probably wouldn't certainly report to mini camp. You know I would go to law school before I would do that. Nothing against the organization, I just felt like…I just thought it was kind of ridiculous for even someone to do that and not even talk to me about it before hand. That was what happened. They drafted me and on the phone, at the time I think it was Raymond Berry was the head coach, and he called me and he said, 'We are excited to have you and we're just looking for the best position for you.' Well right then and there I knew that it wasn't quarterback.

Q: In some ways, back in the '60s and '70s they would do that a lot. They would take a good quarterback and make him a safety or whatever. But in your case you were sure that is what you wanted to do?

RG: Well I just knew…I felt like I was good enough to play and I just feel like, I'd never heard of a situation where any team, even back in the '60s and '70s, had ever drafted a guy prior to the draft not having talked to him or worked him out and said, 'Here's what we are thinking.' I just think that that…I think that they certainly learned their lesson from that one. I think that's a mistake.

Q: Of course that was probably the best thing for your career, to stand up for your rights?

RG: Well no question. I got a chance to…I got traded six days, I think, after the draft to Minnesota and got a chance to learn behind some pretty good players. You know Tommy Kramer was a Pro Bowl quarterback. Wade Wilson was a Pro Bowl quarterback. I had a chance to learn and I got some good coaching there and finally got a chance to play up there and kind of jump start my career.

Q: If you were a safety like they planned here you would probably be selling insurance now.

RG: Probably.

Q: As a quarterback you've got a nice career and you are having your best football later in your career?

RG: Well I will tell you what, I have had to work for every opportunity. I feel like I appreciate it more now that I have been in the league as long as I have and I've finally gotten the opportunity the last couple years to be the every-down player and the starter and just really tried to make the most of the opportunity.

Q: Why is that? You've been matched up with Jon the last three years and you've been in the Pro Bowl?

RG: I think there is certainly a coincidence there. I think he's one of the best head coaches in the game right now. I think he's obviously a dynamic offensive play caller and game planner. I think he does a great job on game days getting the quarterbacks ready and prepared to play so that we're not out there, there are not too many things we don't prepare for and see during the course of the week and I think that I really feel like I'm the beneficiary of some great coaching and I'm surrounded by some great players.

Q: You've had different coaches, why is it you've had such good simpatico with him?

RG: I mean there are several reasons for that. I think the big reason though is his energy level, his excitement, his desire to compete and to be successful. I think those are all traits and characteristics that appeal to me and I just have the utmost respect for the guy. He's a hard worker. He's energetic. He's enthusiastic. He gets after it and I like being around people like that. I like being around people who are driven to be successful and I think that that's why Jon and I hit it off so well.

Q: Phil Simms said that you are light years ahead of everybody in terms of decision-making. Why is that? Has all that experience just come to the point where you've seen so much on the field that you know what to do?

RG: We go in to a game this week where you know I'm really going to have to be sharp because they give you so many different looks and so many disguises. The Patriots, Belichick and his system of football, I mean it's as good as it gets from defensive standpoint in the National Football League. So I am going to have to be sharp, but I think a lot of it comes with two things. One is the experience and having played and seeing a lot of things over the years. And number two, my preparation. I take a lot of pride in that and I feel like I work as hard as anybody getting myself ready for Sunday.

Q: It's been shown on TV that you are not afraid to voice your opinion to your coach. How does that come about?

RG: Well it comes about after he voices his opinion to me. I think that is a two-way street. I think the one thing that gets blown out of proportion is that Jon is a very vocal, very excitable guy. I think that he's very demonstrative during the course of the game and I think that unfortunately I'm the same way and there have been times where it looks like we've clashed, but I mean I think that what the media and maybe the public don't get to see is 15 seconds later we're probably huddled up together on the sidelines talking about the next series or the next series of plays. I think that anybody who's as close as we are and works as close as we do together, during the course of a long season you are going to have your differences. But at the same time I have the utmost respect for him and what he's done and where he's put us and we certainly see eye to eye on that. Like I said, I kind of relate it to the fact that it's like a sibling. You can't go through a 365-day year and not have a disagreement or an argument with your brother and that's just the way it is with Jon and I. But I think that he'll be the first to tell you that it's not over the fact that we don't want to win and we don't want to be successful.

Q: You've had success later and Tom Brady has had success immediately here. When you guys get together in Hawaii are you going to talk to him about what he's got ahead of him?

RG: Not really because we'll have to play this guy another couple of years, but I'll tell you what I've been really impressed with him. Not just his play, but the way he's carried himself and the way he's handled the situation there. I think he's done it in a very, a professional workman-like way and I know that can be a very difficult situation, but he seems to have done and said the right things and really been a real spark and a catalyst on that football team and that's very, very impressive for a young guy who doesn't have that many career starts under his belt.

Q: When you played the Patriots in '91 you had your career high for number of passes, 35 for 63…?

RG: That's why we lost.

Q: Was there something in your mind at the time to prove something to the organization?

RG: I wanted to win the game, obviously. We had a chance to win the game. We were driving for a score at the end and we had a fumble. A guy made a catch and got hit and the ball came out and the Patriots came down and kicked the field goal. That's how we lost it in overtime. Sure you obviously want to play your best football, but I think that's so long ago now and in the past that there are too many other circumstances. I don't really consider New England one of the stops on my journey in my career because I actually never really spent any time there. A lot has changed and a lot has happened in the 15 years since I was drafted.

Q: You have a lot of veterans all together on offense. Is that kind of unique?

RG: Well there is no question about it, you know. At the same time, I mean we have to play our best football against a very good New England football team and go on the road in a difficult environment with the crowd noise and the weather conditions and so forth, but the one thing we do have is we do have the experience. The guys have played in a lot of football games and there is not a whole lot that they haven't seen, but at the same time we have the utmost respect for what they do defensively. Like I said, we have our work cut out for us.

Q: You guys struggled a little scoring points down the stretch in the regular season, but then last week against the Jets your offense was very productive. What was the major reason for the bounce back?

RG: I think we were frustrated the last quarter of the season. You are right, we didn't put up the kind of numbers we would have liked and at the same time we played some pretty good defensive football teams and we were in every game with a chance to win and unfortunately we lost three of the four, but I think the big thing the other night was that we had a good week of preparation, a good week of practice. I felt the attitude of the players was very positive, up-beat and we just kind of wanted to get on with the playoffs and get started into what we had hoped would be a very positive and productive postseason. I think the tempo was excellent. We got a number of plays called and I think we were very aggressive in our approach. We went after them. We attacked them and that's when we are at our best and hopefully we can keep that going through the playoffs.

Q: Is that another factor of experience, because you guys have seen so much its easier to stay positive when you hit a little down patch?

RG: I think so. I think that there was a lot of negative criticism of our football team and whether or not we could do anything in the playoffs. I felt like this is a football team that is very mature, very experienced and would know what to do when we got in that situation. Obviously you know we would have liked to finish the season and been more productive down the stretch and put ourselves in position where we could have had some playoff games at home, but it just didn't happen for us and it wasn't for a lack of effort.

Q: Coach Belichick has talked about how complex your offense is. From your perspective, how complex is your offense?

RG: Well it is. I mean we use a lot of different personnel groupings, a lot of different formations and movements, shifts and motions. We use a great deal of volume play wise, not only in the running game, but in the passing game and I think it makes it difficult at times for defenses to prepare. I think that when you combine that with the personnel that we do have I think that it makes us one of the more potent offenses. At the same time, like I said, we are matched up against a defense that's very similar. It gives us a lot of different looks, a very complicated scheme and so I think it should be a good match up on Saturday night.

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