Al Saunders is the Senior Offensive Assistant for the Oakland Raiders who has enjoyed a 31-year NFL coaching career, including three seasons as head coach of the San Diego Chargers, and a Super Bowl win in 2000.
Saunders, who was born in Britain, spoke to A Head For The Game at Wembley following the Raiders’ Week 4 loss in the NFL International Series against the Miami Dolphins at Wembley on Sunday evening.
In this first part of two, Saunders talks about the game and the in the second part, which will be live later today. he talks about England and an emotional visit following in the footsteps of a relative.
“Our guys had the best of Britain but unfortunately Britain didn’t get the best of us,” said the 67-year-old in the Raiders locker room after their 38-14 defeat.
“We had a great week of practice at Pennyhill Park – a phenomenal place – it was a great experience and it was really like another mini training camp.
“We thought we would play very, very well. But hats off to Miami, they came out and played extremely good football and we did some things that didn’t help our cause and we were on the bad side of the score.”
A loss is a loss in any game but with all the focus on the NFL International Series matches does it hurt that little bit more?
“Being here was really special and everybody wanted to play really well but you’re always disappointed when you lose, especially in such a meaningful game,” said Sanders who won his Super Bowl ring in 2000 as the assistant head coach of the St Louis Ram.
“Personally for me being a Brit, a lot of my family was here so you want to put on a good performance for them as well as those fans that have come over from America to this great country to see their team play and to lose like we did is very disappointing.”
Despite the loss the Raiders O-Line assistant is well aware that the season is a marathon not a sprint and is looking to a positive future, regardless of the past month performances.
“it’s still a long season to go and we’d like to be 4-0 and not 0-4 but we’re not,” he said. “It is what it is and we are where we are so now we’ve got to make sure we do the best we can to progress forward and be positive about it.
“There’s 12 more games to go this year and there’s a bye next week so we have time to go and reflect, see where we are and see what we need to do get better as we move forward.
“We will go back to Oakland, go straight to work and try to get better than we were today. Maybe we will come back another time and show everyone what the Raiders are really all about.”