The Oakland Raiders lone victory came Week 4 at the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum, and they’ll return to the Black Hole Sunday to host the Los Angeles Chargers for the final matchup of the two-game series. The first meeting between the division rivals earlier this year didn’t sway in favor of the Raiders, falling at StubHub Center 26-10. The Bolts are currently riding a five-game winning streak, and veteran quarterback Philip Rivers is playing at an MVP-caliber level. Leaving the Coliseum with a win Sunday won’t be easy, but the Raiders players and coaching staff are up for the challenge against a tough AFC West foe.
Prior to practice Thursday, Offensive Coordinator Greg Olson and Defensive Coordinator Paul Guenther spoke with the media about some new additions to the roster, and the strides being made by some of the rookies; take a look.
Offensive Coordinator Greg Olson
Olson went into detail about the progression he’s seen from backup quarterback AJ McCarron, and his understanding of the offense.
“I think he’s been up to speed. He’s met a lot on his free time with our quarterbacks coach, Brian Callahan. He’s done a great job with him. He’s really up to speed with the offense, as well as you can be without being here for OTAs and training camp. He’s doing some extra work after practice with a lot of our young wide receivers. We like where he’s at right now and we feel we’d be in capable hands if it came to that.”
He shared what he’s observed when defenses line up against tight end Jared Cook, and how he impacts the offense.
“Everybody defends him differently. Certainly he’s at the top of a lot of tight end categories, receiving tight end. I think people realize that he’s certainly a threat for us. We haven’t seen the double coverages as much as them maybe putting one of their better defenders. We’re seeing sub-defense to our 12-personnel with Jared in the game. That’s because of his ability to catch passes. That would probably be the difference that we’ve seen, a little more sub-defense when Jared is out on the field.”
Olson is pleased with the effort and growth he’s seen from rookie tackle Brandon Parker.
“We have seen some strides. With an athletic tackle like himself, you’ve got to have a vision of what he’s going to be like in four to five years from now. When we drafted him, that was it: we had a vision. We knew he wasn’t as thick as we’d like him to be right now, but we know there is certainly going to be some growth along the way. He’s getting invaluable experience right now. We didn’t initially think he was going to have to play as a rookie, we had Donald Penn. That’s part of this business. He got thrust into action. He’s giving us his all right now. We have really high expectations for him and we’ll expect him to get better for the future.”
Defensive Coordinator Paul Guenther
Monday the team signed defensive ends Kony Ealy and Jacquies Smith; Thursday Guenther talked about how they’ll factor into the defensive scheme.
“These guys have played in a Super Bowl, played on a couple different teams. He’s a physical guy, big guy as a defensive end for us that has some experience. We’re trying to find the right mix of guys, churning the roster a little bit to find some guys that fit us not only now but for the future.”
Guenther opened up about how no one from the coaching staff to the players expected to be 1-7, but the team is working tirelessly to find a solution.
“I’ve really never been through anything like this before because when I took the job there were a lot of guys that were either up for free agency or that I thought were going to be on the roster. Obviously, there was a lot of changes. Guys got signed to other teams and we had to fill those spots in with some of the veterans with the cap money that we had. It’s been a challenge. Obviously, we’re trying to build this thing to get it the right way. That’s going to be a moving part the rest of the year, to try and find the right fit of guys, not only for this year but moving down the road.