Heading Into Matchup With Jets, For The Raiders, It's All About Respect

Birdman wanted it – nay, demanded it – Aretha Franklin wanted it too, and TJ Carrie says it's what the Oakland Raiders are certainly giving the New York Jets this week, heading into their clash at the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum.

"You respect all your opponents," said Carrie. "No matter what their record shows, the stats show, everyone in this league has talent, and you never know what can happen on Sundays."

That word, respect, has been a theme this week for the Silver and Black as they prepare to take on Todd Bowles' football team, a team that fell in its season opener, and truth be told doesn't boast one of the more dynamic rosters in the NFL.

Considered a prototypical "trap" game by those on the outside, Head Coach Del Rio and his staff are going out of their way to ensure that there is no sense of complacency heading into Sunday's home opener at the OACC.

"Our motto is to basically respect every opponent, but fear nobody," Del Rio explained. "I got asked by the New York media a little bit about their team and the spread. Those things mean nothing to us. It's about playing the game. It's about understanding the challenges that you face. It's about recognizing the talent in front of you. Strengths and weaknesses and going after them and preparing accordingly. That's what we're all about. That's how we'll approach the week."

So what exactly are the strengths of the New York Jets? Well, first of all, with big Leonard Williams residing along the defensive front, New York's defensive front is not a group that should be taken lightly, no pun intended.

And according to Del Rio, they won't be.

"I think they probably have one of the better fronts in the league," Del Rio said. "Their defensive front is as talented as any that we'll face. They're very aggressive in their scheme. The two safeties they drafted, we think, are really good football players. I know I liked them both, grading them coming out of the draft. Good players."

While the Jets did allow north of 400 total yards in their season opener against the Bills, in years past, the team has typically boasted a tough defense, something quarterback Derek Carr knows firsthand.

"Obviously playing a Coach Bowles-coached team a couple of times, you see the pressures," Carr stated. "You see the different coverages he likes to throw at you. They have really talented players. Their front is very active, a very physical front seven. On the back end, they've got two young guys but they don't play like it. They're really aggressive, intense, emotional players which is awesome."

After a celebrated return to the postseason in 2016, and then adding a pair of offensive weapons to the roster this offseason, expectations are understandably high for the Silver and Black in 2017.

While the Raiders now have a franchise quarterback, a talented group of playmakers out wide, one of the best offensives line in the football, and an ever-improving defense, that wasn't always the case.

Just a few short years ago, Carrie was a rookie cornerback on a team that started 0-10 and finished the 2014 season with just a trio of wins. He remembers that season well, and in particular remembers the mindset that the team took into each game, mainly, with the goal of earning the respect of their opponents.

"To earn that, you have to go out there and defeat opponents week in and week out," Carrie explained.

Anything can happen on game day, but regardless of what happens at 1:00 p.m. PT this upcoming Sunday, one thing is certain, the Raiders won't be overlooking any facet of the Jets game.

"You can never come into the game with a cocky mentality, 'oh, we should do this to these opponents,' or however you may feel, because any day, any game, can go any way," Carrie said. "A play here or a play there, and you look up and never know what the score [is], so Coach [Del Rio] continues to instill, just respect your opponent. Make sure that we're taking care of Raiders business, and doing what we're doing to make sure that we can go out there and perform at the best of our abilities."

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