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Sparano: "They've handled it like pros"


Opening Statement: **"Injuries: Khalif Barnes, did not practice today and right now is out; Derek Carr, practiced today, was limited again, he's listed as questionable; Keith McGill did not practice today, he's going to be out; Sio Moore was limited today again, questionable; Marcel Reece was limited today and is questionable. We added two players to the list, Vincent Brown today is limited today with a hamstring, he's questionable; and Tarell Brown with a thumb, was really full today, and he's probable."

Q: It looks as if Derek Carr is going to go?

Coach Sparano:"As long as, again, no setback tomorrow when we get here, any of those type of things. We're taking this really one day, honestly one day at a time with the thing. We get here tomorrow and all is good, we should be good."

Q: How's Maurice Jones-Drew this week?

Coach Sparano:"Jones-Drew had a good week, did a good job, had a good week of practice and is excited to get at this game. I think prior to the bye, with the hand and those type of things, so he's had the bye, he's had a little bit of time and it's feeling pretty good right now going into the ball game."

Q: Can you envision him taking a greater role this week after only having two touches with the Dolphins?

Coach Sparano:"Yeah, I can envision a lot of things right now, but as we sit here today, yeah I'd like to see that happen. I'd like Maurice to take a little bit greater role, maybe get some snaps off of Darren [McFadden], if we could, keep them both fresh that way, but we also have got to be running the football and doing some things that way too."

Q: Were you happy with the way the week went?

Coach Sparano:"I really was. I actually just told the kids afterwards, the men afterwards, that I was really proud of the way they handled the week. This has been obviously not an easy situation right now for anybody, and they've handled it like pros. It's part of our business, but they've done a nice job that way, of putting the distractions aside and getting on to business, and really we've had a good week of practice."

Q: Is Matt Schaub's arm OK if he had to come in?

Coach Sparano:"Yeah, it is. Matt had some time to rest obviously, with his personal situation there, and being out a little bit. He's had a good week, a good week of practice. Both Matt's [Schaub and McGloin] have had a good week of practice, so that's been positive too. I feel good where he is."

Q: Is Matt Schaub the No. 2 quarterback this weekend?

Coach Sparano:"I'm going to keep that one to me right now, but they both have practiced really well."

Q: Will Menelik Watson draw Dwight Freeney most of the time this week?

Coach Sparano:"Well, actually, if they go the way we've seen it, you'll see him a lot on Donald [Penn]. In the base snaps, you could see him over there, yes."

Q: How has Menelik Watson been in terms of not having a chance to be coddled into things?

Coach Sparano:"No, he certainly doesn't and he hasn't been coddled. I would say if you asked Menelik, coddled would be the last word he would use. Obviously, this is an important step for Menelik right now as we look forward, Khalif is out and Menelik will play. This will be a big step for him as he goes forward. He played a lot of snaps last week in the ball game and did some good things in that game, did some things that needed to be corrected, but it's out there, it's on tape, our opponent sees it and he knows he's got to fix it. We have to fix it. That being said, I think he's excited about the opportunity right now and he's ready to go. He's worked hard this week."

Q: You haven't played at home in a long time, will that be nice?

Coach Sparano:"Yeah, it'll be great. We're really looking forward to getting home, really looking forward to getting in front of our fans here. Our fans are passionate people. One of the most unbelievable things to me, and I've been in a lot of football games in this league, was to go to London and to see the amount of Raider fans and the support that we had out there. It really was a tremendous, tremendous experience for me, and a compliment to our fans. We're hoping they're there tomorrow and they're loud and they're excited because we're excited, well Sunday, some of them might get there tomorrow."

Q: No one has asked you about the Wildcat yet …

Coach Sparano:"I was waiting for that one. (laughing) You can see anything right now. We've done a lot of work right now, and again, it's all part of our self-scout. Up until this point, we've really run three snaps of it, three snaps. We've been efficient every time we've lined up in it, it's been good to us, but we've only run three snaps, and for different reasons, Maurice [Jones-Drew] maybe not being out there at times. When we went to that at Miami, it was largely due to get Ronnie [Brown] and Ricky [Williams] on the field at the same time and to be able to do some things that way. We could see anything right now."

Q: Was there anything when you left Miami that you knew you wanted to focus on the next time you got the opportunity to be the head coach?

Coach Sparano:"Was there something that I did? Yeah, there are a lot of things that I did. I'm pretty critical of myself honestly, that way. I look back on that experience quite often, particularly now, but quite often. I didn't come into this league to do anything other than, honestly, to be a head coach. That has been my goal since the time I came in this league. That being said, you can't point the finger and you can't blame it on a lot of other people and those type of things. That's not what you do. You look at yourself and you say, 'How could I have done it better? What could I have done differently?' For me to give you one example, I really couldn't give you one example. There are some things that I obviously didn't do well enough there, but there are some things that we're trying to do here right now, in a short period of time, that I feel like are answers to some of those things."

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