Jaguars Quarterback Blake Bortles
Week 7 is upon us, the Oakland Raiders will begin their 10-day road trip Friday, first heading to Jacksonville, Florida to face the Jaguars. This should be a good matchup for both teams, and quarterbacks Derek Carr and Blake Bortles will have a chance to reconnect after building a relationship through the 2014 NFL draft.
With Sunday's action just days away, here's what the opponents are saying.
Jaguars Head Coach Gus Bradley
Bradley broke down the Raiders three phases and shared what they're doing to be successful.
"Well, if you look at all three units, offensively starting with that, just how efficient they are. They're putting up a lot points. They're ranking fourth in yards per play, eighth in yards per game. They're not giving up many sacks. The red zone, I think as far as situational football, is close to 80 percent when they're there. All those things put together show that they're very efficient and they're operating at a pretty high level. Defensively, you look at rankings, but on film as far as playing fast, the two edge guys with [Bruce] Irvin and [Khalil] Mack really jump out at you. They're obviously something to deal with."
**He praised Raiders quarterback Derek Carr for being a well-rounded player, and has good decision making skills.
"His completion percentage. It feels like he's playing with really good poise. He's making very good decisions and he's very accurate. I think those things, really are the three big things that are jumping out at you. Now there's other things, too. His ability to extend the play. He extends the play and looks down field. Some guys can't do that. He's always looking for that big play opportunity down field. Like I said, timing accuracy, decision making, all traits of a good quarterback and he's demonstrating those on tape."
Bradley talked about Raiders rookie safety Karl Joseph, and what about Joseph stood out during the draft process.
"I really liked him. I really liked him, but understand for us, we're more of a single safety, middle team. So a guy that's a ball hawk has really good range, can go from sideline to sideline, very active. He has all those traits. He was a guy that we really thought highly of."
Quarterback Blake Bortles
Bortles discussed the relationship he shares with Carr and what their communication is like.
"I got a chance to go on a couple of different team visits with him, so we had a chance to go to dinner and do some stuff like that with him and exchanged numbers. We talk every now and then – I still have his number, still text him here and there. We'll talk in the offseason and throughout the year, but he's an unbelievable guy. He's a guy that I definitely check and see how he's doing throughout the year after every game and rooting for, and look forward to seeing him Sunday."
The third-year quarterback acknowledged what makes the Raiders pass rush so special.
"I think Mack is a guy that is going to play for a long time and be successful for a long time and Irvin is a guy that has been doing it for a while already. I think those are definitely two threats on the edge, definitely guys that we're going to have to be alert of. You want to make sure you keep those guys from kind of ruining your game plan as far as an offensive, whether it's chipping them or cutting them, doing different things, doing stuff like that to try and keep him off guard and not letting them just free rush."
Offensive Coordinator Greg Olson
Former Raiders offensive coordinator Olson noted that both Bortles and Carr share a competitive passion for football.
"They're both tremendous competitors, I think both of those guys are tremendous competitors. You look at them, they're two individuals, but they're young quarterbacks that were thrown into the league and had to play early, as rookies. They've both gone through changes and coordinators, but they're just tremendous competitors. They both prepare very well, and are both very intelligent players."
He talked about what characteristics are necessary in order to be a successful quarterback.
"The mental and physical toughness you have to go through at that position, at the quarterback position. Certainly there's a tremendous amount responsibility that goes on for you, in terms of being the quarterback of a team. To handle a locker room, a lot of responsibility that goes on in terms of leadership for a quarterback. To be able stand up in front of the team, in front of the media, and be able to handle the scrutiny."
**Olson also shared his thoughts on the play and progression of Raiders defensive end Khalil Mack.
"He's a tremendous player, he was a tremendous player when he came in as a rookie. You can see his development, he still plays at a very high level. He's got tremendous quickness and power, has a great skill set, and is a great player. He's a great person as well."
Defensive Coordinator Todd Walsh
Walsh commented on what it will be like to face the Raiders, specifically Carr.
"We've done some real good things versus some good quarterbacks, but this week we'll have one of the better quarterbacks we've faced, so we're going to have a great challenge this week. They're playing with confidence, they're playing within the scheme, and executing."
He elaborated more about the multiple weapons the Raiders have on offense, and that it will be a good challenge for the Jaguars defense.
"They're obviously very good, 'Coop' and Crabtree, we played Crabtree when he was on the 49ers quite a few times. The young backs are doing well, we don't know if their starter tailback will be back, but Carr, he's special now. He can avoid the rush, he can throw the deep ball, he's got good touch on mid-range balls, so we're going to have our work cut out for this offense. They're good."