Quarterback Marcus Mariota
Through two weeks of play, the Oakland Raiders are on opposite sides of the spectrum when it comes to offense and defense. Offensively the team is first in the league with the most total yards, while the defense is 32nd in the league total yards allowed. This week the Silver and Black take on the Tennessee Titans and have been preparing all week.
Titans quarterback Marcus Mariota and fellow members of the team weighed in on what it will be like facing players like defensive end Khalil Mack and quarterback Derek Carr.
Here's what the opponents are saying:
Head Coach Mike Mularkey:
Mularkey shared his thoughts on the Raiders' defense and what they bring to the table.
"It's a good defense. I've been in the league a long time; I know better than to let my guard down. I know [Head Coach] Jack [Del Rio] and [defensive coordinator] Ken [Norton, Jr.] and those guys will do whatever they have to do to get it back up to the level that they've had them. We're not going to let our guard down on this one."
He discussed what it will be like playing the Silver and Black for the third time in a year.
"I think it's more personnel than it is anything. I'm sure they did, we did, we used the game in the breakdown and what you're doing is looking at tendencies really in all phases – if there's something that's consistent with the regular season game and our game. You just add those numbers up to just confirm what you think. Again, players already have played against some of these guys. They know their personnel, we do too. I think that's the advantage for both teams."
The Titans head coach commended Raiders quarterback Derek Carr on his play so far in the NFL.
"I do. I really think he's a good quarterback. He's very confident, obvious in his body language. Some of the throws he's making are outstanding. He's throwing it into some tight windows. He's got a lot of trust in his skill players and he's got some skill players; very dangerous guys. I just watch his body language and the way he commands, even on film. I watched him in that third preseason game, he's a game wrecker."
Mularkey addressed what it's like going up against players like linebacker Bruce Irvin and defensive end Khalil Mack.
"We kind of have the same problem here with our two outside edge rushers. You have a plan of attack. We do when we practice. The good news is we've had work on it for a long time. It's easier said than done. They're both really good. Both really good in both, not just rushing the passer but setting the edge in the run game. We'll have a plan."
Quarterback Marcus Mariota:
Mariota described what getting to know Carr has been like and their relationship.
"We talked a little bit, just purely on after-game types of deals. But you know every chance I've talked to him, he's been great guy, he's been very supportive and it's been cool to kind of get to know him a little bit."
The second-year quarterback acknowledged the talent the Raiders' have on the defensive side of the ball.
"I still think they have some of the best pass rushers in the NFL. Their two outside guys are guys that really can make a difference in the game. Part of that, up front they're really good. The back end, those guys have made plays. It's a tough game week in and week out. Sometimes it's just not your day, not your week. But, we know that come Sunday those guys will be ready and ready to play us."
Mariota elaborated on the defense by discussing the challenge of facing Irvin and Mack.
"You have to know where they're at because there are certain things they do on the defensive side where they get them the matchup that they like or they favor. But, for us, we just have to focus on what we're doing, make sure we're communicating and everyone's on the same page and do our best to stay on page."
He shared what it was like getting to know Raiders wide receiver Amari Cooper in college and his competitive nature.
"Well, just getting to know him a little bit from that standpoint. He was great, he was kind of fun to talk to, fun to hang out with for a little bit. He's had an incredible start to his career. He's fun to watch and he's that type of guy – from the few moments that I've kind of spent with him – he's a competitive guy. He's going to do everything in his power to be the best player he can be. So, I'm sure he's got an exciting future and I'm sure he'll continue to make plays."
Defensive Coordinator Dick LeBeau:
LeBeau talked about the Raiders stable of running backs.
"They're kind of a combination of the guys we've played the last two weeks. We had the big back the first week and we had the scat backs the next week. We need to know which ones are in the game and that's the type of offense we'll be seeing from the running game."
He also elaborated more on the play of running back Latavius Murray.
"He's a lot better, just the statistics show that. He was a young player growing last year, and you can really see that growth in his numbers in the first two games, I think represent that. I think he's on his way to being very, very, very good."
LeBeau shared his thoughts on the progression of wide receiver Amari Cooper.
"He's been successful at every level he's played and he's just a really good young player. He's so quick, he's got the size, and he can run away from you. His skill with the ball are outstanding, he's like a lot of the receivers that we see coming up they can contribute early because at the colleges they throw it so much. He was a factor in the deep ball, he was tremendous."