Colts Quarterback Andrew Luck
While the Oakland Raiders have officially clinched a playoff berth, the Indianapolis Colts are still fighting for their spot in the postseason. Colts Head Coach Chuck Pagano was a part of the Silver and Black a decade ago, serving as the team's defensive backs coach, while quarterback Andrew Luck competed against Raiders signal-caller Derek Carr in high school during a state tournament. Both reflected on their past experience and discussed the impending matchup this Saturday. Heading into the game, here's a look at what the opponents are saying.
**Colts Head Coach Chuck Pagano
Pagano reminisced on his tenure in Oakland, and what it was like working for owner Al Davis.
"I was blessed and fortunate to have had the opportunity to work for Mr. Davis for two years in 2005 and 2006. History speaks for itself. What a great organization and great franchise and great man Mr. Davis was. I learned a tremendous amount of football and a lot of things from him. Again, I was very, very fortunate and had a great two years, me and my family, out there. Again, it's just a testament to that organization and Mark Davis and the job that he's done and the job that Coach Del Rio and his staff have done and those players."
He broke down what the team is currently doing that's contributing to its success.
"They're playing at a high level right now and playing with a ton of confidence. He has a bunch of good players. The way they play the game, when you put on the tape, offense, defense and special teams, again a testament to what they've put together out there and the job that Jack and his staff have done."
Pagano shared his thoughts on Carr, and why he's such a dynamic quarterback in the NFL.
"He's a great, great competitor. Great player. He has talent. He has mobility. He has arm strength. He's doing a great job of running that offense. He's making great decisions. He's taking care of the football. When things aren't there, he's athletic enough to run and extend plays and run for first downs. He's a nightmare right now. He's playing with a great deal of confidence."
He discussed the Raiders defense and its ability to force takeaways throughout the game.
I think they're third in the league with 26 takeaways with 13 interceptions and 13 fumble recoveries. They put a ton of pressure on you. They have two edge rushers that are as good a tandem at rushing the passer as anybody in the league. Cover guys and a safety with four interceptions in Reggie Nelson. Linebackers, interior defensive lineman, they do a great job. Again, forget all the numbers. They're a strong unit.
Quarterback Andrew Luck
The Stanford-product talked about the challenges of facing the Raiders pass rush.
"Yeah, it's obvious. It's the first thing you see, two very special, premier players. There's a lot more than that. It's a stout, stout front seven, linebackers that can play, big, fast, physical, athletic. Some really good cover guys. We know we have our work cut out for us. It should be a fun one. A great challenge."
Luck reflected on when he faced Carr in high school, and shared what he thought of him at the time.
"You could tell, obviously, that he was going to be a really, really good football player. I think he's more athletic than people give him credit for. He runs around and makes some great plays. He does a great job of taking care of the football. I'm a big fan."
Defensive Coordinator Ted Monachino
Monachino considers the Raiders offense as one of the best in the league, and said they'll have to be prepared.
"Tremendous challenge with this offense this weekend, obviously they're a very talented group. They're very efficient and they're well coached, statistically they're one of the best in the league, so we've got our work cut out for us."
He talked about what Carr does that makes him jump off on film, and why he's so efficient.
"Everything impresses me about him. He's got a very high football IQ, he's got a live arm to make all the throws, he can move in the pocket and out of the pocket, he can make plays with his feet. I think he's a guy they envisioned when they drafted him, he's a very talented football player and he gets it. He understands where to go with the football very early in the down, so him holding it very long is usually not the way they go. He gets it out very quickly because he has a good feel for what he's seeing out there."