Quarterback Philip Rivers
Sunday marks the first division game of the 2016 season for the Oakland Raiders. The team is hosting its division rival, the San Diego Chargers, at the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum. Members of the Chargers have share their thoughts on upcoming match, here's what the opponents are saying.
Head Coach Mike McCoy
McCoy had some high praise for Raiders quarterback Derek Carr and his success through three years in the NFL.
"You just love the way he goes about it and he plays. He'll sit in the pocket, take a big hit, jump right back up with that smirk on his face like, 'I got it. I completed the ball.' He just keeps on going. You just love the way he plays. He's very talented. Had a great career at Fresno. We were very high on him here coming out, when he came out of the draft, but it doesn't shock me at all the success he's having."
Quarterback Philip Rivers:
Rivers talked about "Raider week" and the significance of the divisional rivalry.
"Raider week is a huge deal, I learned that early on… I don't think we've got many guys who have grown up a part of it, a part of this division, we've got so many young players. Yeah, first thing: it's a division game which makes it a big deal, throw in the fact of what I've seen over the last 12 years, two different cities, it's an in-state deal."
He also discussed the progression of the Raiders over the past couple years and the current team.
"Obviously the Raiders, I feel like we've been saying it since, I don't know what year, but they continued year after year…you look over there and say it's a heck of a football team. They've got a heck of a quarterback on the offensive side, some skill players on that side, they've got two edge rushers, and a salty secondary. It's a good team."
Defensive Coordinator John Pagano:
Pagano addressed the Raiders offense this season and how they've been successful in a multitude of areas.
"Explosive, great running attack right now, something like fourth or fifth in the National Football League. I don't understand stats all that much, but with them I know it's a very high level of running the football. Two outstanding receivers in Crabtree and Cooper, we've got to do a good job on those guys. The offensive line is big, physical, mauling-type guys that want to try and control the line of scrimmage."
He commended Carr for his decision making and prevention of turnovers this season.
"I think a guy that's been playing really well is [Derek] Carr. He's not turning the ball over, he's smart with the football, I know his completion percentage is up seven percent from last year. He's throwing it 68 or 69 percent, which is a high level. They're not giving up sacks as an offensive unit and they're not turning the ball over and that's something huge. It's a big task going up there against a division opponent."
The Chargers defensive coordinator shared his thoughts on the Silver and Black's rushing attack.
"I thought they had a three-headed monster, the way they were playing. Those guys are such great change of pace backs, those one-cut downhill slashing type runners. Murray is an outstanding back and we're still preparing. Until we get out there on kickoff and he's not there then we go from there. You've got to do extra film study on these guys and you've got to see how they do, how they run certain routes, how they run the football. They've got a great rushing attack and it shows."
Running Back Melvin Gordon
Gordon explained what makes the Raiders defense so difficult to play against, specifically the pass rushers.
"Just physical, especially up front. They have some big boys up on the line. Obviously, everyone knows about Khalil Mack and the pass rushers. They're physical, man, they're physical and big and they're playing with a swagger right now."