Texans Linebacker Brian Cushing
Monday night, the Oakland Raiders play host to the Houston Texans at Estadio Azteca in Mexico City for the NFL's first Monday Night Football appearance since 2001. This will be the 10th time the two opponents have faced off, having last met on the gridiron in 2014. The Raiders and the Texans are both forces to be reckoned with and Monday's game should be a gritty battle. The Silver and Black rank fifth in overall offense, while the Texans defense ranks fourth in the league.
The clash could have some playoff implications further down the line, as both teams continue fighting for the top spot in their respective divisions. Heading into the primetime matchup, here's what the opponents are saying.
Texans Head Coach Bill O'Brien
O'Brien shared his thoughts on the Raiders special teams and how they've impacted games.
"They're playing very well in all three phases. I'll start on special teams, obviously they're specialists are excellent players. [Sebastian] Janikowski and [Marquette] King, Jon Condo was at Maryland when I was coaching there. I mean, that's how long he's been doing it for this league, in this league long snapping. Got good returners, [Jalen] Richard's done a nice job of returning. They're fast and athletic on special teams."
He praised the Raiders defense and offense for their physicality and ability to play at a high level.
"Defensively, they're big inside. They've got [Khalil] Mack and [Bruce] Irvin, excellent pass rushers, fast athletic linebackers, physical strong secondary and offensively, Derek Carr is playing at a high level. You got Amari Cooper, [Michael] Crabtree, those guys are playing at a high level. And [Latavius] Murray, Murray's a 230-pound back that's running the ball downhill. So, they're playing at a high level, it's a big challenge for us."
O'Brien commented on the Raiders stout offensive line and how the coaching staff has done a nice job altogether.
"I know, obviously, we have a lot of respect for [Raiders Head Coach] Jack [Del Rio] and the way he coaches and then offensively with [Raiders offensive coordinator] Bill Musgrave and [Raiders offensive line coach] Mike Tice. Those guys are doing a good job. They're very difficult to deal with, lot of different personnel groups, but when it comes to bread and butter, it looks like it's 320 pounds across the board basically, and big, physical guys that can move. It's going to be a big challenge to stand up to that offensive line."
Punter Shane Lechler
The former Raiders punter shared his thoughts on facing his former team and what the experience will be like.
"Yeah, I have a lot of respect for those guys and really good friendships still on that team. I'm looking forward to it. I've done it. I've played in Oakland. I've played the Raiders here in Houston. Now, it's funny, but it'll be the third different city to play this game in. I'm looking forward to it. They're playing really good right now, so we'll see how it goes."
Lechler talked about what current Raiders punter Marquette King has been able to accomplish this season for the Silver and Black.
"Yeah, he's doing a good job. I have a lot of respect for Marquette. He's handling it really well. He's doing a good job. He's been steady for them."
Running Back Lamar Miller
Miller discussed what the Raiders defense has to offer.
"They have a good defense, all of them have different skill sets. They've got fast guys, big guys, so we've just got to do a great job of doing our assignment and just playing fast, keeping the chains moving."
Defensive End Jadeveon Clowney
Clowney commended Raiders quarterback Derek Carr for his playmaking ability from anywhere on the field.
"He can make any throw on the field, in the pocket, outside the pocket, he can make any pass on the field. That's what makes him a good quarterback."
Linebacker Brian Cushing
Cushing reflected on facing Carr when he was a rookie and how he's grown since then.
"Obviously it was only the second game of his career and he's grown tremendously since then as a player, and has matured big time. He can obviously do it all now, he's a very diverse quarterback in the throw and run, we expect it all."