Oakland Raiders: Tony Sparano Thursday Press Conference


On Thursday the Oakland Raiders interim head coach took to the podium as usual to discuss the Sunday matchup for his winless team as the Silver and Black will be travelling to Seattle to take on the defending champion Seahawks in what will be a rematch of the Preseason Week 4 clash in Oakland where rookie Derek Carr helped guide the Raiders to a win before the team crashed to earth in the regular season when the games started to matter.

Facing a 4-3 Seahawks team that are 15 point Vegas underdogs, Sparano outlined the keys to game while discussing the Raiders injury report as well as the crowd noise in a Seattle stadium that will be loud even with their fans considering Sunday as a easy win over the 0-7 Raiders.

Following is a transcript of Sparano’s Thursday press conference courtesy of the Oakland Raiders official team website:

Opening Statement

“Injuries: David Ausberry did not practice today with the foot; Vincent Brown did not practice with the hamstring; TJ Carrie was full today with the back; Chimdi Chekwa did not practice today with a hamstring; Keith McGill did not practice today with a groin; Marcel Reece was limited today with the quad; Carlos Rogers did not practice with the knee; Justin Tuck was limited today with the knee; Jamize Olawale was limited today with a shoulder; and Kenbrell Thompkins did not practice today and it was for personal reasons.”

Q: Will Kenbrell Thompkins be back in time for the game?

“I can’t answer that question right now.”

Q: Is Carlos Rogers injured seriously enough for him to miss the game on Sunday? What is that situation?

“We’ll see. We’ll see how he is tomorrow. Last week, he was really limited during the course of the week as well – I believe last week. We’ll see how he is here tomorrow. Obviously, I have concerns because he hasn’t practiced in two days. He’s a veteran player that knows what to do, so we’d really wait until the last minute there.”

Q: Do you have any update on the timeline for David Ausberry?

“I don’t know, not really at this point in time. I wish I did, but no. I know it’s getting better, obviously, but these are hard injuries to put a timetable on. It’s getting better, it’s just not anywhere near it needs to be right now.”

Q: From an offensive line standpoint, as a line coach, you have to prepare your team to play. Is the noise in Seattle extreme?

“Yeah, it’s pretty noisy. I think of Kansas City, those places like that – they can get pretty noisy and Seattle’s is pretty noisy there. We played there a bunch when I was in Dallas. In fact, almost every year it seemed like. Then we played a couple of playoff games up there and it was really noisy there. I’ve watched games sometimes, I’ve seen a couple of teams have double-digit false start penalties in that environment. They’ve got great fans just like we do and they’re passionate about their team. It’s loud, but we practice that way. It’s not something that should be a distraction to us. We shouldn’t use it as an excuse, a distraction.”

Q: You had been starting to get Thompkins more involved in the offense. Is this a setback for you guys maybe?

“I wish I could answer you. In other words, a setback in that him not being out there today? No. As far as what will happen from here in the next day or so, we’ll have to see. I’m not sure of that. I’ll have a better idea of that in a little while.”

Q: Mychal Rivera had a pretty good game on Sunday. What do you need to see from him in order for him to sustain that level of production or involvement?

“No, I don’t think so. I think a tight end’s job is a little bit difficult because of the releases and the different type of release patterns that they could have during the course of the game and how people play them. But Mychal’s been pretty consistent that way. Some days the tight end is going to be much more involved than others and it’s largely predicated on coverage at times. Mike, in the ballgame the other day, he took advantage of the two-minute situation and obviously, made some plays in the middle of the field early in the game, and made some great catches, which that always helps, too. When you get targeted and you have to make a great catch and you do, all of a sudden you’re productive. I think he did that last week. I think Mychal will continue to get better and better. I don’t question that about him at all. It’s just the tight end position – I can remember answering the same question with a Jason Witten-type player – some days they’re going to get fed the ball quite often, and some days they’re just not.”

Q: You got Maurice Jones-Drew a little bit more involved last week in terms of carries. Is there any thought of getting Latavius Murray some work, or are you still working with the main two guys?

“No, we’ve thought about it. We’ve honestly thought about getting all three involved at some point here, especially finally having an opportunity to run as many plays as we ran in the ballgame the other day. It takes something off of everybody. Murray did some good things in preseason, but we do want to feel like we are getting Jones-Drew involved a little bit more that way. I would say there were a lot of factors into why it didn’t go his way last week, and when I say that I mean it could be the line, it could be – there’s a bunch of factors there. But I wouldn’t mind getting all three of them involved there.”

Quotes from Raiders.com