HEAD COACH LOVIE SMITH
"Whenever you get to bye week, there's a lot of things you want to get accomplished. We we're able to do that last week. Just kind of analyze, critique everything we've done up until this point and make the necessary adjustments, even though you've been doing that all along. Part of it too is to get away, just recharge the battery, become a fan, which I was able to do. My wife MaryAnne and I had a great time seeing our flagship university compete and play well and then just watch the NFL games that happened to kind of see how we fit. A lot of the teams you get a chance to watch of course we're getting ready to play later on. To go out and to go into a bye week on a win also did a lot for our team. It was good to get back today though, get back to the practice field. Part of bye week is you get an extra day to start preparing. For the Raiders, long history, what they mean to our league, they're in a similar situation, been in every game and had an opportunity to win every game but it hasn't happened as much as they liked. For us, to keep that momentum going is really important."
What can you tell us about Jack Easterby?
"That's really a question for ownership right now and maybe for the organization to talk about later on. Right now, I'm here to talk about the football part. I'm well-versed on what's going on with it right now."
How do you envision LB Christian Harris contributing moving forward?
"Last week, I talked about getting him back into the mix, officially. When you're on IR (reserve/injured list), you can't take a rep. It's not like he's been out practicing with us. To start the process last week was big, but we only had really one day of practice last week. That's why each one of these practices is very important for his growth. He's going to get better every rep he gets, and eventually he will be out there playing for us. I can't wait to see exactly when."
What is WR Nico Collins dealing with and do you expect him to play this week?
"It was kind of an extra day. We'll have more to say on Wednesday about that. Is he (Nico Collins) on the injury list? I mean, there's a lot of things going on. Let's wait for it and then we'll talk about it a little bit."
How would you best describe your relationship with Jack Easterby?
"My relationship with Jack (Easterby) was good just like everybody else in the organization. My dealings with Jack have been great. He's one of the first guys that I got a chance to talk with before I came down here."
What's the number one thing your team didn't do that needs to change in order to have better results?
"First, just finish. We've had our moments offensively, defensively and special teams wise. I don't like the way we've finished the games as much as anything. We've had our opportunities. What we've been able to see this first quarter of the season is what you normally see. You go through the preseason, but you still don't get a chance when it really counts. I think that's where we are right now. I have a better idea of exactly where everybody should be position-wise and how we go forward. We had so many opportunities early on, but that's a part of the growth too, to figure out how to finish a game. I think you have to go on how we finished the first quarter of our season. We were able to do that against a division opponent on the road. That momentum that we built up from that last game, hopefully that's what we're going to carry on to this one."
With TE Brevin Jordan back this week, what are your expectations for him and will he be ready to play Sunday?
"We're hoping. Any of the guys that, first off you have an injury, we won't put them out there until they're ready to go 100 percent. I would go on any of our injured players that come back, what was their role before they went down with an injury. Brevin (Jordan) is a good football player, part of what we're going to do here. He'll be in the mix once he can go. This extra day helped us get a better idea of who we'll have available this coming weekend. We're a better football team with Brevin on the field, absolutely."
On bye week, has anything stood out to you when you self-scout?
"No, because when I say we self-scout, we're doing it always. You're doing it through the game, you're making adjustments and changes. Of course, after a game you do that. As much as anything, I believe even more on how we want to do things and what we need. We have a bigger body of work to base that on. It's more that as much as anything. A lot of times you go through bye week, it confirms a lot of things. Then, to see all of the numbers there together, lets you know exactly what direction to go. Normally, after bye week, that next game tells you a little bit of what we feel we need to do going forward."
Do you have an update on DB Tavierre Thomas, TE Teagan Quitoriano or other players on the injured/reserve list?
"I'd go with what your eyes are telling you, but again I'm going to start off with this. We put guys on the field when they're healthy, they've been cleared medially to go. Tavierre (Thomas) has made a lot of progress. Teagan (Quitoriano) has made a lot of progress. We have an excellent medical staff, rehab, that entire group of people, sports performance, that has their hands on our guys. I know that we're anxiously awaiting to get Teagan back out there. I think he'll fill a role for us. Tavierre Thomas, it goes without saying what he means to our football team. We're steadily getting more and more of our players back."
What are the intangibles that you think will get your offense more consistent?
"When you say intangibles, that's what it is. Intangible. It's hard to put your hands on exactly what it is. We have a belief in our system on what we do and if it's not working exactly the way you would want it to, you keep practicing it. Eventually, it gets better. That's where we are. That's what I saw before the bye week. That's what we've seen right now, as you look at what we've done, our running game, first game, 'Hey, we need to get more carries for our tailback.' We've done that. We need to commit more to who we say we are. I think we've done all of those things. Now, it's just tightening up a few of the bolts as we go forward."
What are the biggest challenges the Raiders present?
"Offensively, starting with them, Derek Carr can make all throws. He's athletic. I remember when he came out of college, meeting with him, really like what he's done in the league. It starts with the quarterback. Davante Adams, arguably the best or at least one of the best receivers in the game. Darren Waller, tight end, look at the skill throughout. Running back wise, one of the best in the league. Offensively, they have the stars to be productive on that side of the ball. Defensively, both defensive ends. You start with the front. Excellent front, put pressure. Their two defensive ends, you can make a case they're as good as any combination of ends in the league. There's a cornerback that they have, let me think of his name, Nate Hobbs I think is his name. Excellent player. Since I've sat in his living room and convinced him to come to a college, I kind of know what he's about too. It will be a big challenge for us."
How has it been communicated to you with how things are going to be organized moving forward without Jack Easterby?
"I hope you understand when things are official, you never talk about anything until it's official. As I said earlier, there will be information coming out a little bit later on. After things become official, then we can talk about all the things that you like to talk about now. I'm sure you can understand my point of view too."
What have you liked from TE Jordan Akins that made you sign him to the active roster?
"I think what he's done, you said over the bye, but since he came into the building, he's a threat at the tight end position. Excellent speed, so he's a good matchup for a linebacker. He can run as well as any of the tight ends around. He can catch the football too. What he's brought to us in the passing game, I think has been pretty good. To be able to continue to keep him involved and just the tight end position I'm going to say, talk about O.J. Howard, we're talking about Brevin (Jordan) earlier, we're talking about Teagan (Quitoriano), just that group as a whole we've gotten quite a bit from it and we'll continue to do that."