Every week during the regular season we get an opportunity to talk with the opposing head coach via conference call. This week it was Oakland Raiders head coach Jon Gruden. I also scanned the Oakland media websites and the Raiders website to see what else Raiders players and coaches are saying about this week's matchup with the Lions.
Here's what they had to say:
1. The Raiders return home after finishing their five-game stretch away from Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum that included trips to Minnesota, Indianapolis, Green Bay, Houston, and a home game in London. Oakland went 2-3 during that stretch.
"The league did what they did with the schedule, and for the most part we did really well sticking it out and hanging in there," safety Lamarcus Joyner told raiders.com.
"Nobody expected for us to be 3-4 right now, I mean, I'm pretty sure everybody laughed at us, and thought we would win zero games, but we're going to keep going. Ain't no love lost. We still believe, we still (have) hope. We're going to be good."
Meet this week's opponents, the Oakland Raiders.
2. Watching the film in preparation to play Detroit Sunday, Gruden said he can tell Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford is "feeling it right now," and is really gelling with offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell. Gruden said Detroit's offense will be a handful for his defense. He pointed out how good Stafford and the offense have been at play action.
3. Gruden said the thing he really admires about Stafford, when you put the arm talent aside, is how fast he processes the game mentally. Gruden called Stafford a quick-minded player who doesn't miss much, whether it's deciphering coverage or changing protections.
4. Former Lions linebacker Tahir Whitehead and cornerback Nevin Lawson now play in Oakland. Gruden loves Whitehead's leadership and ability to be a three-down linebacker. He's Oakland's leading tackler. Lawson can play both inside and outside, according to Gruden, and is coming on as a special teams player. He also said he's gone to Lawson this week for some insight on Matt Patricia and his schemes.
5. Sunday's game will feature two quarterbacks in Stafford and Derek Carr who are playing at a pretty high level right now. Carr is completing over 72 percent of his passes with a 103.6 passer rating. Asked about his quarterback, Gruden liked the completion percentage and Carr's ability to get the ball out of his hands quick and just move the team down the field. Gruden said the team is still looking to get better around Carr.
6. Richie Incognito will slide inside to center if neither Rodney Hudson or Andre James can't play due to injury, per Gruden, but he also cautioned us not to underestimate the toughness of Hudson and James. He said they were the toughest players on the team, and the Raiders will see what their injury situation at center looks like at the end of the week.