HEAD COACH BILL O’BRIEN
When you were in the scouting process, what did you think of Raiders S Karl Joseph and what do you think of his season as a rookie?
“I think I’m changing my philosophy on this whole scouting process. That’s a question for other people. I’m just going to talk about the Raider game.”
What do you think about Raiders S Karl Joseph in general?
“I think as far as him playing for the Raiders, he’s a good player. Good tackler. Tough player. He’s a good player.”
How has WR Will Fuller V done this week and do you feel good about his chances of playing Monday?
“Probably make that determination on Monday, but yeah I feel pretty good, but I’m sure we’ll make that determination in a couple days here.”
Can you talk about RB Alfred Blue in regards to playing in Monday night’s game?
“I would say he will not play in the game.”
RB LAMAR MILLER
Is the altitude in Mexico City on your mind at all and how are you preparing?
“I’ll say hydration. Just got to hydrate more. I don’t know if it bothers me. I really can’t tell the difference, but I’m pretty sure you would need some type of oxygen once you come off the field, have a long series. I think hydration and getting oxygen is the key.”
This is a business trip for you, but it’s a festive time in Mexico City right now. What do you think about all of this?
“I think it’s a good thing that the NFL is trying to expand internationally, but we’re going up there to win a game. We still got that same mentality to just try to get a W.”
In the short time that you’ve been here, you’ve seen the large amount of traveling Texans that come watch the games. What do you think about them coming to watch you guys in Mexico City?
“The fan support here is great. It’s always good to have support from fans and I know where I stay at, I’ve seen like two fans and they told me that they were going to the game. That was a good thing.”
How did you feel this week and does your shoulder feel pretty good?
“Yes. I’m good.”
What stands out to you about the Raiders defense?
“They have a good defense. All of them have different skill sets. They have some fast guys, big guys. We just got to do a great job of just doing our assignment and just playing fast and just try to keep the chains moving.”
Who gave you a hard time this week about getting caught from behind?
“Just Charles James. He’s the only one that’s been talking. Other than that, nobody.”
Are you going to be caught from behind again?
“No. Not going to happen.”
NT VINCE WILFORK
Is there anything different about going into a situation where the altitude can be even worse than Denver?
“No. That’s why you train, and hopefully you can get through it. The last thing you want to do is think about anything other than your opponent. I’ve always felt the same way towards anyone, so it won’t be any different. The Oakland Raiders, that’s our opponent. That’s the only one I’m trying to face.”
Do you have some thoughts about the festive atmosphere down there? It’s a big deal.
“No. Like I said, I’m going to play a football game. At the end of the day, it’s us versus the Oakland Raiders – a good football team that’s playing very, very well and an offense that’s very explosive at the skill positions and a good running game, starting up front with the big guys. So, that’s my main focus. I think that’s the team’s focus right now, is going to play a game and play our best. Hopefully we can walk away with a W.”
How did you feel as you went through this week?
“Day-to-day. So, we’ll see how I feel.”
Head Coach Bill O’Brien has talked about how playing physical football this time of year determines so much. Has that been your experience?
“Yeah. I mean, the later you get into the season – throughout the league you deal with injuries, you deal with bumps and bruises, but the team that can still play physical and stay healthy, those are the teams that have a shot. You just have to execute. Right now we’re sitting in a prime position to do some good things, but it starts this week against a football team that’s very, very, very physical. Probably the most physical team we’ll see so far this year. So, we have to be ready to match that intensity. One thing I respect about them is they do what they do. They line up, they play smash-mouth football, they’re very physical, and they don’t shy away from that. It’s not shocking that they’ve had the success that they’ve had this year.”
What are some keys to disrupting Raiders QB Derek Carr?
“He can hurt you on the ground and through the air. I think he’s so underrated. He has a team that surrounds him with talent and he makes it run with the run game and putting balls where they need to be. He doesn’t lock in on one receiver. He uses everybody, from tight ends to backs to his receivers. Very, very good quarterback, young quarterback. He’s going to be pretty good. He has been pretty good. He’s been making plays all year. Definitely, that team rallies around him. He’s a true leader, you can just tell the way he performs. One thing I’m surprised by – well, I’m not surprised – for a young guy, the awareness that he has, the yardage if he has to scramble for first downs and put his team in position to either keep the drive going or be able to get into field goal position with one of the best field goal kickers that ever lived with (Sebastian) Janikowski. It’s going to be a fun game, but at the same time we understand what we have to do. We have to execute to be successful against this football team.”
You had your Vince Wilfork Foundation Thanksgiving Blessing Turkey Giveaway. Do you have some thoughts on giving back?
“I mean, it’s all about giving back for me. It’s nothing that I’m looking for a pat on the back about. It’s just who I am. Being in the community and understanding community, I was once there before. So, I understand the struggles when it comes down to this time of the year with the holidays and everything that’s coming up. So, just one way I can show my appreciation for the community and one way I can give back to the community, and I think I made a lot of people happy that day. I was very happy about, this time of year, being able to give back and just let the community know that we’re human beings and we’re all human. It’s OK to help one another. I think in this country we kind of get away from that a little bit. You still have good people out here, good-hearted people out here, and I think being on the stage that we’re on, it’s good to showcase that. So many times you have negative things that come out of this league. It’s good to see people, for once, doing the right thing and doing things to help other people instead of just helping yourselves. It’s all about the community to me.”
What have you thought of the following this team has on the road and how the fans are spending the money to travel to Mexico City and watch you guys play?
“It’s special. I mean, this is American football. Football is America’s sport. No matter where we play, we’re going to have a huge audience. Not just the Texans but the NFL. Going to Mexico City, to me, it’s another game. That’s how I look at it. But I’m pretty sure that it’s pretty exciting for the guys that are over there and it’s a pretty exciting time for the NFL. Me, when you line up between the lines, nothing else matters. It’s going to be the same way this week. No different.”