With the Ravens preparing to take on the Oakland Raiders this weekend, two members of the enemy team answered a few questions about their squad.
BR.com gives you head coach Tom Cable and cornerback DeAngelo Hall.
Head Coach Tom Cable
Do you get the feeling defensive coordinator Rob Ryan wants this win more because the game is against his twin brother Rex?
Tom Cable:"I think it's been on the schedule for a while now, and they'll have to settle it somewhere – 50-yard line after the game, I don't know – but we'll leave that up to them."
What has Rob Ryan meant to you as a coach in terms of running the Raiders' defense?
TC:"It's been important to have him for the simple reason that it's got his handprint on it, and those guys go out and they play for him. They like the scheme. I think there's a lot of camaraderie with the coaches and players on that side of the ball, so it's been invaluable in terms of having him here and just keeping the thing moving forward."
What kind of threat do the Ravens pose to the Raiders and do you feel the team has momentum after its win last week?
TC:"First thing you do is talk about [the Ravens'] defense. They're talented, they're very well-coached, they play with a lot of energy and intensity. So that's a problem in itself. The pressure you get from all over the place, they've got good players that do it, so you know you have your hands full that way. I think the thing that impresses me about [the Ravens] is that their young quarterback seems to be starting to develop. They used some no-huddle stuff with him last week. He seemed very comfortable and executed it well, and they run the ball very well. This will be a tough matchup for us on the road."
How do you think the team has responded to the coaching change in the last few weeks?
TC:"I think we were, obviously, able to get to it and get it behind us. And now we're trying to move forward. Last week was exciting, it was positive to get something back from the investment and the hard work and everything you've put into it. So now you go to Baltimore and see if you can do it again."
What makes LB Terrell Suggs so difficult to play against?
TC:"First of all, he doesn't stay blocked. He's got that great intangible that all good defensive players have. He's going to get his hands on you; he's not going to stay blocked. He's a tremendous pass rusher. He really is a very good football player, kind of a complete football player."
CB DeAngelo Hall
How do you think the Raiders have done thus far?
DeAngelo Hall:"Thus far? A little bit below average. I think the record kind of indicates that. But we're just starting to get rolling a little bit. We've got Tom Cable in here now. He definitely has a vision for us. He's a fiery coach, getting us going, and the guys are following behind him."
What has coach Cable done differently since taking over?
DH:"Just kind of his attitude. His attitude, his attention to detail, the way he holds everybody accountable. That's probably the biggest thing. Everybody's held accountable for their actions – whether it's on the field, whether it's off the field, whether it's not making a play, making a play you're supposed to make. Guys are responding. Like I said, guys are taking the challenge head on, and I think it showed last week and the week before. We finally won a four-quarter game and ended up winning, putting it down in overtime."
Does anything change defensively when facing a rookie quarterback?
DH:"No, not at all. Joe [Flacco] has been out there making some plays. He is a rookie, has a lot to learn still, but he has a lot of weapons over there to help him do that, a lot of weapons over there. They're playing pretty good football, great defense as well. So we're kind of in the same situation as Baltimore. Our defense hasn't been playing as good as theirs, but we've got a young quarterback back here too that we're trying to protect, trying to nurture and put him in a position to make plays."
What kind of challenge does a no-huddle offense present to a defense?
DH:"We've just got to line up and play ball. Obviously, people know we haven't been lining up very well. The no-huddle has been pretty good against us in the past. There are just things we're trying to work on – our communication, get everybody lined up and get ready to play football."
Are you surprised that Ravens WR Derrick Mason is doing as well as he is at the age of 34?
DH:"You know what, I'm not, I'm not, I'm not. The way D-Mason takes care of his self, his body, his work ethic… I actually remember going against him my rookie year when he was in Tennessee. I've been a fan of his ever since I was a kid. I'm only 24 years old, so I can remember D-Mason at the top of his game. He's not far off. I compare him and Joey Galloway.
"They're like the same. They're the same fine wine – it seems like they get better with age. Playing in Atlanta, I got to see Joey Galloway twice a year, and I tell you what, I think he might be faster now than he was. That's the same way I feel about Derrick Mason. He gets in and out of those breaks better now than he did back in the day."