Raiders are talking about Minkah, T.J. and Franco

The Steelers and Raiders will meet on Saturday night, almost 50 years to the day of the Immaculate Reception.

Raiders Coach Josh McDaniels understood the significance of the matchup prior to the news of Franco Harris' passing, and now he respects it even more.

"Obviously heard the news of Franco Harris' passing, and I think it's appropriate for our entire organization to send condolences to Dana, his wife, and the Harris family and the entire Pittsburgh organization," said McDaniels. "He obviously was an iconic player, Hall of Fame player and a great ambassador for our game and the league.

"We know what this weekend is the anniversary of, and obviously he played a significant role in the Immaculate Reception and all that. So, just want to make sure we pass along our condolences on Franco's passing."

McDaniels and the Raiders weighed in more on Harris and the Immaculate Reception, as well as talking about Minkah Fitzpatrick and more.

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Coach Josh McDaniels on the Steelers overall:
"Obviously this is a really tough football team. Mike (Tomlin) has done a tremendous job for a long time. I have a great deal of respect for the way they play, how hard they compete, how well prepared they are - physical group in all three phases. It's going to be a big challenge in that regard.

"They do a really good job - last week was a great example of it - controlling the entire game. They run the ball well, every third down is third and short. They're the best team in the league on third-and-one, fourth-and-one by far, not even close to the next best team. Defense, very stingy against the running game. They do a good job of taking advantage of offensive mistakes, turning the ball over and then giving their offense a short field. Got a good return game, the kicker is very good.

"This is a team that's obviously been in a lot of close games, very similar to us, that has a lot to play for. This will be a big challenge on the road, and it's always a great atmosphere there. I've played there a number of times, and this should be a fun a fun atmosphere to play in and compete in."

McDaniels on if he ever met Franco Harris:
"I did not. I want to say I've seen him multiple times in Canton over the years just because I was a fan when I was a little guy, and obviously I'm very well aware of his career and what he's done and what he meant to the Steelers organization. But no, I did not have the good fortune of meeting him in person."

McDaniels on memories of the Immaculate Reception, even though he wasn't born yet:
"I mean there's a handful of I would say iconic plays and they all have a nickname, and they're going to be unforgettable forever. That certainly was one when I was growing up, obviously a fan of football. I lived in Ohio, so it wasn't too far away from Pittsburgh. So, that's obviously a classic play in Steelers history, certainly plays a role in our history for sure. So I mean, the celebration this week of those moments - obviously the game of football has a lot of them. It'll be fun to be there obviously to celebrate the anniversary, even though it didn't go in our favor at that time."

Quarterback Derek Carr on the Immaculate Reception and Franco Harris:
"I wasn't alive to watch when he played, but my dad would have some really cool memories, and some against the Raiders obviously, as we all know. And just our prayers go to his family - 72 I think he was, so still young. He dedicated so much of his time to help football and the next generation of football, and to their organization, everyone that's been impacted by him there and in that community. So, anytime someone loses a life, it puts things in perspective real quick, that we're just playing a game. Obviously, there's a lot riding on certain games and things like that, all the games and what we do and all that kind of stuff, but at the end of day it's life. Someone lost their life, so your heart always goes towards their family, and I just hope that they're doing okay, because that's never easy. I've lost - we've all probably lost loved ones - and it's never easy. No matter when or how old or how young, it's never easy no matter what."

Offensive Coordinator Mick Lombardi on Minkah Fitzpatrick:
"Minkah is a very aggressive player, very instinctual, can make plays on the football, can tackle. You have to be very aware where he is at all the times on the field, very disruptive player, and there's a reason why they're productive on defense and very good on defense is a lot because of him. (Terrell) Edmunds, the front, obviously (T.J.) Watt, Cam Heyward, like all those guys are very, very good and very fundamentally sound. They play very well in Mike Tomlin's scheme and Teryl Austin's scheme. They preach fundamentals, they preach toughness, they preach dependability, and you can see that show up every single week on tape. And they get the football, they force turnovers, and they make you earn every single yard."

Receiver Davante Adams on the Steelers defense:
"They do a lot of different things. One of those teams that kind of mix it up a lot. They are pretty good with their disguises and different things like that to keep us watching pre-snap and post-snap, the shell and all that type of stuff. It's a lot of things that I've seen on tape from other teams as well. I've also got a little bit of history playing against that team too. I've played up against some of those guys - a solid team for sure."

Adams on what it means to play in the game celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Immaculate Reception:
"I mean, it's awesome. Obviously won't have any bearing on the actual football game, but it's cool to be - Pittsburgh is kind of like Green Bay, one of those historical places, a lot of a history, a lot of great players have been through there. So, it's always good to be able to experience that type of game, and obviously against a really good football team."

Defensive coordinator Patrick Graham on the challenge George Pickens presents with his height and speed:
"Well, most positions if you have height, weight and speed - I mean, it's a big man league, that's what this game is about is a lot of big people playing and running fast, and he's one of those guys. He does a good job down the field catching the ball. He challenges you in the run game. That's what I'm always impressed with, the receivers that block the run game, that get in there. He's in the c-gap area blocking. He'll come down there and crack you. I'm really impressed with how they teach that. Mike [Tomlin] does a good job of instilling toughness in those guys and you can see it on the tape. Just look at the last game against Carolina, just in terms of how many times they ran the ball. Mike's not one to say something and not mean it. So, he said they're going to establish the line of scrimmage, the toughness. He wanted that to show, and they took it down there on the road and they did that. So, we got to get ready for that. Especially a Saturday night game. Christmas Eve. It's going to be pretty cool."

Graham on Najee Harris and his ability as a pass catcher as well:
"Well, the game comes down to the people and is always coming down to match ups. So, whatever they're trying to do in terms of a matchup, whether it's get a tight end on a linebacker or a receiver on a safety, or back on a safety, it's always coming down to match ups. So, that's just another tool in their toolbox right there to be able to use if you have a back that could catch the ball and it puts more stress on the defense. They could put them out at number one in empty, they could put him all over the place, and you just got to figure it out. But because of his skillset, mainly because he's a tough tackle, it's a tough matchup for anybody. And because they can block, I keep telling y'all now, they can block. They do a good job of blocking."