While there has been speculation on the collective psyche of the San Diego Chargers and their level of motivation for their season finale Sunday against the Raiders, Hue Jackson knows what to expect.
"Everybody writes them off for dead," Jackson said. "I know what that feels like because I heard that about our team about three weeks ago. I don't pay any attention to any of that. What we need to do is play our best game Sunday."
In a playoff sense, the Chargers are dead with a 7-8 record following Sunday's 38-10 loss to the Detroit Lions.
Coach Norv Turner and general manager A.J. Smith could both lose their jobs, and key offensive players such as wide receiver Vincent Jackson (groin) and running backs Ryan Mathews (calf) and Mike Tolbert (hamstring) are hurting, although all three practiced Friday.
But the Raiders have played for pride themselves and at times have fared well. Oakland ended the 2008 season by knocking Tampa Bay out of the playoffs with a 31-24 road win and a year ago beat division champion Kansas City 31-10 with nothing on the line but the chance at a .500 record.
"This is a rival," free safety Michael Huff said. "They hate us, and we hate them, and they want to spoil our playoff run. We're going to get their best shot, and we wouldn't expect anything less."
Said quarterback Carson Palmer: "We know they're coming in here to win. They're coming in here to knock us out of the playoffs. They're not going to
Turner said pushing aside the speculation and focusing on the game is part of being a professional.
"I think there's a way you go about doing your job on a weekly basis," Turner said by conference call. "I've been around some great pros, players and coaches. Guys who know how to do their job. You take pride in doing that. We're playing a team that's played awfully well against us. When you look at the Raiders at their best, they're awfully good."
Veteran safety Eric Weddle, one of the NFL co-leaders with seven interceptions, expects changes and wants to make the most of one more game.
"This is one more chance to go out with this group," Weddle said by conference call. "We don't know what the future holds so let's go make the most of it. Work on some things, get a win, and in the process, knock the Raiders out of the playoffs."
"I'll be out there," Ford said. "If I practice this much this week and I'm not out there, I'd be mad. I'll be out there, though."
Jackson said he is not inclined to have Ford return kickoffs after being out for five games, leaving that duty to Bryan McCann.
Scott underwent ACL surgery last year after 10 games and came back to be contributing member of the defensive line.
"It means a lot because my fellow teammates voted for it," Scott said. "It was tough. I'd never had to undergo surgery or anything like that before. I'm thankful everything went well and I feel good again."
"He's kind of quiet about it, but I know he wants it, and we want it, too, as bad as he does," center Samson Satele said.