Head Coach Hue Jackson
Coach Jackson: Man, is it good to be back. It was good to see my players back out here today; good to get back out working. Obviously, there are no more byes, no more anything – we’ve got to go now. I thought it was a good first day, a lot of energy. I think this team understands what’s at stake, obviously with Denver coming in here this week. We’re going to play a good football team; I don’t care about Denver’s record. I know they’re a good football team. They have a very good head coach, they’re well coached, and they’ll play hard. Last time we were in that stadium, we didn’t get it done against the division opponent. So, we understand what’s at stake and I think we’re looking forward to playing.
Q: What is key to playing well after having a week off? I mean it obviously helps getting guys healthy, but there is a layoff?
Coach Jackson: I think the number one thing is just that you get back into the rhythm of playing. I think what happens when you haven’t played – obviously, your body has had a chance to rest just getting back to that contact, playing fast, and those types of things. I think this team understands that. Today we went pretty fast and pretty hard so I thought it was good, a good start. Obviously we got to come back on Wednesday, they’ll get the day off tomorrow, come back on Wednesday and really put this game plan in and get going.
Q: One – how did Carson [Palmer] look today and two, did you get any report on how things went over the break from any of the guys coming back?
Coach Jackson: Yes, I thought he looked really sharp today. He did some good things today. I think he really has a grasp now of what we’re trying to accomplish. I think from what I heard of what those guys did in those two days of spending time together really showed out here. Guys were able to make some plays that I think from the first couple of days they didn’t. So, that was improvement. Again, he’s a pro. He understands what he needs to do. He’s got to adjust his game a little bit to them, they’ve got to adjust they’re game to him. I think that process is under way.
Q: Any update on [Darren] McFadden’s status anything new?
Coach Jackson: Nothing new on any of the injuries. Obviously, we’ll know more as we move through the week but right now today nothing new.
Q: As of now would you expect him to practice?
Coach Jackson: I couldn’t say that. Again once we get to Wednesday, I’ll let you know then.
Q: What do you expect to get out of Lito [Sheppard]? We’ve seen him at camp, you’ve worked him out, now you got him signed…
Coach Jackson: Yes, I signed him because obviously we were down a player. We lost a player – Ron Parker got picked up by another team. So, we had an open spot he’s a veteran player, knows how to play. I really enjoyed him at training camp but at the time, we had some very young corners who were doing such a great job. Obviously, [Chimdi] Chekwa still has had that hamstring issue a little bit. So you’ve got to put another guy back there and he was the next best guy in my opinion that was out there that’s been around us that knows us. I think he has veteran presence, he knows how to play in this league, and he’s been a really good player in this league before. So we’re getting a guy that has been in games, played in games, been around us, knows our system and he can kind of hit the ground running.
Q: How did he look in shape not being with a team these last few months?
Coach Jackson: I think he looked in shape. Obviously, he wasn’t out there for a ton of plays but from what I’ve seen he ran around, made plays. I know he’s happy to be here and we’re happy to have him.
Q: Have you guys worked out [T.J.] Houshmandzadeh?
Coach Jackson: No we have not. T.J. will work out here tomorrow. I know everybody keeps saying, ‘Has he worked out?’ and this, that and the other. No, he’ll work out tomorrow. We’ll bring him in tomorrow and take a good look at him.
Q: Obviously Carson’s [Palmer] worked with him a lot, what has Carson said about it?
Coach Jackson: I haven’t asked Carson one thing about T.J. Anything I need to know about T.J., I can ask myself because I’ve coached him. I know what he is and what he isn’t and what I need to do is find out what he is. I keep telling you guys I’m going to do everything I can to improve our football team. He may not be what he once was and he may be what he once was. I get the opportunity to see him up close and personal and we’ll go from there.
Q: You mentioned last week when the [Terrell] Owens thing came up that you were interested in the younger guys than going with the older guys and going with the guys that you had. Why would this be different?
Coach Jackson: No, you guys asked me about T.O. I said I’m not chasing T.O. that’s all I said.
Q: I understand that but the rationale seemed to be that you were going to build from within…
Coach Jackson: Yes, you just said that was the rationale. I never said that. That’s how you felt. Again, if I can improve our team in any way, shape or form, that’s what I’m going to do. In order to do that, you’ve got to bring people in and see them. See what they bring to the table for you and that’s what I’m going to continue to do. That’s how I look at it and that’s what I want to get done.
Q: So would you carry seven wide outs? I’m asking would you if you signed him?
Coach Jackson: I didn’t say that. We’ll see what’s best for the team if we did sign him. Like I said, just because he’s coming to work out doesn’t mean that we’re signing him. It means that we had several players in before that we worked out, we took a great peek at didn’t sign them and then all of a sudden you start to build a bank of people and you know what they are in case you do need them. I think that’s what’s most important.
Q: Is the Palmer and T.J. chemistry a factor in bringing him in for a work out is that part of it?
Coach Jackson: No. I have, I’m sure a lot of people would tell you guys, this is something I’ve wanted to do over training camp. This is something I had always wanted to do. I just think, one, if I can find a player who kind of knows our system and has been around I think it [buoys] everybody else. I think there’s a help factor in there. Now, it’s a coincidence that those two know each other and have played together but I think this happened way before
Q: When you had him in Cincinnati, what did he bring to the table? You don’t know what he is like now, but when you had him…
Coach Jackson: He was a guy that made a lot of catches when it was sticky. When people were draped all over him, he made some uncommon plays for us in Cincinnati and that’s all I can go by is in Cincinnati. I did not coach him in Seattle; I did not coach him in Baltimore. That’s why I have to take a great look at the player. I mean it’s been awhile, but he was a very accountable, reliable, football player for that team, somebody that I enjoyed being around because he played hard, caught the ball, did what was asked – I mean I never had a problem with T.J. Houshmandzadeh. So, I know what he is and I liked to bring him in here and take a good peek at him.
Q: It sounds like John Fox recommitted to [Tim] Tebow today. Last week or the way things work in the NFL – two weeks ago, he was this incredible intangible winner and now, he’s awful.
Coach Jackson: Hey – hey, I’m glad the buck’s on somebody else! I stood up here a couple of weeks ago and everybody is ready to hammer me for what was going on with our quarterbacks. Now, it’s somebody elses chance [laughs].
Q: When you hear that kind of thing – the way things week-to-week in the NFL, the changes are so dramatic?
Coach Jackson: It’s tough. It does – it’s tough and you know, that young man will bounce back. I mean he’s a winner. That guy might come in here and be 20 of 21; I know how this works, you guys know that. You just never know how this thing goes. What we’ve got to do is prepare to play and I respect John Fox and the job he’s trying to do. But, I’m not worried about what happens over there. I’m worried about this football team. This football team needs to get back to playing. Last time we played, we stunk it up and that’s what we’ve got to make sure doesn’t happen. This team’s got to get ready to play and that’s what we’re doing.
Q: You play a guy like him, he sort of brings a different thing to the quarterback position. Does it help having played him last year and that you got to see him?
Coach Jackson: I mean we know what he is, but again, this guy is a winner. He knows how to win football games. I mean he won a big game for them in Miami, yesterday was yesterday, but you never count this young man out because he is really, really good. Like I said, you know how this league is. It’s week-to-week; here’s a new week for him. This guy could light it up and obviously we’ve seen him. We know this football team – we played them earlier in the year; we didn’t play him and played a different quarterback, so it’s going to be a little bit different style for us. But, I think we have a pretty good idea of what he’s capable of doing and what he’s capable of doing is playing really well. So, what we’ve got to do is prepare for any and everything and be ready to go.
Q: How important is it for you to get back on the stick in the division and is it a good thing that you’re playing a division game after losing to
Coach Jackson: It’s very important. It is very important to this organization and this football team. I mean, like I said, we didn’t play well the last time at home and what we need to do is get back – we are in the thicl of this thing. You know obviously, there’s a huge game tonight within the division. We have a two division games coming up. I mean we’re going to play two games in five days after this weekend, so this is a chance that we’ve got to grind and I think our players understand that. We can make up some distance here and we need to do that.
Q: Tying up one thing from last week, Carson Palmer was interviewed during the off time and said that he was shocked going into the game. He only knew 15 plays and all that. What are your thoughts on that?
Coach Jackson: Let me say this – me and him talked about that and he laughed. I think the way you guys took that is he was saying that he didn’t want to go in. That’s not what he said to me and you can go verify that with him. I think he knew that there was a chance he could go in the game; I told him that. I would have liked to get him some snaps late in the game and hand the ball off. Well then all of a sudden, the circumstances of the game changed and I think maybe that changed for him too. Just so we all know – I asked the young man did he want to go in. I didn’t say, ‘Oh my gosh, you better go in the game.’ I asked him, ‘Do you want to go in this game and get some reps?’ and he said, ‘Yes.’ So I don’t want anybody to think that all of a sudden I’ve lost my mind and said, ‘Just throw him out there.’ In the end of all this, it might be the best thing – I mean quote, unquote. I’m glad he didn’t get injured or anything like that, but wow – think about putting him in this game with no fast look, with no reps, with a bye week and all of a sudden, there was nothing that he did. I would really be concerned, so it didn’t happen just the way I wanted it to, but it happened in a way that where this young man got some work, he got a little bit of work up underneath him with a real, live rush coming at him. So now, I think he understands. Does he totally understand the tempo and the speed of the game? Maybe not, but I think he understands he needs to get the ball out of his hands. I guarantee you that.
Q: Did you ever talk to Andy Reid after his success after bye weeks? He’s 13 in a row or something crazy…
Coach Jackson: He’s phenomenal. Ed Reed, Ray Lewis, those guys and they are good friends. I mean trust me – they’re really good because they work at it. I can tell you that firsthand from being there. They study the game, they work at the game and they play together and they’re playmakers make plays.
Q: You talking about Andy Reid?
Coach Jackson: I thought you said Ed Reed [laughs]. He did pretty well too yesterday; he caught an interception.
Q: I think as a coach, he’s won 13 in a row after a bye. Is there any secret to it?
Coach Jackson: No. Obviously, I do know Andy pretty well but no he’s never – all I think he does is he prepares his team. His team gets ready, I think they go to work, they work on their weaknesses, I’m sure they work through their self-scouting, find out what they are, and what they need to be. Obviously, they came out and played great last night and that’s what the Raiders need to do. We need to come out and play great this week.