Head Coach Hue Jackson. Photo by Tony Gonzales
Q: So are [Michael] Huff, [Jacoby] Ford, [Darren] McFadden, and [John] Henderson out?
Coach Jackson: I can’t tell you they are out yet, obviously tomorrow I will let you know that for sure, but obviously it doesn’t look great, the guys are not out here moving around, but they are not totally ruled out as of yet.
Q: What has Bush been able to do? He is limited.
Coach Jackson: Mike will be fine. Mike is a warrior, he will show up and he will play, and he will play well.
Q: How much has he, obviously he has carried a heavy load the last couple of games, how much of a toll has that taken on him? Is that a factor as to why his production has gone down a little bit? Is that a factor?
Coach Jackson: Yeah, he has carried the ball quite a bit and there was a stretch there when he was averaging about 30 attempts a game so I think as you guys know, at some point in time that catches up to you. He hasn’t carried it as much the last couple weeks, but I mean we have played some physical teams, and he has been slamming that ball up in there the way I think you have to run the ball. So he has done an excellent job. And then one of my jobs is to make sure I take care of him, make sure we get his body back before we play a big game.
Q: You used [Marcel] Reece a little bit as a halfback last week. He has been doing that a little bit more?
Coach Jackson: Yeah, I mean we just have to give him the chances. He is a talented player on our football team. We have got to get him some touches and get him some more opportunities too, but Marcel has that kind of ability so whereever I can fit a guy in that can help us make some plays, I will do it.
Q: Is Orton in this offense that he is in now, is he the same guy that you saw at the beginning of the year with the Broncos?
Coach Jackson: Yeah, I think he is. He is a good quarterback. It is the same guy we played against the first game. Obviously, he has a different cast of players that he is playing with, but still is the Orton that we have seen in Denver.
Coach Jackson: I just think the team has played good. I think it is not just him. He has done his part, but everybody is doing their part to give him an opportunity to play the games that he is playing. I think everybody is all in; everybody is playing as good as they can play and we have been successful up there thus far.
Q: A lot was made of the energy last week being different. Has that carried over to this week?
Coach Jackson: No doubt, the energy has been outstanding. The practices have been outstanding. I sense the same feel going into this game as I did the week before and not that I didn’t see that the other weeks, but I just think the urgency is a little bit different just because everybody understands what is at stake. Our football team is growing and learning and we have got to bounce back from last week and we have got to go play well. That’s what you do. When you don’t play well and you lose, or you play well and you lose, it’s the next team up, you have to go play well again and find a way to win the game.
Q: You guys are focused on team goals, but do you think a 1,000-yard season would mean a lot to Michael?
Coach Jackson: I think it would, but at the end of the day, we would take it all back for wins. We would like to have a few more wins under our belt too, so do I think it means something to him? Yeah, he has never accomplished that in the National Football League or for this team, so that is a personal goal, and obviously if he gets it, he gets it. At the end of the day, we are interested in winning.
Q: Did Denarius [Moore] look ready to return punts this week?
Coach Jackson: I think so, I think there is a good chance he will be back out there and give us another spark, another lift in another area of our football team.
Q: In the same line of thinking Marcel, could
Coach Jackson: No, I mean he could be. But again just where is his health, where is he totally, is he totally up to it? Hadn’t been hit in a game for quite a while, but if he is able to play and able to go, then we dress him and we will definitely give him some opportunities.
Q: What are some things that you have learned this year along the way perhaps things that you knew were going to happen but they hadn’t happened the way that you thought they might?
Coach Jackson: Well the biggest thing is I think you learn in your first year as a head coach is when you can’t control the injury process. When you start this thing, you have some aspirations and goals that you want the team to attain and you have to make sure that those things get attained. Because those are the things that make a difference in my opinion of winning and losing. You have got to play as well as you think you can play on defense consistently as well as you can play on offense consistently and as well as you can play on special teams consistently regardless of injuries. Those things happen throughout this league, obviously you can’t control it. But you have to make sure that you are ready to go regardless of what phase the team is because everybody has got to pick it up another level, another notch. And obviously we have lost some players but everybody else has too, so at the end of the day, you have to play well and, as I said before, this season is not over for this football team. We still have two huge games to play in order to earn a third. And that is what we are trying to do and that is what our focus is and our focus this week is on the Kansas City Chiefs.
Q: Short week this week, you played on Monday Night Football, Thursday Night Football, what have you learned from travel schedules that you are applying this week with a Saturday game?
Coach Jackson: Well, I think you have to get your players some rest, but you also have to work. I think there is a fine line between them both. You have got to make sure that they are rested and prepared from a physical standpoint, but you have to also make sure from a mental standpoint that they are on top of it. And we have had those opportunities to do Monday night, to do Thursday night, and now we are playing on a Saturday. So I feel very comfortable about this team being ready to play. I am not worried about us playing at 10 a.m. or anything like that. I think the most important thing is that our focus is good that we are prepared and that we go and play as hard as we can play and then see what happens.
Q: Was there any point this year that you thought you might need a roster spot and considered actually putting Darren or Jason [Campbell] on the IR? Or has that never happened?
Coach Jackson: Well, you can consider those things but as long as they tell you that there is a possibility that they could come back, you want your players back. So it wasn’t hurting us at this time; there was nothing out there where you were going to significantly improve the team so you just kind of stay with it and see if you can get those guys back. So that’s how we have gone about it and dealt with that situation.
Q: Would you be a proponent of having an injury list where you can take a guy off the roster for six weeks or eight weeks and not the whole season?
Coach Jackson: After this year I would, absolutely I would be. That would work tremendously for us this year, but obviously the rules are the rules and we all have to play by them. Now we all wish we could tweak them just a little bit here and there.
Q: Speaking of the rules, when [Ndamukong] Suh blocked that field goal, he took his helmet off immediately.
Coach Jackson: Yeah, I can tell you a couple of things that happened prior to that that didn’t get called so I’m not surprised anymore. Not that I’m, I think you guys know, I’m not bashing the officials, I’m not saying that. I just think if you asked me in the first year ‘what’s been the difference?’ that’s been the huge difference too. Some things that happen from a game management situation with dealing with officials has been different. So hopefully you’re going to be a year better because you understand the things that happen. Whether it was no ten second runoff when they had a penalty to the taking the helmet off, there’s all kinds of things that I think through that as you go through it have happened and you get asked about and people give you the blank stare like, ‘what are you talking about? Where does that come from?’ That’s part of it too. You learn as you continue to move forward and get better through all those things but that being said, we all have to get better.
Q: Did you contemplate at all addressing that with the league, specifically Suh taking his helmet off?
Coach Jackson: I think I have. I’ve brought all those things up, but at the end of the day the game’s over. I told you, we get all these reports back, if I showed you the reports we get back maybe people wouldn’t be so pissed about the penalties we do get, maybe people would understand that maybe some of those things should have been called the other way. But we’re not going to cry sour grapes and when we get good enough, as I keep saying, that won’t be the issue for this football team. I don’t tell our players what I just said and I never would because it’s not about that, at the end of the day we got called and we have to make sure we put ourselves in a position where we don’t get called.
Q: So are we going to see those reports at the end of the season?
Coach Jackson: I can’t do that for you because you guys are still going to write what you write. I respect that.
Q: What is the rule with the helmet coming off? Did you hear back that the game is over, that it doesn’t count?
Coach Jackson: The game was over; they had blown the end of regulation so it’s like going to shake somebody’s hand. It looked like it was close, you think it was a block and you run down the field and take your helmet off, so it was inconclusive is what they said. That’s the way it goes.