Ask Coach Jackson


Question from Matthew Mucciolo: My question is regarding new OC Al Saunders - Mr. Davis has always been linked with Al in the past so I am excited that he is on your staff, but what can he bring to your already explosive offense?

Coach Jackson: He is a veteran coach that has been in this league and run very explosive offenses. When I set out to find a coordinator I wanted to find somebody who had a likeness to my thought process. We're kind of the same. We're trying to score every time we have the ball. He has a way about himself that when I'm not around, it's just like I am around. I feel very comfortable with him. I know him. He's out to create an environment for our players to be as good as they can be, just as I do. We share the same vision that way. He has an uncanny ability to get the best out of athletes. He's an unbelievable teacher, unbelievable character and integrity and I know what he's going to be to our offensive football team and to me personally. I'm expecting him to be everything Al Saunders has always been – one of the best offensive football coaches in this league and to help me and help this organization realize their goal of having an offense that's very explosive.

Question from Tony Sousa: Who would you say would have won the award for the Most Improved Player of the Year for 2010?

Coach Jackson: Probably when I look at our football team, the most improved player on our team is Matt Shaughnessy. I have a real thirst for the grunt part of the game, which is where the offensive line and defensive line play because I think that's where games are won. They're won in those trenches. There are guys that battle there. I didn't know much about him, but obviously playing against him in practice, watching him compete on game day, when I go back and watch the tape as a head coach and watch how he played the game, I was very amazed at what this young man can become. He's just scratching the service on how good I think he can be. I think it's all out in front of him. But we have several guys like that. I can mention several more, but I'm glad to mention his name because he's demonstrated that week in and week out. I think if he keeps growing and he keeps pushing himself, because I know Coach Waufle is going to push him, he has a chance for stardom in this league.

Question from Nate Martin: How do you plan to fuel the excitement of improvement from last season when the team returns from this long lockout? Could this lockout hurt the potential growth that fans expected to see this season?

Coach Jackson: Yes and no. Because it's all how we take the field. I don't think anyone has a competitive advantage right now. All 32 teams have done what they've done, which is teams have probably gotten together and tried to work out the best they can. But there's nothing like being a coach. I don't care what anyone says. That's why they give us an opportunity to do what we do. We need the players, but the players also need us. So I know there's a great expectation here in Oakland as there should be because that's what we're all about – winning. I'm not going to take us off the hook because of the lockout. There's no excuse for us to go out and lay an egg. Let's have our players back so we can have the opportunity to go out and play. I'm more than excited about the expectation here. I want the expectation to be great. I want it to be great from our fans, I want it to be great from our players, and I want it to be great from our coaching staff. Then we need to go meet that demand of expectation and exceed it.

Question from Stephen Guizar: For the past few years, one of the Raiders main issues has been stopping the run. How do you plan on resolving that next season?

Coach Jackson: Never again as long as I'm the head coach. I've said it to our staff and I'll say it to our team, I am committed as long as I'm here that we will stop the run. We will not be in the last half of the league of stopping the running game in football anymore. That's a passion of mine. I think when teams can run the ball on you they defeat you. I think when teams throw the ball on you they beat you. When people run up and down the field on you, what they're saying is they're more physical than you and they're better than you, and I'm not going to be the leader of a football team that's going to get out-physicalled. I refuse to do that. I'm not saying we'll never get beat. That's not what I'm saying. What I'm saying is I'm not going to allow someone to take the ball and run it down our throats. I'm not going to be a part of that. That's how I feel about it and we're going to get that buck stopped.

Question from John Oglesby: What are the realistic expectations for the Offensive Line this year?

Coach Jackson: I expect us to be better. I expect us to be fundamentally better. I expect us to be a roughhouse group that are excited to play, that welcome the challenge of the teams we have to play. Between our offensive line and defensive line, I think that's where games are won. That's something that we'll preach each and every day. I think we hired two of the best teachers in football in Bob Wylie and Steve Wisniewski, who's a former Raider great. We all share the same vision on how that position should play. It's going to take a little time to mesh together. We need to find five men that are willing to go up there and grind. I think our offensive line needs to be grinding, but I think we'll create that environment. We'll take some guys to the woodshed and bring them back out and make them men and let's go play.

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