Coach Jackson addresses the media. Photo by Tony Gonzales
Q: Chris Johnson is back out here running around a little bit. How's his progress?
Coach Jackson: He's progressing really well. As I told you guys before, he'll be ready to go. When that time comes, he'll be back out there and ready to play. It's good to see him out there taking some individual, moving around, being with his teammates and I anticipate that he'll get back shortly.
Q: Out of all of the guys hurt, do you think you'll have most of them back for the opener?
Coach Jackson: I think the guys that can be back will be. Obviously, the guys out for the year will not be. I feel very optimistic that we'll have our team back in place.
Q: What happened with Stefen Wisniewski today?
Coach Jackson: Again, one of those little dings. He'll be fine. Obviously, as I tell you that when we get a player that gets a little bit of something, we'll be cautious with him. I think he'll be okay.
Q: How has the atmosphere changed now that you're back to Alameda? Is there any difference considering driving points to the team that we're getting close to the season and you're not in Napa anymore?
Coach Jackson: I think that's a natural thing and that it is a natural progression. I do believe that we're getting close to the season and closer to what we get paid to do everyday, which is trying to win football games. It's not that we're not trying to win the preseason games; I won't make a point about that. Once you come back here, the anxiety and pressure about what we're going to embark on really heightens because now all of a sudden, it's for real. Every game has a win and loss that goes in that box, so that's what we're doing it for.
Q: Can you see that difference in the players even though you were doing the same things in Napa as you are here?
Coach Jackson: I believe that what is happening is that there are cuts to be made too. Everything is heightening and I'm sure guys feel the anxiety about what's going to happen that many of them are going to be here and not be here. The season is right around the corner, the opener is however many days away, so I think that everybody has a sense of purpose and urgency once you get back here to Alameda.
Q: How difficult was it to get down to 80 players today?
Coach Jackson: All of those situations are always tough. I think the guys that we're letting go understand that now is a time that they are going to have to move forward in their careers. You let them go to give them a chance and maybe somebody will pluck them up. Maybe they did something in a game, maybe somebody's seen them, or maybe somebody has an interest in them. So, you give them a chance to move forward with their career as we prepare to pare down our team to the 53-man roster we need to go win a championship.
Q: Has anything surprised you being out here as a head coach?
Coach Jackson: [Laughs]. A lot of things have surprised me. I'm 0-3 [laughs] and we've had some injuries, so I think that's the nature of football right now. I think all across the league and it's fun talking to other coaches before the games, you are all dealing with the same problems. It's the injury bug, not having certain guys and we're working through it the best way we can. That part has been different, but other than that, it's been football. It was good to see some positives from our offensive football team, it was good to see the positives with our defensive football team and it was great to see our draft picks, our young players, that we've added to this team working hard and contributing to games. All of that has been very exciting, but pretty soon that will all have to be put together for one goal and that's winning a championship.
Q: How would you assess how Stanford Routt is doing in his role?
Coach Jackson: I think that he's doing a good job. Exactly what he's doing, I couldn't tell you. I think what they [the defensive backs] are trying to do is be a unit and I think there is a closeness and a bond between all those young men back there. They understand that one has to work together, it's not one is bigger than the other. I think all four of those guys from Michael Huff to Tyvon [Branch] to Stanford to Chris Johnson know that they have to be accountable to each other, that they have to play off each other and need each other to play well. I think more than anything that it takes all of them and not just one guy in order for us to have success.
Q: Is Taiwan Jones everything you expected him to be?
Coach Jackson: Yes he is. I'm not surprised between what I've seen on videotape and what I've seen in practice, the young man went into the game and did. I'm not surprised and I think he can do more; he'd be the first to tell you that. This young man needs to keep working and keep learning the NFL game because he has a bright future ahead of him. Again, that was one outing, but he needs to do it consistently to be talked about as one of these good players.
Q: It was said that Taiwan might be too small. Do you think he's going to get bigger?
Coach Jackson: I think he's naturally going to get bigger. I think he's big enough to play in this league, but I think he's got to understand the NFL game and how this game is played, just the physical nature for what it is to play in the National Football League and I think he's getting a taste of that and by no means is the guy not talented; he is very talented. I'm glad we have him.
Q: How do you keep the running backs healthy?
Coach Jackson: Well, first you have to get enough balls to go around between Darren [McFadden], Michael Bush, and then this young man [referring to Taiwan Jones] so that's where it starts. This league is hard to have one guy, just the wear and tear makes it tough. And now we have very good stable of players. I like that going into the season that we have some options to use guys who make plays. We're getting healthier at receiver and getting healthier across our football team at the right time, so I feel very fortunate about that.
Q: How's Richard Seymour doing?
Coach Jackson: Oh he's doing fine. Richard will be fine. As I told you guys, I get to reserve the right with some of these guys and I like to keep some of these guys under wraps and make sure they're ready to go and Rich is one of those guys.
Q: Do you think Terrelle Pryor will play in the last preseason game?
Coach Jackson: Maybe just playing some. This is a long process for him. He's still trying to understand our offense, exactly how we call things, and how we go about doing things. That takes a little time and I'm not surprised that it's not just like that. I don't think anybody is and I don't even thin he is. I think he wants to play and go out and compete, yea, any competitor wants to do that, but not at the risk of him having success or him being sure. I would never want to do that. That could be just as bad as going out and doing something really good.
Q: What do you want him [Terrelle Pryor] to do while he's away for five weeks?
Coach Jackson: Understand our system. Understand our language and how we talk. As a quarterback, what the demands are in playing this position. How you have to prepare to play this position, the shape you have to be in. Just all the things of being a pro quarterback over the next five weeks and once that time starts, he needs to make sure he's on top of it and he'll do that. I feel very comfortable and confident he'll do everything he needs to do to prepare himself to play.
Q: Are you clear about everything with that situation as he can be here, but he just can't practice?
Coach Jackson: Absolutely. He can be around, go to meetings and continue to learn and grow. As you guys know, the growth comes from doing. There will be some weeks there where we won't have the opportunity to do that, but I think he'll take advantage of it and still do the things he needs to do to get himself up to par.
Q: NBC seems to be under the impression that Terrelle will play?
Coach Jackson: They asked me if there was a possibility and I said there's a possibility to anything. After the game, my mind isn't on if we're going to play Terrelle Pryor, but it's on fixing the things the things that need to be fixed. But yes, it is possible. It is a very short week and we're just trying to get everything squared away for this football team. I'm glad we have Terrelle Pryor, but this football season and this team is not about him. It's about all these young men and about taking the Raiders to where we need to take the Raiders to.
Q: The [offensive line] players say Bob Wylie has a way to make things simple. Is that what you expected out of him?
Coach Jackson: I don't know if that's the case, but I'm glad our players are saying that. Any time you bring in a new coach, there's another way a coach is going to do something and some of them might see it as better. But what I want is performance and don't get caught up in what it sounds like. You can call it old brown shoe, I don't care. I want a performance and I want our line to play with an attitude and disposition they need to play with. Do I love our new coaches? Yes I do. I love what Bob Wylie and Steve Wisniewski are doing. I love the product that's on the field and the way these guys are starting to play. They are starting to get that attitude that's going to propel us to where we need to go.
Q: How was Rolando McClain in that last game? It seemed like he was flashing out there a lot.
Coach Jackson: He played well. He made some plays. I think this young man is destined for some great things, but he's got to go do it. I talk to him all the time about being consistent and I think he understands that and he needs to go make those plays every week. He can and he will.
Q: Is Chimdi Chekwa primarily a safety now?
Coach Jackson: Again, another one of our young players that we just kind of moved around to make sure we're doing the right thing. It's about evaluating players so we've evaluated him at corner and we put him at safety. We're pretty close to making the decision on where his best opportunity for his future will be with this football team.
Q: You saw Seattle twice last year. What challenges do the Seahawks present?
Coach Jackson: They are a good football team. They are coached by Pete Carroll and he does a great job. We did play them twice last year and their stadium is one of the loudest in football, so that in itself is a challenge. They have a team that is a very formidable opponent. They are good, they run around on defense, they're tough and aggressive and it will be a good test for us. We want to go up there with every intention of winning the game, and evaluate this team. After that, the stuff going on in the preseason is over with and it's time to get down to business.
Q: Have you spoken to Tom Cable after you got hired?
Coach Jackson: Just so you guys know, once coaches leave you don't really talk to them for a while. There needs to be some time but I'm sure we will in the future. We haven't at this point, but that's part of it. I understand that and respect that. I will speak to him on Friday if our paths cross, but I think it's all good.
Q: Does coming down to the final roster give a sense of urgency in the locker room?
Coach Jackson: You better know it does. These players know when that date is, they understand that, and to a man, they have to know their profession. I think some guys will be very disappointed, some guys will understand it is a business and some guys will go and get another opportunity. That's just the way this league works.
Q: Is there any pressure for these guys facing former Raiders?
Coach Jackson: No, I don't think so. It's truly a preseason game and I think the man of competition is excited about it. At the end of the day, it's a game to get ready for the regular season and I think our players understand that.