Raiders Head Coach Tom Cable chats with the media at the Raiders Alameda, Calif., facility. Raiders.com.
Coach Cable: We do have an announcement; we released four players this morning: Tony Stewart TE, Paul Hubbard WR, Allen Smith OL, and Chane Moline FB.
Q: What was the purpose making those moves now?
Coach Cable:It was either today or tomorrow, we just wanted to move forward. We'll have another one to announce tomorrow.
Q: Training camp isn't really over, it has just changed to this facility, how different is the routine?
Coach Cable:It's a little different in that you want to finish the preseason the right way in terms of there are some people on the bubble, who you want to get opportunities to make their last stand if you will. I think that is still on the minds of everyone else, and just the turnaround from a Saturday to Thursday game, making sure we handle that properly.
Q: Saw QB Jason Campbell out there today, did he look okay?
Coach Cable:He threw the ball and did everything we needed to do in practice today.
Q: How did Jared Veldheer do (at center vs. San Francisco) in terms of the line calls?
Coach Cable:I thought pretty well. There is probably two plays I would like to have back, he probably would too. I thought overall he did a fine job, I think that for a guy going in and playing against the 3-4, being covered every snap like that, I'd say he did better than expected.
Q: Is that the hardest part of moving a guy to center, the line calls not so much the techniques of the position?
Coach Cable:I think it's a little bit of all that really. You've got to be right and he's got to get guys directed. But I think the technique playing in there with someone on your nose is so different than playing at tackle.
Q: Was it a relief to see Campbell participating today?
Coach Cable:I knew after the game he'd be all right so it's just a matter of him getting back to work.
Q: What did you see on film in terms of pass rush, you guys went from 12 sacks the first two games to none last week?
Coach Cable:I thought we didn't do as good a job at getting to the quarterback, they did some things in terms of blocking us. We disrupted a little bit and got some hits on the quarterback but in terms of purely looking at sack production down, and if you look at that look how it pertains to third down. For the first time defensively we struggled on third down getting of the field, I think there is a direct correlation. [We need to] be able to get the ball out of the quarterback's hand quicker, make him throw before he's ready to and obviously get him on the ground if you can.
Q: Did Bruce Gradkowski exceed what you thought with him coming back?
Coach Cable:Those of us who were around with him last year know what he's capable of so I'm not sure anyone was really surprised, just pleased for him to have that kind of success and to have the consistency to move the team that way and score points. There are some things he could have done better though and he'd probably be the first to tell you that. It's just nice to see him back there and I think he's strengthened the quarterback position on our team and there's good depth now.
Q: What are the qualities he has that allowed him to have that kind of success?
Coach Cable:Preparation. Even though he hasn't been able to be out there with the [pectoral] injury and the groin injury, he has just worked his tail off. He is a lot like everyone else in that room now, they just study and ask questions and look at a lot of tape, they want to be in the know. I think he went in prepared, you can talk about a guy getting mental reps or whatever, he just prepared himself so much for it.
Q: Is he your number two quarterback?
Coach Cable:I think he went out there and proved that he is the backup quarterback yes.
Q: How instrumental was Jason Campbell in terms of work ethic for the guys to see?
Coach Cable:Just as important as Kyle Boller, Charlie Frye. I think collectively you have to take your hat off to the group and their coach; they just go to work every day. The nice thing to me is that they are all similar that way they like to work, they love to study film, they like to converse and ask each other questions and so it is a nice fit in that room.
Q: Is that contagious for the rest of the offense and the young receivers?
Coach Cable:I think so and I think it has shown with the young receivers. When you really want to put your finger on something, look, we've had a lot of guys out, Louis Murphy out for a while, Darrius Heyward-Bey out for a while, Chaz Schilens out, but our timing is better than it's ever been. I think the work that they are putting in at quarterback has leaked down to the wide receiver position because we're getting a lot of guys stepping up and making plays. I'd like to not drop the football three times but it is what it is.
Q: Some of Jason's teammates were talking about professionalism, is there another way that manifests itself other than working and the film study?
Coach Cable:Just the way he carries himself, he's a confident guy. He certainly understands there is a process to go through from day to day and week to week to get himself prepared. I think he's consistent and people see that about him and that's where the professionalism comes in.
Q: The last preseason game is here at home, is there an advantage of having the Raider Nation fans there to add some excitement to the game?
Coach Cable:We certainly appreciated them the other night. I think they were tremendous on Saturday night and you heard them and felt them. Anytime we can be there with them is an advantage.
Q: How many spots are up for grabs still?
Coach Cable:I think there's a bunch, I'd mentioned this before, I think this is a tough cut. I don't think it's like years past where it was fairly simple to know who the 53 would be. I don't think it's that easy this year. I think that's a good problem really, we're more competitive that way and have improved the football team that way.
Q: Given the short work week, what is the approach with the short amount of time?
Coach Cable:We have less time but the approach will stay the same. We want to have our team prepared situationally for Seattle but we have some fundamentals to work on certainly; tackling being on the top of that list, coverage in the kicking teams and consistency on offense, those three things.
Q: You have two games in preseason against teams you'll play in the regular season, does that help you or hurt you or is it just a wash?
Coach Cable:I think it can help you, and I think it can be a wash too. I don't know how it hurts you, I think seeing someone again down the road is always a good thing. Especially the San Francisco game because you played your starters so much, they have a feel for each other in terms of match ups, this one you probably won't play those guys as much.
Q: You talked about tackling being a concern, how do you address that issue?
Coach Cable:We'll make sure every day in practice we are fundamentally addressing that issue with drills, you have to do it. I'm a little disappointed in it because it hasn't been an issue with us but it showed up the other night. When you're fitting properly and taking things on the right shoulder and you're square, then it's just an issue of squeezing the guy and getting him on the ground.
Q: What has RB Michael Bennett shown you so far?
Coach Cable:Consistency. We've played three games and all three times he's gone out and been the same guy he was in the first one, the second one. He's explosive; he's got nice quick feet through the whole. He seems to be a more physical guy in games than in practice and that is a good thing, tremendously focused guy on game day. He's done some nice things, he's been impressive.