Raiders Head Coach Tom Cable and former NFL coach and current NFL Network analyst Steve Mariucci take in the action during Tuesday's practice. Cable and Mariucci worked together at the University of California at Berkeley. Photo by Tony Gonzales.
Coach Cable: We practiced today in full pads doing some preparation for the game against Seattle and a little bit of situational work and working on some more fundamentals.
Q: You were working out there with Mario Henderson quite a bit during practice, was that just to fine tune some things?
Coach Cable:Yeah, just to help him. He and I have spent so much time together that it's easy for me to relate to him and he's frustrated by a couple things but that's easy to fix and that's what we did.
Q: Do you think Darren McFadden is ready to carry the load if he has to?
Coach Cable:I think so. I think he's ready to go, he looked good the other night with the short work he got and practiced well today, so yes, I do.
Q: With Henderson and the offensive line as a unit, what stands out, or how would you assess where they're at after seeing the last game?
Coach Cable:I think there's times where it's good and I think there's times where I wish it could be better. It's never really been a good and a bad thing, it's been a good and a wish it was better. Consistency, I think is the number one issue to me, we've had some times where we think 'dang we're going to be good,' but we've got to continue to do it play after play and I think that's the thing that's missing a little bit in our offensive line, just getting an every down consistency, and once we get that I'll be excited.
Q: What do you see from Seattle that could challenge you on offense or on defense?
Coach Cable:A team very similar to us, they're trying to improve, they're playing hard, have a physical style, they run a zone scheme, their run game is really starting to come on and flourish, their defense plays with a lot of aggression and has a lot of speed; but its not so much what they're doing, what we're doing but lets continue to see if we can make our team better one more night before we really get ready to do this.
Q: What do guys on the bubble have to do to get a roster spot?
Coach Cable:I think you have to show up, they're on the bubble for the reason because they haven't shown up to this point so I think you have to make an exclamation point this week.
Q: Do you at all worry about the momentum when you have some of your top guys here dinged up?
Coach Cable:I think you do any time when someone gets dinged up but there's not a lot you can do about it at this level, it happens, its part of the game. The real issue is have you prepared the next guy to go in so you don't fall off as much as you could.
Q: You picked up three defensive backs late in the draft in Walter McFadden, Stevie Brown and Jeremy Ware, do you get a sense they can help you?
Coach Cable:I think each has done some nice things. Every preseason game those guys have shown up one way or the other but they've also had some things they need to work on and some things they've struggled with. I think they have shown themselves in a positive way and hopefully they'll play well Thursday night.
Q: Did you guys make any roster moves?
Coach Cable:Yes, we cut TE Eric Butler.
Q: What are the last few things you're trying to iron out before the regular season starts?
Coach Cable:I think fundamentally, I want to see us make a jump forward in tackling, and finishing off blocks, I think those two things are at the top of my wish list right now, continue to grow as a passing offense, which I think we're doing that. I'd like to see us have consistency with the run game and with the offensive line. But more than anything I'd like to see us finish blocks and tackle better than what we have.
Q: Once the cuts have been made, would you expect a lot of movement still on the roster?
Coach Cable:I'm excited about the team I think we're going to have. I think you always look to see if there is a way to improve your team, I don't think anyone would ever say they're not, so we'll look. But I do like the football team I think we're going to have.
Q: Pretty loud crowd Saturday night, how important is it going to be this season to have the Raider Nation behind this team?
Coach Cable:Well, first it starts with us, going out and winning games, they'll come if we win. That's the bottom line, they were great Saturday and I think they got a taste of what we have potential to be. I think we have a chance, a good chance and now it will be up to us to win games and give them something to be there and tailgate and do all the things they like to do.
Q: This league is so competitive it seems like everyone with a rare expectation has a shot at the playoffs now, does that make it more of a challenge sometimes?
Coach Cable:Definitely. The last 12, there is something unique about them. Thirty-two of us are similar right now, we feel good about ourselves right now, we all like what we have, we are all relatively healthy, more some than others, we all feel good about our draft, and our offseason; but the reality its how you are in the locker room and on the practice field that really dictates who those twelve teams will be and who is willing to eliminate distractions and really work for each other for a real purpose. If you're purpose driven you have a good chance at the end, and if you're not, you're just like the other 20 teams that don't go anywhere.
Q: Do you feel like a playoff team right now?
Coach Cable:I actually believe that's where we are headed, there's not doubt. When I look at us as a football team, our biggest opponent is us. That's our goal right now, that's our purpose, to take care of us. How we handle things, from penalties to discipline to tackling to finishing to being on times, will write the script for what we are this year.
Q: Is each week sort of like a sprint in this league?
Coach Cable:It is in this league, every week it's different. The thing you have to keep in mind, no matter who you are, if you're one of those teams and you were 14-0 or something like that, each of those 14 wins was very difficult, nothing is easy. If you can keep that mentality, that this is going to be very, very difficult every week and that there is a specific formula we have to put ourselves through every week in order to succeed. If you can stay true to that you have your best chance, it's when you get off that path and start to stay things go wrong and you start to look for excuses. I thin it's a pretty cut and dry thing in this league. Its difficult every week and you've got to do it right every week, and you've got to have some luck.
Q: It's a big deal to have Hue Jackson here, what's the feeling you have for what he's doing here and how it's helped you?
Coach Cable:He's helped me so much. We were talking this morning about Tennessee and getting ready for it, and how he and I will break it up and put it together and the nice thing is having someone to do all of that. To organize it, put it together, call it, and then keep his foot on it. I like that. It's allowed me to coach this football team, it's been a joy that way. It's also allowed me to keep an eye on that offensive line and some of those things that are dear to me. I think it's a big, big help, it's huge. We're both type 'A' personalities so that's good.