Coach Jackson August 10 Transcript

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Photo by Tony Gonzales

Coach Jackson: Okay we are getting closer to game time, right? Hours away. I think our players are excited. We are just doing some fine tuning, getting ourselves prepared. I am very excited about practice today. Took pads off of them, we had on shells, put some shells on them so we can go real fast. We do everything with speed; it is all about assignment and technique, but go fast, so that was the emphasis for today. And then tomorrow we will come out and have a little walk-through just a little fine tuning. Then we will get ready to go down to the big O and play a football game.

Q: Do you know the rotation for tomorrow's game?

Coach Jackson: Not yet. I still have one more night. Wow I get one more night to do that, right? Again I want to gather all the information, get all the help, and understand where we are. Make sure I check with all of our coaches and all of the doctors, and then I will make that decision later on tonight about how long they are going to play.

Q: Rolando McClain is going to be healthy?

Coach Jackson: He is fine. He is fine. Again I reserve the right to take anybody out of practice that I want to. I did it yesterday with Nick Miller. I do it with McClain. I do it with whoever I feel that I want to make sure that they're okay. As I told you guys, sometimes I think we think it is all about injury and it's not. Sometimes I get to reserve that right to take some bodies' helmet and say today I want to give you the time off. I think it is best for our players and I am kind of getting to know their bodies and how they respond and how they react but I want to make sure that I keep this team as fresh as I can as prepared as I can and go out and play Raider football.

Q: What do you want to see from Jason (Campbell) in this game?

Coach Jackson: I want to see him take command in this offense and lead this team. Move this team down the field. I want to see his poise under pressure, and then I want to see if our guys will respond to him, which I am sure they will.

Q: How about the offensive line?

Coach Jackson: I want to see them fight. I mean as I keep saying, I am looking for five guys to line up out there and play like Raiders. You know the things we talk about. We keep talking about building this bully. We have to start to fight now.

Q: Who is out besides (Darren) McFadden, (Louis) Murphy, and Jacoby (Ford)?

Coach Jackson: Okay McFadden, Ford, and Murphy and I will have to get back to you on that. As you asked me a question and there is a whole bunch of guys that could potentially be out. I think that will come out tonight or later on tomorrow or however that unfolds but obviously the guys you have just mentioned are not going to play. We have already determined that. Everybody else like Trevor Scott.

Q: Mike Mitchell?

Coach Jackson:Yeah Mike will not play. I think you guys kind of know the group that is not going to play.

Q: What are the main things we are looking for?

Coach Jackson: In the first game I think what you are looking for is for your team to come out and to go from practice to a performance level now because you are playing in a game against an opponent. The thing I keep talking to my team about is performance and when the lights are on when it is game day. Practice is one thing, you know you go to practice and you make these plays. Guys run and they look pretty and you do all this good stuff, but you have to be able to do that against an opponent. It is all about performance on game day when you are playing against someone else and that is what I am looking for. Then I am looking for all the communication that we have worked so hard to take care of here in practice to show up. I am looking for us to cut the penalty issue that we can keep addressing. And I am looking for us to play the way I expect our team to play which is fast, physical, and determined.

Q: Is there a point this week to see what all Arizona does or is this just about the Raiders?

Coach Jackson: It is about us. Do we have to understand what they do because it is a little bit different scheme than what we face? Yes, but it is truly about us. I am never going to make it truly about another team. It is going to always be about us. Obviously we have to prepare for teams, but I think teams are nameless, faceless objects. I think it is truly about us about what we are trying to accomplish, about what we are trying to do, and I think if we take care of our home base I think everything else will fall into place.

Q: In your opinion has (Kevin) Boss adjusted since he has been here?

Coach Jackson: Yes I have been very impressed. He is working hard. I mean we throw a lot at this young man and he has handled it. He hasn't blinked, he comes early, and he stays late to make sure he gets all the information. I think you see him making a few more plays each and every day, so I am looking forward again he is a young man that is going to play in this game and I am looking forward to him making some plays.

Q: What is going on in your mind heading into your first game as a head coach?

Coach Jackson: {laughter} You know what? I have had so many text messages and calls of people asking me that. Nothing is different I mean I am looking for this magic to drop on me and I go, "oh my gosh here it comes." I just don't feel that way, I know a lot of people say that there is no way . I mean I have felt like I have been prepared to do this for awhile, but I mean obviously I have never done it and here comes the first time. I am sure as it comes closer maybe there will be some different type of emotions, but there is none now. I mean I still went through and made sure the game plan is in place. I am still going to make sure that I talk to our offense tonight about what we need to accomplish what we need to do along with Al (Saunders). Still going to go to the game and work out like I normally do before the game and check my call sheet and make sure it is good to go and make sure defensively we are strong on what we need to do and special teams with what we need to do. Once I decide the play time for these players and make sure that is passed down, but I don't see anything different in my mind. Have I been running around a little bit more today? Yes, but it is what it is but I am looking forward to it.

Q: How much can you simulate offense vs. defense during training camp and going at it pretty hard, but still keep guys off the ground, but still play football? And will the special teams aspect over the next four games really make or break these preseason games?

Coach Jackson: Oh there is no question, now it is on video tape and it is against somebody else. Special teams, offensively, and defensively, I am expecting some players to rise to the top and start showing their worth to this organization and their worth to this team and the worth to their teammates. I mean that is what it is all about, we are a team that is building and I feel very comfortable where we are, but gosh we need to start this thing the right way.

Q: But you can't see that special teams at all yet?

Coach Jackson: No, because there is no tackling, but you can see who can run fast, which we have a very fast team. You can see who has the want to and the desire to do it, but now you have to truly go do it. The lights are on and there is no more whistles that are going to blow inadvertently. There is no more, "hey, slow down," there is none of that. It is to go as hard as you can go as fast as you can go and go make those plays.

Q: Is this even more like a Super Bowl for some of these fringe guys, young guys especially, because of the nature of the season and the fact that you didn't have OTAs and all of that stuff?

Coach Jackson: Super Bowl is a big word but I think it's an opportunity that every play that they're out there; every opportunity they get they're trying to impress. And I'll talk to them tonight about not pressing; I don't think you need to do more than what you're supposed to do. These players are on our team for a reason, we put them on here; they have the opportunities here because we think they've got talent. Now what they need to do is let their talent show and as I told you, my staff, what we're truly about is showcasing our talent and ability so if a young man has a talent we're going to do everything we can to let it show and take him out of the things which he's not good at and try to give him a chance to shine at what he is good at. 

Q: Do you alter, at all, playing time for young guys considering they haven't had the offseason they would've had in previous years?

Coach Jackson: You know, that's why when everybody was saying, "why don't you know right now." I think you've got to think through all that. Do you give them more, do you give them less, is a guy truly ready to play?  I think there's a lot of decisions that go into that and that's part of what I'll spend the back part of my day really thinking about before we make this decision because we do have a veteran group that needs to get ready to play and they need to get out there and play in a game under the lights in our stadium. But we also have another group that we need to evaluate, that needs to go play, because I don't know a lot about them other than what I know over these ten practices, so there's a fine line there. So we're going to make the best decision that helps this organization, this football team.

Q: You don't have the rotation down yet; who do we expect to see returning kickoffs and punts?

Coach Jackson: I think Nick Miller is our punt returner. Obviously Jacoby's not there so I can't tell you right this second who's going to be the first guy returning kicks. I think we have a pretty good idea but I want to nail that all down here tonight and be for sure based on injuries and how guys bodies are and all that. So we're getting closer to getting that done and by tonight I guarantee I'll know.

Q: A lot of rumblings that Lofa Tatupu is back in the area; are you guys talking to him?

Coach Jackson: Which area is he in?  I haven't seen him in Napa, I haven't seen him out here. I haven't seen him. He has been here; good player, but I haven't seen him. I wish him luck whatever happens.

Q: What have you thought of Chad Jackson so far; looks like he's done some good things since he's got here?

Coach Jackson: Oh he has; those guys are working.  I think he's slimmed down from a year ago when I saw him a year ago and he's competing, he has unbelievable explosion and talent, he just needs to do it consistently. He'll get an opportunity, hopefully, tomorrow night, to go out there and show what he's got. 

Q: What would you say is your team's biggest challenge heading into tomorrow?

Coach Jackson: My team's biggest challenge is to make sure that I don't lose my cool too fast. Haha no, I think the challenge is just coming out and becoming what I know we can become. I have an expectation for our football team, I think our team is starting to have an expectation for itself; our defense, our offense, and our special teams, we truly believe in each other and what we're trying to accomplish and what I want to see is some of that. And it's going to be in fractions because some guys will play more than others as this thing unfolds, but there's a feeling that I'm looking for and I think I get it because I think these men are dying to put it out there that way so I'm looking forward to it.

Q: Talking about Chad Jackson, any other young guys jumped out at you so far?

Coach Jackson: Yeah, yeah. DeMarcus Van Dyke, I'm looking forward to watching him play. I truly am looking forward to watching this young man play football. I'm looking for Kevin Boss to play too.  I'm looking for all those young secondary players to play; I'm looking for all the young linebackers to play, I'm excited to watch Quentin Groves play tomorrow night in year two evolution of him playing linebacker. On offense, obviously, I'm still so excited about Marcel Reece and his development and where he is and Jared Veldheer where he is in year two. When you start competing against other players, while truly watching the offensive line perform and watching our tight end position take the next step.  Again, as I said earlier, I'm really excited for watching this whole team.  I'll have a lot of tape to watch come Friday, but gosh I'm so excited about watching it because that's going to be an opportunity for us to get better.

Q: We saw Jason take control of the offense; is part of that because of the fact that you have some new guys up front; all of his receivers are back but is it part of his job to settle those guys down when he's out there?

Coach Jackson: That's what the pros do, that's what the great ones do. I'm expecting Jason to be great and I think he will be. That's part of his job; his job is to lead a group and they're going to follow him and I think he's ready for that challenge, he's done a great job out here, and he'll take that step.

Q: You've spent a lot of time in the community meeting and getting to know the fans; you went to school in Stockton, you understand how important the Raiders are to the community. How anxious and excited are you to get in front of the fans tomorrow night?

Coach Jackson: I'm very, because the fans are our DNA, you know? Raider Nation, people that come to our games, everywhere I've been, even here in Napa, there's so many well-wishers, want to see us do great. Now it's time for us to give back to them, to get on this journey, to do great, to put this organization back to where we want to put it. I know a lot of people say, "well Hue, you say all this and all that." I'm going to say it, I'm going to keep saying it, I'm not going to back down for nothing because I expect to win here. I want our players to expect to win and I want our fans to have an expectation that this organization is making a comeback to where it rightfully belongs. 8-8 doesn't cut it for me; I didn't come here, I'm not interested in being 8-8.  I'm interested in being great, I'm interested in our players being great, I'm interested in our great players playing great and I'm interested in our fans being great. So if that's the case, I'm encouraging all of our fans to get behind this team and watch us because I truly believe the time's now, and I've said it and I'm going to keep saying it and nobody is going to make me stop saying it because that's what I believe.

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