Photo by Tony Gonzales
Coach Jackson: What you had there is the best Offensive Coordinator in the league and I am excited that he works for us and what he brings to this team; I can't even began to tell you. It is not even close. He allows me to be all I can be for this team, and what he does for our offense is just tremendous with the quarterbacks, with the offensive line— with the whole offense. It makes me very comfortable when I need to run around and be part of defense and special teams, or anything. Al Saunders is definitely the right guy for me, for this organization and for this team.
Q: How soon did you place that call when you were named head coach?
Coach Jackson: Very close. I probably placed that call a long time ago. We had talked about it even in Baltimore that if I ever had gotten an opportunity, he would be the first guy that I would try to hire because I truly believe in what he and I believe in. We like to score touchdowns as fast as we can and we didn't do that the other night, but it is something that we truly enjoy doing. And the chess match of trying to figure out how to do that; he is one of finest that there is in football. So it is a great honor to have the opportunity to work with him, but before we get into all of the stuff today I have to thank some people who came out to support us from Bank of America, who are some of our greatest supporters. That is truly what it is all about when we have these great practices and people come in to see us. We try to not put on a show just for them, but this is their team and every day I know somebody wrote an article about we are letting people out on the field, but it is their football team whether it is Bank of America, whether it is our fans, whether it is whoever. This is their team because they're a huge part of what we do and I thank them all the time that they come out because we don't get to see a bunch of people every day. You know we get to see a select group of people but those people are very special to us and what we are trying to become here at the Raiders. Now what do you guys have today?
Q: Hue, who do you think has more energy - you or Al Saunders?
Coach Jackson: Me. I will never relinquish that title. You know I let him do his thing because he is good at what he does, but we kind of play off of each other. He is fabulous. Trust me when I tell you, there is not a better offensive coordinator in my opinion in all of pro football.
Q: You had a little bit of a shorter day today and guys getting the day off going into the off day?
Coach Jackson: Yes, that is the plus 30 group again, so they can get a chance to recover a little bit more. As you guys know we have had a couple days of strong banging around here so I wanted to make sure I get to balance what that is when we put on those pads and get after each other and when we take them off, and today I thought it was time to take them off. Give the older guys an opportunity to rest their bodies up. We have tomorrow off, and we will come back on Wednesday and we will get after it.
Q: Samson (Satele) at center and (Stefen) Wisniewski at guard; you think the center battle is over?
Coach Jackson: It is never over. There are no battles that are ever over until they're over. You know and there is nothing over yet. Today I wanted to make sure that I gave Stefen some opportunity at left guard. Put him in there and see what he can do along with Sammy. Again I am just playing pieces along. I am getting closer, I am, but there is nothing that we need to decide on today or anytime in the near future, but we will get to that as soon as we can.
Q: The practice after the day off, you didn't really like it last Wednesday; you tell the guys anything before the day off that today to have the anticipation….
Coach Jackson: Oh yeah, and they better come back right. Again I don't want to tell them all of the time. I want them to understand what we are trying to become here at the Raiders. When you come out here to practice, you are going to compete and it is going to be fast, physical, and going to be tough, and when it is done you will know that you put in a great days work. We come to practice with a purpose and our purpose right now is to get better as a team, and I think we are doing that.
Q: (Eddie) McGee hasn't practice because he has been hurt, but he had a good day today; what do you see in him?
Coach Jackson: He is again another young player that is on the team that is working extremely hard trying to earn a job. He is tall. He can catch the ball. He has a very good quickness. Again, I haven't seen a ton of him because he has been injured, but I am looking forward to seeing more of him. Hopefully we can get him in the game this week and see what he can do. Again, practice is one thing and playing the game is totally different.
Q: What do you look for on a day like that where you have the guys that are going to sit down (plus 30), what do you look for differently on a day like that?
Coach Jackson: The team today was all about speed and quickness. When we take the pads off it is all about assignment football, which it is all the time, but it is also about going fast and making sure we know exactly what we are doing. I like it when our team is covering and when I say covering, it is down the field chasing the ball; the offense has the ball or the defense has the ball, whatever that is, we have to play fast. We are a fast football team and we need to play to what we are which is speed and today I think that showed up on the practice field.
Q: Coach, with a few of the safeties banged up you had Matt Giordano back there with Super Bowl experience; any chance that he will make the team, you're getting a good look at him?
Coach Jackson: He is here for a reason and we are going to get a great look at him. He is a very smart, intelligent player that has played in the league. Like you said, he has some great experience you know playing in the Super Bowl, went to Cal. We worked him out this morning and he had the characteristics that we were looking for. We put him on our team and hopefully we will give him a chance to see if he can make this ball club.
Q: (Josh) Bullocks also?
Coach Jackson: Absolutely, no different than Matt. I mean, when we put guys on this team, we put them on there with their thought process and that they have an opportunity. It is all about performance and when they get a chance they have to rise up and make some plays and get a chance.
Q: Is it partially because we are not going to see Hiram (Eugene) and Zac Etheridge for a while?
Coach Jackson: Well, because there are some injuries at that position, but until we totally determine exactly where those are we have to make sure that we have enough bodies to practice. Again we are looking for players that can help us get better if we are not going to have certain players there. So those two young men who added to our team today and we will give them an opportunity to see what they can do.
Q: A guy like (Rolando) McClain who does all the homework that he does; how much do you think he plays on instinct and how much do you think it is just from knowledge gained from doing the film work that sort of serves his instincts?
Coach Jackson: I think it is both. I mean he is a tremendous student of the game, but he is also a tremendous athlete. This is a big man who can run and is very physical. I think the greatest part of this game is mental. You know the physical is what the mental is and what I mean by that you have to make sure you study the game. It is not just the physical part of it, and I think he has understood that and his coaches in college did a great job and our coaches in college have done a great job with him. But he likes to take it to another level. I think that is what is going to make him a really good football player and like I said I don't want him to be good, I want him to be great. I think that will thrust him to be where he needs to be, because he really studies the game. He is trying to get the defense to follow him that way and I think that will help our defense become what they need to become.
Q: Doing some home work on ( David) Ausberry, why didn't he do more at USC? What was holding him back?
Coach Jackson: I think he went in wanting to be a receiver. He is a big body guy and I coached at USC and there was a young man named Billy Miller. I always would tell Billy Miller go play tight end and you will be a first round draft pick. Billy never believed me and he came into the league in New Orleans. I think he was somewhere before that, and I take that back, and was a tight end and played extremely well. So I think some of these young men come to college with aspirations of being the next Keyshawn Johnson, or the next whatever that is, Mike Williams. When you go there you have big bodies and then you get there and they have all of these other little small fast guys, and then your opportunity kind of passes you by. But I am glad we have him. He is a tremendous find for us. He is doing some great things. He is a match up nightmare for most people. He can catch. He can run. He is tough. He learns well, so we are excited that he is a part of our organization.
Q: Where is he at blocking wise?
Coach Jackson: He is growing each and every day. The fact that he wants to, sometimes it takes a guy about a year, year and a half, to want to stick your face in there to learn how to block when you never had to do that. That is not the case with him. He enjoys it. He enjoys that part of it and I think that is going to help him become a better football player, faster.
Q: Did it help him that he began that process in college last year as opposed to getting here, starting out at tight end?
Coach Jackson: I don't know that he began that process in college. That is not the information that I have. He was a receiver. I know that they moved him around at H-back, but I don't know that he never lined up next to a tackle and had to go block a defensive end. You know that is a different world, but he is doing it here and he is working at it each and every day.
Q: Where is he physically with that in terms of weight and where you want him to be, to be able to do that?
Coach Jackson: No physically, he is exactly where he needs to be. It is just about fundamentals and technique and understanding the pro game and how this works within our system. All the different techniques and the blocking skills that he has to have to play for us, but as I said this young man, the sky is the limit for him, and if he keeps working like he does he will reach that opportunity to play at that position in this league.
Q: Chris Johnson was not hurt, he was the over 30?
Coach Jackson: Yeah. He is one of those older guys too. You guys like this over 30 thing; yeah? Some of you guys wish you had that over 30 thing at your job too right? Alright or over fifty (haha) but no we try to take care of these players and I think it is important that we do. We want to make sure that we have a very healthy team out here when we play.