Photo by Tony Gonzales
Q: How is Jerome Boyd looking out there?
Coach Jackson: He is doing good. He really is and I am impressed. He does a lot of different things for us; he plays safety and he plays a little linebacker for us, but he has been a pleasant surprise. You know when I was around him a year ago we let him do some things that didn't work out. I think he came back more determined, more focused, and he wants an opportunity to make this ball club so he is working each and every day.
Q: After that preseason opener, you kind of outlined a few areas that you wanted to go to work at. How would you assess this past week and what improvements or installments have you made?
Coach Jackson: I think we have improved as far as really emphasizing the penalty issue. We emphasize a little bit more in the scoring zone, you know our issues that were there a week before. I think we, as a staff, are more comfortable communicating with each other on the head sets. You know we have been through that process now. I think the team is understanding me prior to the game of what I am looking for, just our demeanor on how we go about our business and how we go to the game. Now we have had a full game and I think that process is now behind us. Now it is about performance all of the time; all of us. You know we go to the game to perform at a high level and regardless of how many plays they play that is what I am looking for that our players play at an extremely high level from the first play until the last play.
Q: Coach, your day before the game practice is a little different from the rest of them, what are your trying to accomplish and how would you describe the practice?
Coach Jackson: It is really about polishing. It is a polish practice where you go in and you hit all the different situations and really make sure that everything should be exact. We are not exactly where I want us to be as far as that is concerned, but we try to go out and go fast. We take all of the pads off. We are really detailed and we try to finish everything. I use a quick whistle because I don't want a lot of collisions, but I also want to make sure that we are stepping right and our eyes are in the right place, the assignments are correct, the alignments are correct, and that we know what we should be doing and how we should be doing it.
Q: Is that going to be a standard you want to set for every…
Coach Jackson: No, this is still training camp mode.
Q: In terms of regular season, I remember when Rich Gannon was here he would say how the Friday practice would be and he could pretty much tell they were ready about how they were in the red zone, how crisp they were…
Coach Jackson: Now that part is true; absolutely. That part is absolutely right and that is what I am trying to accomplish. We probably will not have as many plays as you have seen because we are still in training camp mode, but our Fridays will be about precision, execution, finish, and just the finishing touches of what you need to do to play a game.
Q: What is the playing time going to be like?
Coach Jackson: I cannot tell you that just yet. I haven't thought about it yet. Last night I was spending more time; we had some people in from the outside. I had to spend a lot of time with them so I get to sleep on it one more night. As I told you guys the other day, I hope they play more. That's is my goal because I think we do need to need to play more. How much more? I don't have the exact number in my mind, but we will definitely play more.
Q: Given away this year and the setup is kind of a weird this year, will any of the guys go in the last preseason game?
Coach Jackson: You know, maybe, but I haven't thought that far ahead. Again it is another opportunity. It is another dress rehearsal before we get to the main season. So I haven't really given it much thought like that, but once that day comes I am sure that you guys will ask me that same question.
Q: Do you ever go into the games with the set of the amount of plays that you want the starters to play or is it a feel thing and how they do?
Coach Jackson: It is a little bit of both because you never know what the team is going to do. You don't know if they are going to be three and out all of the time; that's the goal, but you don't know if they are going to score early. So you have to have a plan, but you also have to adapt and adjust as the game goes. I will have a couple of thoughts tonight on what I want to do with these guys after I have an opportunity to sit down and watch the tape to see where we are and find out where we are physically and see where we are from there.
Q: Are you still in the mode where you are not really paying attention to the opponents and still focusing on what you need to do?
Coach Jackson: It is not about the opponent, truly. Obviously we are playing San Francisco and I shouldn't say it that way because it is, because they do certain things that you have to prepare for. With that being said, there is still the evaluation about our players and making sure that we are in our process as we continue to move forward. Our goal is to go to San Francisco to win the game. We are not going there to just to go play. We are going there to win the game, but that being said, we also have some evaluations still to do with some very specific players and we are going to put them out there. Again the performance is where it's at. Guys need to perform against an opponent as they show us what they can do.
Q: Although it is a nameless, faceless opponent as you always talk about, you can't ignore the fact that it is the Raiders versus the Niners?
Coach Jackson: The Battle of the Bay. Oh I have heard it every day. Everybody has told me all about it and I respect that. It is the Battle of the Bay. I mean but is it truly for bragging rights for a preseason game; yes I think so. I want to be able to go eat in San Francisco restaurants and get a pump up, you know no doubt, but yeah, like I said we are going in there purpose of winning the game. I am not going there to lose that is for sure.
Q: Realizing the most important stats are going to be wins and touchdowns when it comes to offense…
Coach Jackson: And sacks.
Q: But there hasn't been a receiver here that has gone over a thousand yards like since 2005 or had as many as 70 catches, can we expect from what you have seen out here that this year somebody is going…
Coach Jackson: Somebody is going to jump out of that pack. There is no question and I truly believe that. Somebody will jump out of the pack and have a bang up season and I suspect there is going to be a couple of players that will do that. Our offense is multifaceted, we are going to do everything we can as I keep telling you, to create opportunities for guys to make plays. If a guy shows me he can make plays I am going to keep giving him opportunities to keep making plays. That's what it's all about. The guys that can make plays when they need to be made they are going to continue to get opportunities.
Q: It seems to be pretty open to who those guys might be still.
Coach Jackson: Absolutely, no doubt, and it's on-going and like I said we still have a couple of players to get out here and I think when we do we will have something that I think we all will be very proud of.
Q: What's it say to you that everyday there is a couple of young guys out here and they want to be out there, what does that say to you when you see four or five of those guys?
Coach Jackson: That they are working at it, that they know in order to be a pro you have to work at your skill, you have to do everything you can to give yourself the best opportunity to make this team, and guys are working at their craft each and every day. I have seen veteran players stay, I've seen younger players stay. I just think that's something I have talked about; everything you can do to make yourself a better football player to give yourself and opportunity on this team you need to do. I don't take notes of who was out there because again this is about performance business. If I made a decision because a guy stayed after then it's not about that. It's truly about playing, and if this helps the young man to play better in the game or give him an opportunity to have success then that's what they should do.
Q: You mentioned the communication between the coaching staff getting stronger and stronger each week. I just want you to touch on what specifically (Rod) Woodson has brought to the defense.
Coach Jackson: I think our corners are a little more physical than what they've been. He truly believes that this is a contact sport and 'contact courage' is something that he talks about all the time with those guys. I do see our guys tackling and being more involved in the ruckus than what I've seen in the past and that's no discredit to the past regime or anything like that, but I think you play football on defense with 11 guys and we have to play that way. Everybody has to understand that this is a tough sport, and you have to stick your face in there to make plays. I think our team, me as a head coach, the teammates of the players who haven't had to do that a ton; we all respect that. Now we're playing with 11 guys and those 11 guys understand what the mission is - we have to get the guy who has the ball and when the ball is in the air we have to find a way to go get it.
Q: What's the biggest change that (Chuck) Bresnahan brings to the defense this year as far as coaching style and coaching philosophy are concerned?
Coach Jackson: He has a lot of enthusiasm. He's a lot like me [in that] he's fiery, he gets after [the players], he doesn't back down from any one of them. He pushes buttons and he has an expectation, along with myself, of how we want that defense to play, and he demands it from them and he demands it from the coaches. We're still a work in progress because they haven't played very much, they've played 6 plays, so I'm looking to see that defense play the way the vision is here soon because we're going to let them play hopefully a little bit more, whether it's this week, next week or whenever it is. I guarantee you that against Denver they will be playing a lot so we need to see exactly what it is that we say we're going to get, and that's the whole thing I talked to the staff about. What you say the players are is what I expect the players to be, nothing more, nothing less. If we do that, then we will improve.
Q: Was any part of you happy that the guys on defense were mad that you pulled them out so early [in the first preseason game]?
Coach Jackson: Yeah absolutely! There was a little chuckle as I walked down the sideline because that's the way you want them to be. I think it's the work out here [at practice] that's starting to pay off and I think they can see it and they can feel it, and then when you have an opportunity to do it, you want to go do it. It's like we gave them a little candy and then took it away, and we'll give them a little more this week and see what they'll do and just keep getting this thing to where we need to get it to.
Q: What does it take to get to the elite group? You've been around some elite groups, so what does this team need to do to be a part of the elite group?
Coach Jackson: Cut it loose. I was around one of the greatest warriors of all time in Ray Lewis, and I sat with this gentleman many times to talk about football and he has no fear of anything. I think sometimes players are afraid to make a mistake, I don't think you can worry about that during a game you have to just play. As I tell the defense "I got your back," and I tell that to the offense also. So we need to just not worry, cut loose, fly around, and play football the way it is meant to be played.
Q: What's the biggest difference you want to see from game one to game two?
Coach Jackson: Better execution on offense, cut down on penalties, defense flying around and making plays, being turnover free on offense, and make turnovers on defense.
Q: Do you see any of Ray Lewis in Rolando?
Coach Jackson: It's hard to compare those types of players; it would be hard for me to do. I think our player has a chance to be a very, very good football player and I think he is growing each and every day. I'm very proud about what he's becoming, he's becoming very vocal; I think you guys all see it every day; he's becoming very vocal with the defensive football team. I told him this is his defense, he gets to see it all and he needs to take on that responsibility and go get it.
Q: Zach Miller was such a security blanket for your quarterbacks for a few years. Is one of the by- products of him not being here that the rest of the offense has to step up?
Coach Jackson: Yes, but I think we were headed there anyway. I think it is time for the skill that we have to take it to the next level. We can't be the same offense as we were a year ago and have our tight end lead us in receptions again. It's time for these receivers to step up. It is time for our quarterbacks to truly step up. It is time for the O-line to step up. You know Darren McFadden, I can't wait until he gets back out because I think he is going to be one of the greatest runners in football this year, but I think we have the makings of a very good offensive football team. I think we just need to keep practicing, keep growing and keep working.
Q: You don't have one in name on the roster but who is your quarterbacks coach? Is Al (Saunders) basically handling that?
Coach Jackson: Me and Al; absolutely. Absolutely, Al spends more time with them than I do because I am a little bit of everywhere, but Al and I both handle those guys and he does a great job with them. I am very comfortable that way and I think people have to understand that you have to be comfortable with who your quarterback coach is. You know you just don't let anybody go coach your quarterback because that is the baby of the team and I take a lot of pride in that and he does too. He does an excellent job and he will let me go in there and do what I need to do with him and I will allow him to do what he needs to do and it has been great. I mean the guys have been awesome.