Coach Jackson addresses the media.Photo by Tony Gonzales.
Coach Jackson: I am hot, can't you tell? I like it when it is hot and tough because I think that is when you have to grind the most because that is what this league is all about. What do you guys have for me today? I know you guys have tons of questions and I have a few answers.
Q: Jason (Campbell) looked as good as you hoped for?
Coach Jackson: Oh no doubt. I told you that he would be fine. He is okay. An extra day of rest and he came out and threw the ball around a little bit and had a good practice. He led the team in practice. As I told you guys he is back to where he was and he is fine.
Q: Today was one of those days where you got a little more physical early?
Coach Jackson: Oh yeah, I mean I told you we are going to have those days. Again we are still in the process of building this team each and every day. I don't want our players to know when it is coming, but when it does come I expect us to respond and we did. I thought we did a great job at the goal line and I thought we did a great job in short yardage. Obviously I don't get to pick a winner or a loser but it was good to see both sides of the ball competing.
Q: Pleased to see that early drill with Taiwan Jones, who has the reputation of being a breakaway guy, getting balls in the end zone from the two and three-yard line?
Coach Jackson: Oh yeah, I was pretty excited about that. As I told you, it is practice and I would love to see him do that in the game against other competition, but the young man has some skill and I am looking forward to watching him play.
Q: Where are you on the offensive line here; you have (Stefen) Heyer out, does that complicate things and do you have to wait until he gets back?
Coach Jackson: I don't necessary know that I have to wait until he gets back. I am getting closer to solidifying that unit. Again I think we have some pieces to work with and work through. We have Bruce (Campbell) back now for a couple practices and a game and a few more practices here. So again it is going to sort itself out but I feel real good about the guys that we have. Now it is just about sitting down and making some tough decisions because I think guys have done a good job competing and putting a unit out there and letting them play and I am very close to doing that.
Q: Could your first team offensive line be out there Sunday?
Coach Jackson: Possibly. Possibly, they could be.
Q: I saw Tyvon (Branch) working a lot at corner, what are your plans with that?
Coach Jackson: Oh no, we just wanted to take a day or two and work guys at different positions. You always have to have a backup plan in case things don't pan out the way you want them too. You know you have to always, as a coach you are always thinking ahead trying to figure out what to do just in case. So I always have an emergency plan if something happens where we don't get certain guys back. We don't feel like all of sudden there is going to be a problem during the season.
Q: (DeMarcus) Van Dyke is resting; is he going to be able to play this week?
Coach Jackson: I think he will be able to play. You know he has one of those little nicks. You know a nick here, so we will get him back and he'll be fine.
Q: How is big John (Henderson)?
Coach Jackson: He is getting closer.
Q: (David) Ausberry?
Coach Jackson: He is getting closer.
Q: David Ausberry got hurt in last game?
Coach Jackson: Yes it definitely wasn't at practice because you haven't seen him at practice.
Q: What do you hope to see Sunday against the Saints?
Coach Jackson: I know there is a very good football team coming in here and I know there is a good football team here that needs to play. Again, we haven't played a lot with our top line guys and I hope I can get them more time in the game. Again, just bracing time and what we are trying to accomplish and this and that as we continue to move forward, but we need to play. Sean (Payton) does a great job with his team and that team will come in here to play and we need to come to play and we need to go and improve. Again, this is about improvement. That was the biggest disappointment last week. I didn't think last week we took a step forward and sometimes you have to go backwards before you go forward again. So I am very comfortable with where we were after watching the tape and talking to our players. As I said, I want to win every game, but obviously these preseason games don't count, but as I tell our players they really matter. They matter in the process of what we are trying to accomplish. I don't like losing. I hate it. It doesn't set well with me and I would hope that it doesn't set well with our team. The bottom line at the end of the day; these games do not count, but like I said, they truly matter. They matter to me and how we go about it, how we approach it, what our energy level is, and how we play the game. From that respect we need to get a lot better in order to be where we need to be come September 12th.
Q: The top of the line passing attack like they have assume that they play but you assume that they will come out with their first team for awhile, is that about a good of test you can get week three of the preseason or it doesn't even matter to you with who you are playing?
Coach Jackson: It matters because it is the Saints. It is Drew Brees and they do an excellent job on offense. It doesn't matter in the sense that we need to continue to grow into what we are trying to accomplish and what we are trying to do. There are goals that we want to accomplish in every game that we play. I am not going to tell you that we hit every goal. I just know this, that we are not at this point where I think we need to be and we need to just keep putting our head down and keep grinding. It is a process. I think our players understand it and I am a part of that process and we are going to get it to where we need it to be. Again, September 12th is the goal, but there is a huge, huge football game here this Sunday night on T.V. against a very good football team and it is going to be a heck of a test for our football team.
Q: With your run defense, is it a couple of guys that were here or there or is it a collective problem you see or not?
Coach Jackson: I am not going to make any excuses for what it is. It is there and it is the same thing that has been there for years. My job is to try to fix all of that and that is what we are going to do from coaches to players. We are going to button this thing down and find a way to get this run game stopped. I mean that is just one of our goals. Just like on offense our goal is that we have to be able to run the football. So those are two areas of needed improvement by our football team and that is okay. Like I said, we are a work in progress that way but that is okay. I think we understand that and it is something that we need to get done.
Q: You feel better today than you did on Saturday with that?
Coach Jackson: Oh no doubt, because I see it. Again as I said to you guys after the game, I want to see the practice performance show up on game day. You know I am sure you guys have been out here and it has been some tremendous practices that way but all of sudden when it goes to the game that performance needs to show up. That's the next test for our football team. That all of sudden on game day when it is performance time that we grade out as an "A" and I think we are working towards that.
Q: I remember you saying that at one point when you first got here you ran across Darren [McFadden] in the weight room and you challenged him. Can you recount what you said to him?
Coach Jackson: I asked Darren 'what is it you like to run? You were a Heisman trophy finalist, what was it that put you in that group of people?' And he said, 'Coach I'm used to running a certain type of runs' and I go, 'well why don't we run them here?' He says, 'well it's not our style.' So I said 'well what do you like to run?' and he rattled off about three or four runs that he really enjoys. So I said 'Okay, they are in' and he looked at me and said 'no they're not' and I said 'yes they are' and that's what we did. Then 1,157 yards later, that's who Darren McFadden is. Again, this is about, and I respect what [the media does], but my job is to take our players in the best position to have success. In order to do that, you have to have some time to understand the pieces that you have. You have to put all those pieces together, you have to take the Darren McFaddens, the Marcel [Reeces], the Jacoby Fords, the Chaz Schilens and all those guys and find what they do well and give them an opportunity to do that. The thing that's different is we haven't had a ton of time. All we've had is 18, 19 practices and two preseason games, and that's okay. That's not an excuse by any stretch of the imagination but everyday we're getting closer and closer to that product that I'm looking for. Last year was last year, I am trying to build on last year, everybody talks about the 410 points [scored] last year, and that's great, but I'm expecting more. I'm expecting us to play much better than that, so if I am going to do that I have to still find the pieces that fit so that we can be the explosive offense that I anticipate us being, and I think we will. I know there's nothing that says that right this second but that's okay, I have the vision and I have total faith in myself and the offensive players that we will get there.
Q: Any word yet on when Terrelle Pryor will be here?
Coach Jackson: Oh man. He will be here soon, I'm sure he'll be here, hopefully towards the end of the week maybe, we will have him here and ready to go.
Q: You said your philosophy is to find what players do well and do that. Do you think when Terrelle Pryor comes in here you will do the same for him?
Coach Jackson: There's no question. There's not an offensive player that I won't do that for because that's about creating an environment so your players can have an opportunity to have success. Whatever it is that he does well, we will accentuate that. I don't want to ask a player to do something that he can't do because what good does that do as a coach? What good does that do for the player? I think it's truly about the player and finding out what they can do and letting them do that.
Q: Is it anything serious for Rolando [McClain] or [Travis] Goethel?
Coach Jackson: Rolando is going to be fine, I took the helmet from him and said, 'take a day off.' Travis Goethel is a different situation. Yesterday Travis, very unfortunately, and I hate talking about these things because it's tough, but the young man hurt his knee. He tore something in there that I think is not going to be very good. He's going to end up having to have surgery. It's unfortunate but it's part of this game. That's two years in a row for him in a tough situation but we support him and we'll do anything for him. It's one of those freak things, nobody touched him or anything like that, but these things happen. As a coach it's sickening because you watch a guy work so hard to prepare himself and then all of a sudden something like this happens out of the blue. It's just unfortunate.
Q: So is he going to be out the whole year?
Coach Jackson: There's a good chance that he will be out the whole year. Obviously, there are still things that need to be evaluated but it doesn't, at this point, sound very promising.
Q: So with your next man up philosophy, is it Sam [Williams] and then [Darryl] Blackstock?
Coach Jackson: Absolutely. As I keep telling you, I have to coach the players that are here. There's nothing I can do about it when someone is injured. I can hurt for them and I'll be disappointed for them, and I am. I'm disappointed for every injured player we have but at the end of the day, we have to go with the guys that are here and he knows that we are with him all the way because we truly believe in him. He's one of our young, gifted, talented players but we cannot, for some reason, find a way to keep this young man healthy and going.
Q: Is Kirk Morrison a possibility to come in?
Coach Jackson: Every name that's out there is a possibility at this particular point in time. If a guy can help the Raiders win the AFC West and continue towards our goals, then we are going to look at him. I don't think we are going to shy away from anybody if they can help us.
Q: Will you visit with [Lofa] Tatupu maybe?
Coach Jackson: You never know. Like I said, there are a bunch of names that we will sift through and make sure that we find the best player that will help us attain our goals.
Q: You talked yesterday about how you had your 'toys' back with McFadden and the others. What did you see from him today?
Coach Jackson: I saw the same thing I saw yesterday; explosion, ability to make plays. Those guys are space players, if you get those guys out there then look out, they can make a lot of things happen. They like it when it's tough too; I had to take Darren out of there. Darren was going to sneak in the huddle during [the goal line full contact session] and I said 'no, you're out.' Again, I want to be very cautious with him and make sure that he's totally back before I ask him to do any of that, but it's fun having those guys back, Jacoby and him, because they are great men and I enjoy being around them. They really uplift practice with their skill and their ability.
Q: Where are you with penalties, where do you think the team is going back to the first preseason game to now?
Coach Jackson: Well it improved last week but not in the sense of where they're happening now. You know last week they were in the scoring zone, I mean it took us of a chance to maybe convert whether it was a field goal or a touchdown so I am not happy about that. Was it less to what we have been having? Yes. Was that improvement? Yes, but it is still an Achilles heel and it is something that we will continue to work on. Obviously it has gotten better. It needs to continue to get better. We still have a couple of weeks to get this thing where I truly think it needs to be, but I think we have talked about it and emphasized it enough with officials with talks about it that I think our players understand that it is something that we have to control in order for us to have a chance to obtain our goal.