Coach Jackson speaks to the media after practice. Photo by Tony Gonzales.
Coach Jackson: Hey, how is everybody doing? You guys see that I am a little happier today right? Just a little bit, just a little bit, and that's the fun part. The fun part about today as you guys know obviously the CBA was ratified so we got an opportunity to get a lot of our players back out there on the field and that was exciting. These guys are chomping at the bit to get out there and practice, but I had to take some of these guys just because I still don't know where they are physically. Over those days we could not work them out physically while they were here and they were standing around, but I have a huge concern because I wasn't with these guys when they were working out off campus or anything that they did to prepare themselves. So some guys were mad at me today, and that's ok because I didn't want to put them out there until I know for sure that they are able to go. Again my number one goal is to protect our football team as much as I can and sometimes you can't. That is just the nature of football, but I have to do a great job at making sure we get all of our guys out here on this field, participating in practice, practicing as well as they can. But it was a good day.
Q: In this case when you have a lot of guys out like this for a week or so, will you throttle back at all?
Coach Jackson: No, because when you say throttle back, I am never going to throttle back on our intensity of our practice. We might cut plays if that is what you mean. We will do that, obviously to make sure that we are still efficient and getting done what we need to get done but there is no substitute for competing and the intensity in practice. That is the way that this game is played and they are never going to apologize for that.
Q: Trent Edwards?
Coach Jackson: Trent looks good. First start, threw one up there and the other team got it; didn't like that very much but he did some good stuff. I mean again, he hasn't been with us for a long time. I mean, here he goes first pass, he throws for a huge completion, another pass another completion. It is good to see him, he is about what I thought he was; he is a very bright young man with a big arm, very into football, loves the game, so I am glad he is here.
Q: You had about fifteen guys that were free agents that got back into the mix today, but it's still fifteen guys that have nicks with maybe not serious injuries but have still been out; do you think you are ever going to come to a point in this camp where you are going to have just about everybody out there?
Coach Jackson: Oh yeah, no I don't think so. I think it's going to be some point in time. I mean this is what training camp has been. Truly this is the nature of training camp, you start getting guys nicked and guys are out for a day or two. And guys start to come back and my number one goal as I told you guys the other day is when we get ready to play Denver our team is ready to play. Obviously we need to practice and all that. I think all that is going to take care of itself. We are in this process. It is a different process. I think our players understand it, our coaches understand it, our organization understands it, and we are just working right through it. I think our guys are responding and doing a tremendous job. Obviously these things, the little bumps and bruises are going to happen. We are going to get them healthy. We have a great medical staff and then on we go.
Q: Is Darren's just a minor injury?
Coach Jackson: No, no, Darren's is not. Darren has a little small fracture in his orbit so he will be out a couple of weeks. It's interesting because last year he was out a couple of weeks and it was his hamstring so just little things here and there and he will be fine and we will get him back out there and keep on rolling.
Q: Does that make it more important to get Michael Bush in as soon as you can?
Coach Jackson: Well Michael is going to be here at some point and I truly believe that. Obviously we'd love to have him here today; he wasn't. I think that is going to get resolved real soon but we'd love to have him out here. He is one of the backs on this team that has played well. We have some other guys that are battling hard but all I can really be concerned about is the guys that are here practicing. Do we want Michael Bush back here? Yes, and I know he will be back here as soon as he can, but the guys that are here now are practicing their tails off and that is all we can do.
Q: Have you talked to Michael (Bush)?
Coach Jackson: Yes I have.
Q: Do you have any indication on that?
Coach Jackson: Yes I do, but I can't tell you that. I can't tell you that, but I am very comfortable that at some point in time, Michael will be here with us.
Q: You have worn so many hats here since you have got here. Now you're doing a lot of stuff in the community as the head coach. Having all the different stuff going on the field with running the offense and involved in the defense; I am curious when it comes to tomorrow's salary cap compliance; are you at all involved in any of that?
Coach Jackson:No I am not involved. I am going to leave that one alone. All I am going to do is coach this team and get this team to be as best as it can be. My job is to do whatever I am asked to do as the head coach of this football team and I'd like to do everything I can to help. Sometimes I don't want to become a problem. I want to make sure I am doing things that can help and I appreciate all of the things that I have been allowed to do. I take those with a lot of responsibility and a lot of pride. And hopefully my number one goal is to get this team, this organization, playing the way I know we can and get back to playing Raider football the way I know we can.
Q: The highlight of the day was the Denarius Moore touchdown catch; another great practice for him and despite being a fifth round pick he seems to have that desire to catch the football. Can you talk about that a little bit?
Coach Jackson: I'm not going to use the word you guys keep writing that I use all the time; I'm going to have to come up with a new one, I don't want to say that "W" word. So what I'm going to say is "oh boy"; the young man can make some plays, can't he! Oh my gosh, is he something; he's fun to watch, just every day there's something. The ball goes up, he comes down with it, makes a play. He is a tremendous talent. As I told you, the game's not too big for him; he has that factor of making plays. There's no fear in the young man, I'm glad he's on our team. And again, look at Chaz Schilens there too; what a tremendous catch over the middle of the field. I think those guys are getting better and once we get them all back out there, get them all back out and playing together, I think we've got a pretty good group.
Q: Why do you think a guy like Moore lasted until the fifth round?
Coach Jackson: I don't know, I'm just glad he was there when we picked. He's with us now, so I couldn't tell you why he lasted but I'm glad he's ours.
Q: With McFadden, was it on that big block with Groves, is that when he got hurt?
Coach Jackson: I don't know; you know me, I don't know if that really happened right then and there, I just know that that's what he has and we're going to get this young man healthy and get him back out here.
Q: At one point in time it looked like you had three tight ends in the lineup at the same time; are you doing tight end by committee right now?
Coach Jackson: No, that's one of our sets, that's one of our formation sets.
Q: You've got so many tight ends in camp right now; is this just a real weeding out process?
Coach Jackson: Well, we're evaluating every player that's here, no question; we are trying to find out what guys can do in our system. The fun part about what we do, myself and Al [Saunders], with our offensive staff, we try to do everything we can to put our players in a position to have success. We have some very talented young players; Richard Gordon is doing a heck of a job. The kid Ausberry is a tremendous talent. Even Kevin Brock who's been around a little bit, never had an opportunity to play, guys are playing well. And then obviously Brandon Myers who has played. So we do have a bunch of guys and what I'm trying to do is everyday find out what are their strengths, what are their weaknesses so that I can accentuate the strengths and then leave the weaknesses alone, let them be what they can be. Guys are working hard; we're just going to keep pushing, those guys are going to keep grinding.
Q: Kevin Boss still an option; what'd you think about his workout yesterday?
Coach Jackson: He did a good job; everybody's an option until they decide what they're going to do. We'll see how that unfolds; nothing's happened today. And again, as I told you, we're going to continue to search to always put good players on this team and continue to do so and I know that's what we're attempting to do.
Q: Looks like Campbell tweaked a groin?
Coach Jackson: He was just running around out there, he's fine, there's nothing wrong with Jason. Obviously guys are running in the heat, running a little bit more, just tightened up a little bit. He'll be fine; he'll be back out here throwing the ball tomorrow.
Q: You have the refs out here; is there anything that you're asking them to harp on?
Coach Jackson: Yes, throw the flag! Throw the flag; I don't care what it is. We were the most penalized team in football; we've got to get that solved. Today wasn't a good day that way; we still have some things that we have to correct. I'm going to lean on our players; I'm leaning on our coaches. It's an emphasis for this football team. Again, we don't play until next Thursday, a week from today, right. So it's something that we've got to continue to harp on. I know the officials are going to be here and we're going to keep grinding on them about it; we're going to get that solved.
Q: Is it mostly the pre-snap things that drive you nuts?
Coach Jackson: Everything drives me nuts.
Q: Even plays of aggression where a guys going for it?
Coach Jackson: That's going to happen and I want our team to be aggressive; I'm not going to take their aggressiveness away, that's what this sport is. But we've got to be intelligent, we need to be a very intelligent football team and that's something we talk about. To me that's pre-snap things, before the ball is snapped, and there's even some after the snap issues that we've got to make sure that we take care of. But they understand we're not where we need to be yet, but we don't need to be there yet, but we're going to continue to work at it.
Q: Have you pretty much decided how much your projected number one guys are going to play or is that still to be determined?
Coach Jackson: No, that's still to be determined because we're finally getting them all out here to see where they are physically, see how guys are just from a mental standpoint of being here, being in the system, going out to practice. It's all the things you have to do now in training camp. So those things will be determined as we continue to move forward.
Q: There are so many reports out there of guys that are restructuring their deals or being asked to do that. How close are you guys to getting in the salary cap?
Coach Jackson: There's a time, right; is it today or tomorrow? Tomorrow? We'll be there. That's the number one thing; when it's all said and done I know our organization, when they it's time for us to be in compliance, we'll be in compliance.
Q: The offensive line looks a little patchwork, and you've always stressed that you need to have a great line; what do you think about the O-line right now?
Coach Jackson: I think they're working their tails off. I think Bob Wylie and Steve Wisniewski are doing a tremendous job. Again, we just got guys back today. So that's going to take a little time to gel and I understand that. I've been doing this long enough to know that's going to take a little time but that's okay because we have some very willing young men up there that are working hard. That was a group of guys that I had to hold back and they were pulling on my pants and screaming at me, "please let me in," because they want to compete, and we'll get them in there when the time is right.
Q: Are Mitchell, Murphy, and McClain all minor things?
Coach Jackson: Absolutely.
Q: Everyone's talking about the cap; has it blocked you at all in terms of what you've wanted to do this past week? Has it been a factor as far as getting things done?
Coach Jackson: I don't think so. I think we get done what we feel we need to get done. I think Coach does a tremendous job with all of that, again, that we have good players. We have good players on this team. And we'll continue to put good players on this team and he knows that cap as well as anybody in this league.