Coach Jackson speaks to the media after practice. Photo by Tony Gonzales.
Q: Darrius (Heyward-Bey) out there today, he was in the session for the first time, he did some things; how do you think he looked though?
Coach Jackson: He looked like a guy who is getting ready. He did some good things, caught some balls, getting back in the swing of it, and it is good to have him back out there. Another pair of veteran legs and he looked good. I mean I was glad to see the production. The quarterbacks are back in rhythm with him and obviously that is the most important. Just getting the chemistry back with the quarterbacks needs to happen. He is back out there going and we are glad he is there.
Q: You think he will play?
Coach Jackson: I sure think so. I hope so, I mean if he is out there catching and running. Again, we will go back in and make sure exactly what it is that we are dealing with and make sure he is fine. We plan on putting every healthy body out their Thursday night that we can.
Q: Is tomorrow the day to see how he did after he played?
Coach Jackson: Absolutely, you want to go through and then just to see where the player is the next day especially when they are coming off of something. I don't anticipate anything. I think we have been very cautious with him to make sure that he is back healthy and what we have seen out there is a player that is ready to go.
Q: What about Derek Hagan; he is a guy that has been around. He has made some plays that showed out here today. Is there a place for or out here for him?
Coach Jackson: Hey, if you're a good football player and you can make plays for us we will try to find a place to for you. Obviously there is a group of young men that are fighting for jobs. We have some established guys there and some guys that have played, but as I told you I am trying to uplift the whole performance of this team. I want our guys to know and understand that it is about performance. The more you perform, the better you perform, the more opportunity you are going to get.
Q: How about (Louis) Murphy? It has been five days now, is it still minor?
Coach Jackson: Yeah, I think it is minor. As you guys can see I am being very overly cautious, especially with that position, because they do so much running. They do so much running, cutting. There is a lot that goes on at that receiving position. So I am going to take it day by day with these guys, make sure they are where they are and see where they are. Again I want to put healthy football players out there because the timing and rhythm of our offense and being with the quarterback. You can't do it halfway; you have to be able to do it full speed or we shouldn't put you out there.
Q: How is the battle for starting center going out there?
Coach Jackson: It's going great. It is as good as it can be. Again, I know there has been a comment that I made a long time ago at the draft, but as I told you at that time we really didn't have a center on our football team. Now we brought Sammy (Satele) back and we are going to give him an opportunity. Whatever happens on Thursday night doesn't mean that that is the way it goes. That is the way we are starting and we all know we have to start some place with a football team, but when it is all said and done when we get ready to play Denver that is when I am concerned about putting the best football team out there. Now do we need five guys as we move forward that is going to play together, be together, and that is going to learn to work with each other; no question. Thursday night is our first dress rehearsal and however we start that game doesn't mean that is how we will go for the regular season.
Q: You have some very established players. How much do you think those guys will be playing?
Coach Jackson: We have some guys that are fairly established. I mean I haven't determined yet exactly how much they are going to play. Whatever that is, again I am going to be very cautious with our football team. There are some things I want to see from them and they know exactly what it is I am looking for; the tempo, the attitude of how they play, the speed we play with. That is what I am looking to get out of our football team on Thursday night. Obviously we want to get a win and obviously if they are keeping score than I want to get a win because I like to win. That is just the way it is. Our team is going to go out there and play the way we are suppose to play as Raiders and keep building on that.
Q: There is no one on this roster at this time, like San Diego use to do with LaDanian Tomlinson, "we're not playing him at all during preseason."
Coach Jackson: I don't have a guy like that at this point. We have some guys that are injured right now so maybe I would consider doing that, but they're injured so they are out anyway so I am not going to worry about them. I am more worried about the guys that are playing so we will stick them out there. I mean it is a game and our fans are coming to the game so we will stick them out there and I think our fans want to see these players and they want to see them. I think these players want to see another team. I think they are tired of lining up against each other and that is what pro football is all about. You get a chance to go have a little test against another team for a little bit and then keep on going.
Q: So you will play (Richard) Seymour?
Coach Jackson: We will play, if there is a guy on our roster than we will play him. How much we will play him; I will determine that as we go.
Q: Hue, first year as a head coach, how do you prepare for a pre-season game? Has a lot changed in the class room or you just go out and do what you do?
Coach Jackson: Somewhat. I'll say a little bit of both; you kind of go out and do what you do, but also if it is a scheme adjustment for us we need to make sure that we understand that. I want to give our team the best opportunity to have success. We are not just walking out there to play, we are walking out there with a purpose. I want our guys to get use to when we step out on the field between the lines we are playing to win. I know that everybody is trying to be evaluate. Some people use it for evaluation and I do too, we all do, but it is also a thing about winning and I want us to understand that. And when we walk out there, we are evaluating with the purpose of winning a game.
Q: After all this with what happened in the offseason, how important is it to open the pre-season at home?
Coach Jackson: It is very important. I mean it is good to know your environment and where you are going to be, how to get to the stadium, how to do certain things and then be comfortable and go out among your fans and play football. I thank the scheduling for what they did. We are playing at home and we're not traveling quite a bit in the pre-season anyway. I think the furthest we go is Seattle and that is not too bad. So we are very excited about our preseason schedule.
Q: So you guys walk through here Wednesday, there is no walk-through of any kind at the stadium?
Coach Jackson: No, there is no walk-through at the stadium. Everything we do will be here before we get there.
Q: The first time this staff will be all mic'ed up, has to be the first time…..
Coach Jackson: Absolutely this will be the first time that we are going to talk it, walk it, play it, do it, and the whole nine yards, but I think we are going to be well prepared.
Q: Rod (Woodson) is going to be a guy going through that for the first time; can you even prepare a coach for what it is like?
Coach Jackson: No you can't because I went through it myself. Nobody prepared me. They said, "Hey we have a game. Get in there put your clothes on and lets go to work." That is kind of what I told him and he will hear all the stories I am sure from these defensive coordinators. Sometimes I want guys to fight through it and learn. Players have to go to the game and understand how to get there, how to be on time, how to put that uniform on. Don't worry about nerves, don't worry about playing time and go out there and play. When we have some young coaches that is the same way and we will create an environment for them and talk to them a little bit, but you can't prepare anybody for that. You have to go through it and I went through it. I am kind of laughing about it now that you said it. I am looking for the guys to go through it a little bit, it will be fun.
Q: It is still a little early, but how is his adjustment to being a coach?
Coach Jackson: Who Rod?
Coach Jackson: Man it has been seamless to me. He is a coach. He is coach Rod Woodson on this football team and I am so lucky to have him. He is doing a great job with those defensive backs. I see our guys making more attempts and making more plays on the ball, seeing the ball thrown, attempting to make plays down the field when the ball is in the air. We have improved in that area and that is the truth to him and Kevin Ross. They have done a great job back there with those guys.
Q: Kevin Boss, your first impression?
Coach Jackson: Tall, long, just throw it up there and he can catch it. He is learning our system. I think he is getting more comfortable. Every day I see him getting a little bit better and that is good for us. I think he works at it which he does really well and the better he is going to get. He is going to be an asset to our football team. He can catch, he can block. I think he likes the things that we're doing with him as we move forward we'll add more to his plate as we get to see him perform in a game.
Q: Will Al Saunders be in the booth or on the field?
Coach Jackson: He'll be in the booth. He'll be my eyes upstairs, I'll be on the field, I'll talk to the quarterback, and we'll get it done.
Q: And Chuck will be on the field also?
Coach Jackson: Chuck will be on the field also.
Q: Does Rod Woodson's playing experience give him more credibility when he's coaching players?
Coach Jackson: Rod's such an articulate man, such a strong character, I think everybody knows what he was as a football player. But I know that what he is as a man is what I'm trying to get our players to understand. That he's a first-class gentleman and obviously a first-class football player. So you combine those two with what we're trying to accomplish here at that position, a position that he not only played, but played and played well, played as well as anybody there is, him and Willie Brown. Obviously that gives you instant credibility when you talk to guys about what to do, how to do it, and why you need to do it this way.
Q: Does he seem to be real patient? I know sometimes when you've played at the level he did and you're faced with guys that don't get it as fast as he did and don't catch on as fast as he did and have trouble?
Coach Jackson: Well I don't think so. The reason why Rod (Woodson) is here is because he is an unbelievable teacher, but number two I can't have sixteen people that are like me. I am kind of a personality and to me he balances me because he has great poise. You know he doesn't react as fast and he kind of thinks it through. I think that is a great balance for our staff and I think that is a great trait to have as a defensive back. Obviously you have to let a play go if you have a bad play and he knows how to do that too, but the other thing he has is that fire but it comes out when it needs to come out. I am just like that twenty-four, seven. So he kind of balances me out and I have certain guys that are able to keep me in check per say and I'm able to get them to go the other way and that to me is the great quality to have on the staff where everybody is not the same. Everybody has some different personalities and Rod (Woodson) is one of those guys.
Q: Coach this will be the first time managing the clock and having your hand on that red flag, have you thought about that?
Coach Jackson: Oh baby, yes I have thought about it all. It kept me up the other night and I didn't go to sleep one of these nights because I was thinking about the red flag. I was thinking about telling them when to kick the field goal. Or telling them when to punt. I have thought about all of those things but I have also have been thinking about those things about five years now. So I have played that game in my mind I am looking forward to it. Not saying that there will not be any bumps in the road but I think I have a great staff to lean on. I think the guys that I am putting in the press box are quality coaches that know exactly what it is that we need to do and the guys that are on the field I think will help me also. But I am looking forward to it. Bring it on and let's do it.
Q: You don't have one guy that is with you all the time and reminding you about the clock and the situation?
Coach Jackson: Yeah, Tommy Jones. I mean he practically eats and sleeps around me and I trust him twenty-four, seven. He is my assistant and he's really into football and he likes coaching. He likes all the things that come with football and I have gotten to know him over the last six months and I trust him. He is going to be right there for me, but obviously as I said I have some really good veteran coaches that I can lean on too that I think will be with me every step of the way.
Q: How much do you and Chuck Bresenhan lean on each other as far as this is what the defense wants to do as far as trying to stop your offense and vice versa?
Coach Jackson: A ton. I mean this is a team sport and if I can show them something that I think will help them on defense he has been open to it. Chuck is amazing that way and our whole staff is. On offense if there is something that he sees that will help us we are open to it. That is why it is a team sport. The best team is going to win games and the team that doesn't want to take advice to me that is how you lose games so we are in this together. We are all pulling on the same rope. We all lean on each other to get things done.
Q: Anything new on Bruce Campbell or Taiwan Jones?
Coach Jackson: No nothing new today. Once I leave here I will find out more, but I think there status is still as it is. I mean again not until a guy is totally healthy will I stick them out there but I think those players are getting closer. To have an opportunity to get back, will it be this week? I don't know if it is it is, but we will get them back as fast as we can.