Head Coach Hue Jackson spoke to the media after practice. Photo by Tony Gonzales
Q: Some of those guys are still hurt. Is that an indication of if they will be out or do you have hope still?
Coach Jackson: After today, probably not. There are miracles that can still happen so we'll see. Again, there are still some decisions that still need to be made, but I will tell you guys that Chaz Schilens was full [participation] and Taiwan Jones was full. The rest is the same as it has been. I don't think we have to keep going into the injury thing because I'm going to learn how to do this without having to have this white piece of paper in my hand.
Q: Are you pretty happy with how healthy they are?
Coach Jackson: Oh yes. It's good to have the guys back practicing together and that is where it starts. You have to practice together in order to play together. The guys who are on this 53-man roster for the most part and we have some guys out, but we're pretty healthy and ready to play.
Q: Do you think starting the season at Mile High is great considering the recent success?
Coach Jackson: Oh yes, that is what they say. It is going to be a hostile environment for us but I think we're built for the challenge. We're a group that like it when it's tough, rough and I'm sure it will be.
Q: Do you think they will be coming after you given how it was last year?
Coach Jackson: I don't know because I can't speak for them. I can only speak for us but we're going there, it's the start of our season on Monday Night Football, and it's the Denver Broncos so we'll be ready to play.
Q: Lots of players on this roster have gone in there to Denver and won. How much of a help is that?
Coach Jackson: I think knowing the environment and that they have been there is probably the biggest help. As far as winning games, you have to play well. In order to beat teams in their own stadiums, you have to play well and that's the bottom line. There is no secret to what you have to do. You have to go play Raider football as well as we can and that is what we are looking forward to doing.
Q: After practice today, do you think they are ready?
Coach Jackson: I do. I think they're excited, I think they are a group of men who want to go out and compete, and all the things that I've been talking about in training camp since we started up until the fourth preseason game. These guys want to play, represent our fans right, Raider Nation, and that's what we intend to do.
Q: The AFC West has had a lot of nasty rivalries and now you are in one. How does your previous experience compare to the AFC West?
Coach Jackson: I mean, obviously, I've been in some really good ones but being here last year, I've been in these too. I know what they are like and going to Denver to play is a hostile environment. I understand this division, what everybody is trying to accomplish, and everybody wants to keep the Raiders where they have been. That is not the case anymore, so we're going to go play and we're excited about playing.
Q: Is there something rumbling inside your stomach?
Coach Jackson: In mine? No. I'm hungry right now [laughs]. But honestly, I don't. I'm looking forward to it and I haven't had a restless night yet. I can't tell you I won't have one on Sunday, but I haven't yet. My biggest thing is to do everything I can and crossing every "T" and dotting every "I" for this football team in making sure that we are prepared and that we understand what it takes to go on the road in a hostile environment to win a football game. I think that is what we are trying to accomplish.
Q: When you are going into a game, what are the things you look for to gauge if the guys are ready?
Coach Jackson: By the way they practice, the way the meetings go, and the way the young men conduct themselves as they get ready to get on the plane to go to Denver. I mean we talked about it with what you have to do to win on the road and what you have to do to prepare yourself to play. We talk about those things all the time and I think these guys understand that. They are grown men, but you have some guys who are rookies and don't understand yet what it is like to be a pro. I think that we know what it takes to go win football games.
Q: Do you have a group of veterans that you lean on to council the young men?
Coach Jackson: Yes, I do, and a lot of those guys are the guys that were elected captains. There's a core of another seven guys that I really depend on and this football team is all about them. I'm just a conductor and my job is to create the environment for these guys to be great. They have to do the work because they are playing the game and I think that they understand that now. The purpose of everything we do is about winning and it's not about anything else. That is what our reality with winning and losing; nothing else. We need to get this thing started the right way.
Q: Who is going to return punts?
Coach Jackson: [Laughs] Do I have to answer that tonight? No, I really don't. I think you guys have a pretty good idea? Tomorrow, I will tell you that without any hesitation.
Q: What about the receivers?
Coach Jackson: I will tell you that tomorrow without any hesitation. Who said all of a sudden that I omitted a name? I probably did forget, but we don't have a receiver issue. We know who the receivers are and they are pretty good ones.