Head Coach Hue Jackson
Coach Jackson: Obviously, we didn't say Denarius Moore was out so that's improvement. Get one of these guys back for sure, so you feel very comfortable with that. Team practiced hard. They've had three real good days of practice but as you guys know, it's got to manifest itself in the way you play the game. So, our guys are ready to go. We're excited; we're very excited about our fans, our crowd, Raider Nation. I mean, they've done a great job selling out the stadium once again even when we've stumbled for the last two weeks and I appreciate that. I mean that's something to be said about that. We're building something here as I keep telling you and we've got to do our part, and I think our players understand that, and our coaches understand that and we need to get it done. So, we're looking forward to playing. It's a huge football game for this team. As I told our guys, I think what's important is what's on the other side of this. What potentially could be on the other side of this and in order to understand that, you've got to go win and understand what potentially can be on the other side. So that's what this is truly all about, so we're looking forward to playing.
Q: Have you gone through any periods at all over the last couple of weeks where you've wondered, 'Man, am I getting through?' or do you know you're getting through?
Coach Jackson: I know I'm getting through. There's no question but sometimes just like anything else, you hit a block and you go, 'What is this?' And you see it and you kind of have an idea of why it is. This team's been through a lot but as you guys know, I don't take them off the hook and I won't take them off the hook whether it'd be emotional, injuries or anything. I mean and they understand this and I can say this now – our guys need to play, and they need to play well and they're expected to play well. What's gone on here is past stuff and some of it rears its ugly heads sometimes, and you've got to do everything you can to cut it off. That's what we're doing and that's what they're doing too. So it's a credit to the locker room, it's a credit to the veteran players because they understand what has happened here in the past and they've had these kind of opportunities and we've kind of let them slip through our fingers. If you looked at the last two weeks, people will say that's what happened but I think without any struggle, there'd be no progress. So, you've got to struggle before you can get there and I think our guys are working at it, I think they understand it. Now it's there, now you've got to go do it. Talking about it doesn't mean anything. I can talk all I want, they can talk all they want but at some point in time, you've got to line up and play football the way we know how to play it consistently over four quarters and win a game.
Q: In a couple of games this year, the Lions have overcome tremendous deficits. If you get a lead in this game, how do you guard against letting them come back and get back in the game?
Coach Jackson: We keep playing, I mean, we keep playing as hard and as well as we can play. We've been through some of those games too where we've gotten ahead and all of sudden, here comes a team roaring back and we've been able to fend some teams off. This is a very talented team. We need to play well. We're due to play extremely well for four quarters and that's what I'm looking forward to. We need to get off to a fast start offensively and defensively and we need to maintain it for 60 minutes, and play as hard and as well as we can play.
Q: The guys that are questionable – who do you think has the best shot of playing Sunday?
Coach Jackson: Again, I don't know. Yeah again, I'm not going to do the percentage, maybe, think about it. I think there are some guys that have a chance. If they're out there, once they tell me that they can play, then I'm going to be, 'Hooray, let's go.' But until then, I'm not going to worry about it. I'm going to worry about the guys that can play.
Q: Now you gave designations whether they were out. Did you say if [Michael] Huff practiced? Did Huff practice at all? Did [John] Henderson?
Coach Jackson: No, I didn't say any of that. I just said 'Did Not Participate,' 'Questionable' and 'Probable.'
Q: Hue, you've said all along one guy is not going to make or break this team. But Denarius is potentially playing, but how much does that open possibilities?
Coach Jackson: Well, I think it helps because obviously he's a playmaker. He knows how to make plays and can make plays, so it gives you another weapon that you haven't had at your disposal and so he's very dynamic with what he does. It helps, but by no stretch of imagination is he going to be the key to winning game by himself.
Q: So you're going to let him return punts?
Coach Jackson: I don't know that. He wasn't back there today. Again, we've got to ease him back into this but he looked like he's back up and rolling. So potentially, he could be back there at some point in time, but right now, I haven't – we haven't, myself and John Fassel, haven't made that decision to stick him back there.
Q: Are Jacoby [Ford] and Darren [McFadden] actually here?
Coach Jackson: Yeah, they're here. Oh yeah, they're both here in Alameda right down inside. They just run from you guys, that's all.
Q: First season as a head coach, how are you approaching this stretch run with so much to play for?
Coach Jackson: Hey, with a bunch of energy, a lot of passion and determination, and unflinching resolve. We're going to find a way to get this thing done. I mean that's what it's all about. To have this opportunity, like I said, as a coaching staff and as an organization and as a team, we've got to understand that the time is now and you've got to go out and grab it because we do have a legitimate shot at this thing. So, we're not going to let this thing fall. If it does fall through our fingers, it's because we didn't play well – plain and simple. It won't be because of anything else that anybody else did. It's us and we understand that.
Q: Do you try to keep a consistent level of the way that you coach during the course of the year? I mean you'll hear some coaches; they'll say that when things are at their worst, you almost have to show even less. You don't want to look like you're flying off the handle because the team will reflect that. Do you try to get even more calm when coming off two games like that to sort of inspire confidence or do you just act the same way you've acted every week of the season?
Coach Jackson: Well, I think you can't be inconsistent with your team. You can't be too high one minute, too low the next minute. I think I've been what I am and I think the players understand that and appreciate that. I'm not going to change much. They understand when they need a good tongue lashing, I give it to them and sometimes you have to put your arm around them. But the bottom line is, at the end of the day, it's whatever it takes to win and we haven't won the last two games so it's been a mixture of both this week, whatever it's taken. But, I really enjoy coaching this football team. I get very disappointed in some things that we do because I think there's still an opportunity for this team to be all that it can be but at the end of the day, we've earned the record we've earned, we've got three more opportunities out in front of us and it's a big one this weekend. We're looking forward to playing.
Q: As far as the penalties go, you think the players still in the back of their minds are thinking the league is kind of anti-Al Davis or I think there is still anti-Raiders thing. Is that something you fight against?
Coach Jackson: No, you do fight against it because I think that's what's been embedded here for a long time. We're going to change that. As I told you guys, it might take until week 16 but we're still fighting it and we will continue to. I'm not going to make any excuses that that problem is still here. We've got to fix it, our players understand it. It's not like we don't address it. That's the thing that's very disappointed when you work as hard as we do with officials and you address it out at practice and it still persists, then I think that's when coaches and people start saying, 'Well, what really is going on?' and there are some things that have happened that have been unfair. There's no question, but also, there are some things that are fair and there are some things we've got to get better at, and take ownership of, and get better at and we have to do our part. In order for everybody else to do their part, we have to do our part first and I think that's the way you have to approach it.