Head Coach Hue Jackson spoke to the media on Monday afternoon. Photo by Tony Gonzales
Q: What did you see defensively on the field?
Coach Jackson: I've seen a defensive football team that has to continue to get better. We've got to tackle better, pay attention to detail a little bit better. As I said yesterday, we didn't get it done. We still got some work to do and we'll keep working at it.
Q: What did you see as the issues regarding tackling and how do you work on that?
Coach Jackson: You work on it that one day you get to wear pads; you just make an emphasis. It's like anything else – if you want to get something fixed, you've got to work at it and we plan on doing that. We'll have a – you know, we're not going to do too much different. We're just going to make a huge emphasis to make sure we get around the ball.
Q: Is having that one day an issue?
Coach Jackson: Not going to make that an excuse. No.
Q: So the injuries – you said that [Richard] Gordon had the hand…
Coach Jackson: Yeah, Gordon broke his hand and Michael Bush had an ankle. We'll continue – I mean obviously, he came back in and played, Gordon did. So, we'll just continue to monitor it as we go through this week – him, Bush and the rest of the crew and just kind of go from there.
Q: So Gordon isn't necessarily out?
Coach Jackson: I don't think so. I mean he came back and played. You know he had that big cast on his hand, his hand was wrapped up pretty good, and he came back in and kept playing. So, we'll go from there.
Q: Does it help him that he's doing a lot of fullback things where we doesn't really need to catch the ball?
Coach Jackson: Yeah, I think so. It will allow him to continue to play and continue to contribute to this team.
Q: What about Marcel [Reece] this week? Do you think you'll get him back?
Coach Jackson: I think there's a chance. I mean obviously, we're not out on the field today but I mean, he's walking around pretty good and looks good. So, once we get these guys back out there on Wednesday, I'll have a more clear picture of who is going to be there.
Q: Did you consider putting [Stanford] Routt on [Wes] Welker more often? He was only on him for a few times. Did you ever consider having him follow him around?
Coach Jackson: No, not really. I mean we needed to, we could have; that wasn't the issue. Sometimes when you are fixing one problem, another problem leaks. You spring another leak someplace else, so I don't think that necessarily is it. Like I said, I think Wes is a really good player; I think Tom [Brady] is a really good player, they did a good job and executed better than we did.
Q: Is there something to be gained from playing a team that exhibited that much balance against you this week? I mean, going into an opponent that's also shown a lot of balance and also has the run-pass mix that you're going to see…
Coach Jackson: Every opportunity we get to go play, there's experience to be gained. We are a 2-2 football team, we're .500, and we're going back on the road to Houston. As you said, they're a very balanced football team. They run it, they throw it and we've just seen that this past week. I don't think Houston is going to make any bones about what they do. They're going to run the ball, they're very good at it, and the quarterback's a very good player and they're very good at receiver, so again, another tall task. Bottom line – we just have to go execute and play Raider football in order to get this job done.
Q: You talk about the process out there. So where, after Sunday's game, is the team in that process and what was your message to the players last night and then today while watching film?
Coach Jackson: That we're a .500 football team and that we can get better and we will get better. As I told them, it starts with me and it kind of trickles down. But, I have an expectation for this football team, for this organization, and I'm not going to back off of that. We're going to get this thing right and I think they felt my message just as they did the last time when we came up short. We're going to go out there and we're going to go to work on Wednesday and we're going to fix this thing; I guarantee you that. It's not where I want it to be and not where I have any doubt in my mind that we can't fix it; we're going to fix it and we have just the men to do it. What we have to do is go out there and do it and do it consistently play-in and play-out. There are flashes of brilliance on this football team, whether it be offense, defense or special teams and then all of a sudden, things don't go the way we want them to so what we have to do is become a very consistent football team and I think we can and I think we will.
Q: Expectation wise Hue – where are you guys right now at the quarter point of the season, as far as what you expected at this point?
Coach Jackson: Oh, I expected to be 4-0; I really did. I'm not going to back off of that and we're not. We're 2-2 so I'm disappointed, but not discouraged because I know what's in the locker room. I've said this before – I have to keep coaching and keep teaching and keep pushing and keep grinding on these players and these players have to keep responding and they've responded every time I've asked them to. Maybe not as fast as I want them to, maybe not as fast as everybody wants them to, but I know the message is there and it's clear. I think they know what needs to happen and I trust them that they will get it done. We have a great group of leaders in that room and I call on them and I call on the rest of our football team and our coaching staff. I mean, we're not backing down from what the expectation is here by no stretch of the imagination; it's not going to change. We're going to win the AFC West, we're going to do everything we can to get in the playoffs and go challenge for a Super Bowl – I am not backing down from that.
Q: You prefer to never find out how a team reacts after a loss. Yesterday, if anybody was complaining about the officials, I didn't hear it. If anybody was pointing fingers, I didn't see it. There was a little bit of that after the Buffalo game that you addressed. Do you think that message obviously got through?
Coach Jackson: We keep talking about a process. Everything's a process and we're going to do things here the right way. We lost; we can't undo that. We lost to a team that was better than us yesterday and they won. Hopefully, we'll see them down the road somewhere. But, I still believe that we have to do things the right way, be it off the field or on the field to get to where we want to go. We've got a lot of work to do and I think we know that, I don't think we run from that, we run to it and our players are disappointed too. They wanted to be better than the first quarter this season; second quarter, as we all it, the second quarter of this season because the preseason was the first quarter and we're in the second quarter of the season. We wanted to be better than 2-2, better than .500, but that's where we are so we've got to take it. So, now we head to the third quarter of this season and we've got some work to do and get done.
Q: What do you think about the fact that the first and third games, you got great pressure on the quarterback. The second and fourth games, not a lot of pressure on the quarterback – how do you solve that?
Coach Jackson: You just go back to work. Obviously, the New England team did a good job again. They blocked us pretty well, the ball got out, but there are some things we can do better too. Again, that's that attention to detail thing that I'm talking about from everybody. Sometimes it only takes one person for things not to look right, be it offensively, defensively or special teams – not 10, sometimes just one. One guy that maybe missed something just a little bit that can make it look like everybody doesn't understand what's going on, so we've just got to make sure that we tighten up those loose ends – just make it a little bit tighter around here and we will.
Q: You mentioned getting better being the key ingredient here. As far as the run defense, they've given up a few big plays there. What would you say specifically are the areas that lent to that and you do need to get better at?
Coach Jackson: Well, you just said it; you said a few big plays. As an offensive coach, that's what I want you to say because that's all it takes. I'm not looking – every play is not going to go for 30 or 40 yards; all I need is a couple of big plays and all of a sudden we've rushed the ball for however many yards. So, that's what I'm trying to make sure we all understand as a defensive football team and as an offensive football team. You want the defensive coordinator to say, 'Well hey, we played good for 60 snaps but there was about six snaps where if we would have did that better, we wouldn't have given up a lot of yards.' Well, I love that. I'll take that any day, just like on offense. Well, we had four or five runs for 40-plus yards; it all plays hand in hand. What we've got to do is play really consistent – very relentless with a lot of energy and passion every down from the first snap to the last snap. That's what we need to become and that's a process and I'd be the first to tell you that. I want it to be faster than what it is, but I'll tell you this much – I think our players understand what it's going to take. By no means like I said, am I discouraged; I'm disappointed. I don't like losing. I don't like losing at home in front of you guys, in front of our fans, in front of anyone. I just don't like losing; it doesn't sit well with me so I don't like it and so in order to fix it, you have to do something about it and we will.
Q: Up until just before halftime, [Jason] Campbell was moving really well. He was getting out of trouble, he was making quick decisions, he was just cutting it loose. Do you think that after the interception, he changed? That he lost a little confidence? Those things kind of got off kilter for him, or do you think he shook that off?
Coach Jackson: I think he shook it off. That's not the first interception Jason has thrown. Just very bad timing, wish we had that one back, but I don't think so. Jason is a pro. He has been at this for awhile, it didn't come up aces for him the other day, he's going to live to fight another day, and he will learn from that experience too and we will keep growing as far as scoring in the scoring zone. When we went into the game, we were one of the best teams in football in scoring in the scoring zone scoring touchdowns. If we do what were supposed to do, maybe that's a different game, but we didn't so like I said, kudos to New England. They got it done, we didn't.
Q: Does having a tight end like [Kevin] Boss get downfield for you help open things up in the passing game?
Coach Jackson: Again, he is another weapon for us. He did some good things and hopefully, it will ease a little pressure here and there off some of the other guys. But, we've just got to continue to put this offense together, keep putting these young men in position to make plays when they can. His number was called yesterday and he made them. Jacoby's [Ford] was called one time, he made it. Darrius Heyward-Bey made some plays – Darren McFadden, we need to continue to grow this group of very talented, skilled young men so that we can become a consistent unit at all times.
Q: Along those lines, following up with what you saw from DHB yesterday… He really just seems to be asserting himself in those plays and it seems like the confidence and the chemistry with Jason is showing up there. What are you seeing?
Coach Jackson: Yeah, I see the same things. I don't know if it's confidence, I think those guys have always had that. I just think now, the number is being called. There is tremendous amount of trust among that whole group because now we're heading into week five now. There has been a preseason and training camp, so I think now everybody is getting comfortable; you kind of know your role. Now, everybody is doing their job to the best of their ability and he has done a good job. Darrius Heyward-Bey made some plays yesterday. There are some plays he wished he had back but he made some plays also, and so did Jason.
Q: Where is Rolando McClain as far as being a defensive playmaker? Not only just a leader out there as the quarterback of the defense but as being a defensive playmaker…
Coach Jackson: I think he has grown. He has a lot of responsibility, he's making calls, and doing all the things middle linebackers do. He is really an extension of the defensive coordinator. He has to make sure that we get everybody on the same page. On top of that, go be the type of player we all know he can be and again, it goes back to that consistency. That's what I'm talking about everywhere, whether it be at quarterback, middle linebacker, the line, the D-line, everybody. We've just got to become a very consistent football team but I think he is doing fine. We all wish he made more plays – every player wishes they made more plays; you want to go home feeling like you were the player of the game. We need to turn it up. You guys really want to know my message to them today? We need to take it to another level. Everybody – coaches, players, everybody. We want to take this thing to another level because we need to and we will.
Q:As a coach, are you searching for new ideas and ways to solve the penalty problem?
Coach Jackson: Yes I am. There is no question and I mean it is what it is. What I mean by that is those penalties that were called were called and like I told you, I'm not going to sit up here and tell you this one was a bad one, this one was a good one; that doesn't matter, they called them. I think we're addressing it. We have officials at practice, we pay attention to it; sometimes, people are human. Sometimes, there are calls that you say, 'Well, which one was that one? Where did that come from?' and sometimes, there are calls that are dead on. But, I'm not going to ever let our team or myself get into what this one should be this, this one should be that. We're going to continue to work at it, we're going to get better at it. The offense had two penalties and one we can fix like that – the illegal substitution penalty and the other one was just a young man in Jared Veldheer, making a block and he got his head inches in front. To me, that's going to happen. The other ones on defense – the offsides, lining up offsides, we can fix that. That's disappointing; we can fix that, that's easy and solvable. The one with Richard [Seymour], they called it and the one they didn't call on Jacoby, they picked up the flag. So, I don't know how to undo that other than just get really, really good, become a really good football team and not have that be an issue.
Q: How are you attacking challenges head on and getting back to the consistency of winning?
Coach Jackson: We're not going to run from the opportunity to get better and when you say consistency – because that's what I'm talking about across the board. Coaches, players, everybody and I think that's going to be the match of this week. We have got to become consistent in everything that we do when it comes to the details and then we've got to finish them and I think what we really need to really concentrate on is playing like a Raider. The thing we keep talking about week-in and week-out and we're close, but we're not there and what I have got to do as a head coach is keep driving that point home. You get what you emphasize and that's what we're going to continue to emphasize, and we will get better at it.
Q: Arian Foster ran for 150 against Pittsburgh and had a big game against you last year. What challenges do you face?
Coach Jackson: He is one of the best runners in football. We have just seen one of the best receiver-quarterback combinations this past week. This week is going to be one of the best runners in football with a quarterback that is really, really good. So I mean in the NFL, you don't get any windbreaks. You don't get to take a blow – it's on to the next one and the next one is always very challenging. So he is very good, tough, big, athletic, and he's very agile for a big guy. He can do it all – he can catch and he runs with it, so again, he presents a great challenge. But, I have never seen one man beat 11; that's for sure. So, it goes back to the same thing; consistency of our guys playing on one heartbeat for 60 minutes, which will give us a chance to get done what we need to get done.