Head Coach Hue Jackson. Photo by Tony Gonzales
Coach Jackson: I'm very tired, but happy – but very happy because again, there's nothing like winning. Tremendous day for the Raiders yesterday – tough day, but a good day. We'll continue to work; we've got one more big week coming up against one of our division rivals, the Kansas City Chiefs, here at home in the O and again, I hope we have the same turnout that we had yesterday for our football team. I keep telling everybody – the time is now. This team is working hard and making plays and getting better. We just need to continue to cross the T's and dot the I's and stay focused. Obviously, like I said, it's a big game this week. I mean this is a huge game towards taking another step to where we're trying to go.
Q: Jason's [Campbell] hurt. Is he going to have surgery today?
Coach Jackson: Jason's going to have surgery at some point in time here today. I think he's heading to get that done. Very unfortunate; you lose your quarterback, one of the leaders of your team, for a little while and it's tough because the guy worked so hard in the offseason preparing himself and spending so much time with his teammates. But as I said, that's the nature of this game. I think the players – when they play it, they understand that. None of us like it; I don't like it, but again, we're not going to worry about it. This team is going to win and we're going to put a quarterback back there that can play, play well for us, and I'm very excited about where we need to go. Disappointed that I don't have our starting quarterback, but very excited about what the future can hold.
Q: I caught Jason when he was coming out of the parking lot and he said that he was optimistic that hopefully if all goes well, maybe six weeks. But from your standpoint, you must not be thinking about IR at this point. You're just going to go along and see how this thing goes…
Coach Jackson: Well, you never know. I'm going to weigh every – my job is to make sure that I put this team in position to win. As I tell everybody, as I tell our team and our players – we're trying to win now. We're not trying to win six weeks from now, we're not trying to win four weeks from now, we're trying to win this week. It's a week-to-week thing and everything I can do to help this football team win, that's my job. I have great respect, like I said, for our players but I've got to look at the big picture of it all and I haven't sat down and done that yet. I got a very good text from Jason letting me know exactly what he was doing and obviously like I said, Jason is very near and dear to me. Very unfortunate what happened but when I look at it all, I'll come to a conclusion here with the other people that I trust in this organization and make the best decision for us.
Q: You look at quarterbacks that are out there. Are you looking at two different kinds like potential starters and potential backups?
Coach Jackson: I think you just kind of rattle all the trees and see everything that's out there, you know, what best fits us. It's hard at this particular point in time where we are six games into the season, heading to a seventh. You want to find somebody you're familiar with, somebody that kind of knows your system, knows you, knows Al [Saunders]; you've got to have somebody that can kind of hit the ground running whether the guy can start or whether the guy can be a backup because if not, it's going to take him two or three weeks or four weeks to get ingrained in the system and then you're falling behind. So, every move that I try to make for this team is to put good or better on this team because I think that's what you have to do to keep the performance level where it needs to be. I'm not interested in putting just anybody on this team. If somebody is not going to help us, I don't think we need him. I just think we need to continue to get better in every area if we can.
Q: How much does the trading deadline influence your actions?
Coach Jackson: It's a factor; there's no question. There's no question it's a factor because it's over tomorrow. Whatever is going to happen is going to happen pretty quickly or nothing is going to happen, but we're working around the clock. We're going to shake the trees just like everybody else. Just like I told you guys back at training camp; anything and everything that we can do to get this team better, that's what we're going to do and that's what we're in the process of doing.
Q: Coach, it's the hardest position to replace obviously. I mean we've kind of seen over the years the Raiders team's psyche go with whoever that leader is. How hard is it for you to get a guy that everyone else is going to believe in?
Coach Jackson: It's hard, but again, that's why you go through these processes of finding out, trying to find the right guy that's the best guy for you and the best guy for your team and this is truly about the team; it's not really about me. Those guys play and it's got to be somebody that they like and respect and can follow if that's what we decide to do. Not anything against Kyle [Boller] – I think Kyle, when I look at the tape, did a wonderful job yesterday. He missed some throws; there's no question but for a guy who that doesn't take any reps to go in there and play like he did and compete, I think he did a tremendous job. So, I've just got to make sure – again; my goal, my job is to make sure we're as good as we can be and that what I'm going to do.
Q: Do you think that it's feasible that you could bring somebody in today or tomorrow and that person could start on Sunday or is Kyle pretty much the guy?
Coach Jackson: I'm not going to say he is, I'm not going to say he isn't. I mean you've just got to keep doing it. Right now, he's our starting quarterback and I feel good about Kyle; very good. That's why he's here. I know Kyle, I know what Kyle is, and what he's capable of doing. But again, we're chasing a championship here and if that's the commitment I've made to the organization, then I've got to do everything to make sure that we're putting championship players out there. Again, like I said, not to say that Kyle's not. I've got to make sure that there's not somebody out there who can come best fit us that may give us an opportunity and if it doesn't work, it doesn't work and on we go. But, I think anybody in my situation – that's what they would do. Obviously, there's got to be another arm added to this team just because we're down one now. So, we'll continue to move forward and make sure we get something down here.
Q: How much of a different is Kyle from Jason? Obviously, he was a second-stringer to Jason for a reason…
Coach Jackson: Kyle is a tremendous competitor just like Jason is. Kyle's a gym rat. I mean he's here from morning to night and we works at it, he studies at it, that's why he's here – he's a pro. Obviously, he's a first round draft pick, he can throw it with the best of them, but obviously when you look at his career, he hasn't had the wins per say that match the draft pick – that's what people would say. I'm very comfortable with him because I know what he is and what he's capable of doing, so we have a very good comfort level with each other and that's why we've been around each other. So, I know that we can put an offense around Kyle Boller and continue to win but what I have to do – again when you're in these situations, you're looking to be as good as you can be and if I can put somebody else on this team that's going to make us better, then that's what I have to do.
Q: What's held Kyle back in your mind?
Coach Jackson: I can't speak - I was in Baltimore with him a little bit, but I think the expectation of when you get drafted as a first-round draft pick as a quarterback, it's hard. As I said before, this league in my opinion for quarterbacks is set up to bring you to your knees. I think it's tough. You have to have the right surrounding cast with you, whether it be the offensive linemen, receivers, running backs, whatever that is and somebody who runs a system that's quarterback friendly. I'm not saying that that wasn't necessarily the case, but if you look back to the things and where he's been, that was a very good defensive football team in Baltimore. When he was in St. Louis, that wasn't the 'greatest show on turf' at that time. It was a little different back then, so he's been in some tough situations in my opinion but he's always persevered and he's still here and he's still fighting.
Q:Did you alter your play calling at all yesterday with Kyle? Or did you just keep the same game plan?
Coach Jackson:Oh yeah, I changed it. I mean what you do with Kyle is not what you do with Jason. Jason takes 98 percent of the snaps and so you have to make sure you dial it back and give Kyle a chance to make the throws that he can make, which he did. I mean the guy was 8-14 and we know that there was three of four passes he should have hit and I think he knows that. That's way I say he needs to settle his feet a little bit and he would've had a monster day had we hit a couple of those. But, he'll get better. With practice time and reps, he'll come out there slinging. One thing I know about him – he isn't afraid to throw it. He's going to throw it and it's going to go somewhere I promise you that [laughs].
Q:Does this mean you are going to accelerate Terrelle [Pryor] or are you going to keep him on the same plan as far as bringing him along?
*Coach Jackson: *Well, I am going to bring him along. But also if there's something where he can help this football team, then I'm not opposed to doing that neither. I've had the young man for a week; really, truly a week and a day but trust me he's chomping at the bit too. It's like any competitive quarterback – they see opportunity. He was texting me last night 'Coach I'm ready.' I'm sure he is in his mind and that's a good thing. That's the way you want your quarterback to be. You want him to think like that and feel like that, so we'll find something for him to do because he is a talented athlete and he's going to play quarterback and he has skill. But again he hasn't had a lot of reps in our system because we're in the season now so he spends a lot of time on the scout team. So now we'll step him up a little bit and give him a little bit more and see where he is.
Q:Did you make a roster move today to accommodate Terrelle?
Coach Jackson:Yes we did. We let Joe Porter go.
Q:The offensive line seems to have gelled this season, do you feel that way and does it also help the process with the quarterback situation?
Coach Jackson:Yes it does. I think the line has really done a good job. Coach [Bob] Wiley and Steve Wisniewski have done a tremendous job of coaching the line. I think those guys are like a group, a little family all on their own. They close the door and go to work and when they come out you'd be surprised about how well that groups played. It's been a malign group in the past but it's a group that I think has worked to earn the respect of their teammates and the people they play. Yeah, you get a quarterback you feel very comfortable and confident with that you can put someone back there where they'll be comfortable whether they need to throw it or if we need to run it. I can lean on those guys a little bit, we have a very good running game here and we know how to run the ball. So I think this is the place to be if you're a quarterback out there and you want to come play for the Raiders, give us a call.
Q:Coach, with only two active quarterbacks this season, did you actually give Shane [Lechler] some QB reps at all?
*Coach Jackson: *No Shane is kind of unique that way. A year ago when I was the coordinator I would make him come down and take snaps all the time just to prepare him and he's very good at that. He takes a lot of pride in that so a couple of times in training camp we had him do that. I know Shane and I'm very comfortable with him and he knows how to take snaps, call plays, and obviously he knows how to throw the ball. Was that a pretty spiral or what? That guy is 1-1; he is 1.000 percent. But he is a tremendous asset for us but obviously he's our third quarterback right now and I'm sure he likes to get in there and hand off a ball or two but hopefully we don't get to that point.
*Q: *I'm sure you're aware of the situation of the two coaches in Detroit, I'm sure you saw it on TV. I just wonder as a member of that fraternity did you cringe or say 'Hey that's just the way it is'?
*Coach Jackson: *Oh did I ever. I probably did a little bit of both because sometimes I know people get emotional. There are some new coaches that have come in this league that got a lot of fire and a lot of spunk about them I guess you would say and they get a little excited and sometimes I think some of the older guys want to kind of keep us a little quiet over there. I have so much respect for both of those coaches. Both Jims do a great job with their own teams and sometimes things just escalate a little bit and you wish it didn't happen but I can see the personalities headed that way. Jim's doing a tremendous job with SF and Jim's doing a great job with Detroit and I think that sometimes things happen and I think neither one of them wanted that to happen. It kind of gets like that sometimes but I'm sure any coach is going to get that tape and learn from it. I'm going to make sure I don't touch anybody on the back I promise you that.
*Q: *Back to the game, on the 4th and one…
*Coach Jackson: *I know I slept on it last night. Let me tell everyone that's on me. Were any of you guys betting or something? There's a bunch of people mad at me when I was eating last night saying 'why didn't you kick,' well what do you mean why didn't I kick, I decided not to. Were you betting on the game or something? Yes there is no question about it if we kicked a field goal the game would've been over you wouldn't be asking me this right now, but if we made a touchdown you wouldn't be saying this either. Again, I have a lot of confidence in my players and I told you one of these times I'm going to get bit and I almost got bit. You learn from it and I didn't sleep last night and I'm tired right now. And that's part of it.
Q: What I was asking is do you ever go back and second guess yourself or did you make that call and it's over with?
Coach Jackson: Yes, I made it but I still always go back and replay it. I've got to be a little bit smarter at that next time. Truth be told I do. Sometimes you believe in your players a little too much. Sometimes good coaching is a little more important then making a decision about your players at times and that time I probably should've kicked that ball but I didn't. I live with that, not our player, that's on me and I always tell them that. I made that choice and not them and I learn from it and get better from it. Luckily it did not cost us. I know everybody wants to tell me oh boy this is what you should've done and how you should've done it but I did what I did and that's what I did. I felt very comfortable with it but I didn't know the ball was coming back at us 96 yards. I had no idea they were going to get the onside kick. Trust me, my heart was starting to drop every tick that was going off that clock, but obviously the defense got it done.
*Q: *Hindsight is 20-20, if you had it to do all over again, would you have kicked it?
*Coach Jackson: *Probably not. Knowing me probably not.
*Q: *Coach, how do you keep your players from switching off because about three minutes left half the crowd was gone, they thought it was a victory and then they get that touchdown and they get the onside kick, how do you make sure that your players play that full 60 minutes?
*Coach Jackson: *I think we played the full sixty. What you thought we played forty-eight or fifty-seven or what'd you think we played?
*Q: *As far as keeping them on board because it kind of felt like this is done, we've won.
*Coach Jackson: *I didn't get that sense that our players felt that, I feel like if anything I think the 4th and one took a little wind out of us. I think when we didn't make it, I think everyone knew we were going to just put that ball right in the end zone or get that first down and when we didn't that led to a little bit of despair. Maybe for a little bit the guys got a little comfortable and was like 'dang.' I think that is what it was more than anything. I don't think anybody just relaxed and said 'oh man we're going to take it off here.' I didn't get that feeling. I just think that Cleveland was desperate and they started to make some plays and that's the way football is and that's why if you leave people around you give them the opportunity. We need to finish and probably on that 4th we could have finished one way or the other whether we made it or we kicked it.
Q: Usually with the Raiders and with Michael Bush, you guys normally pick up those short yardage situations. What happened on that fourth and one?
Coach Jackson: They stopped us. It's just as simple as that. They stopped us; truth be told, that's what it was. They got it done and we didn't. They wanted it a little bit more than us at that point in the game and again, I need to do a better job in making sure that we want it a little bit more than them. Hey, we called a fourth and one at the thirty-yard line if I'm not mistaken and we made it on their side of the field and went and got it. So, I'm in the mode of we're going make this. We're on their side of the field, we're going to put this thing away and we're going to get it done. They got it done and we didn't; that's it.
Q: Can you go back to the decision to fake the field goal. How deep was that looked in to or was it just quick?
Coach Jackson: No. If you talk to John Fassel, I'm trying to fake every one. Every time we go out there, I'm trying to fake it and he will be looking at me like there is something wrong with me. I'm like, 'John, let's call them.' If we're going to practice it and it's on our sheet, we're calling it. That's just the way I am. I keep telling you guys that we want to have fun around here and to me, that's fun. Our players love it and trust me – it's not a fly by the seat of your pants thought mentality. That's not what it is. It's well thought out – you have to do something in order for us to execute it. You have to give us a look in order for us to execute it, so it's not like we're going out there blind and just okay, let's just do it and see what happens. So, we had called it two or three times and they didn't line up the right way and Lord behold – they lined up right the one time we needed it most and we were able to get it done.
Q: So it's a decision at the line of scrimmage?
Coach Jackson: Yes. Again, the special teams coach does a great job. I call it, I give it to John, John gives it to the guy who is the up-back, and the up-back reads the defense and makes a decision as to what to do and that's how we go about it.
Q: After watching the film, what is your impression of [Aaron] Curry?
Coach Jackson: I like him. He's, as I said, everything I thought he would be. The guy practiced one day and went in there and made some plays, ran around, and looked fast. He put his hat on people, got his hands on people; I think he is everything I thought he was. I'm looking forward to him having a full week of practice with his teammates. He will continue to get better. With that being said, how about Quentin Groves? I mean Groves went and did some great things on special teams and that's how you become a team and that's what we're trying to build here. We're trying to build the best football team and sometimes, roles change and that's what I tell players all the time. This is what you do and maybe next time, this is what you might have to do. Whatever it takes for us to win football games, that's what we're going to do.
Q: How do you think Rolando [McClain] did yesterday? It seemed like he was showing up…
Coach Jackson: He was showing up. Let me tell you something – that guy played really good in my opinion. He went in there and obviously, we know he hadn't been the healthiest right now but you wouldn't know that. He went out, competed and made plays and I was excited for him because he got some things done yesterday that I think he needed to get done. I think he's growing, getting better, and I think he will continue to get better.
Q: Going back to the process you continue to mention, the team streaks together back-to-back wins for the first time this season. What does that mean to you and where this team is heading?
Coach Jackson: That they listen. I think we talked about win one, lose one and how we need to get that stopped and that was a message that was sent this week. That's not the type of team that is going to represent the AFC West. That's what you do; you can't win one, lose one or win one here, and lose two, and do that. That's not what we're trying to become and I think our players understand that. That if we're going to really challenge for this thing, we've got to string some things together and not because of who we're playing but because the time is now. Because now, we're into this season pretty well and we know who we're playing and who we're facing, and we had some tough games earlier; there is no doubt about it. But now, it's time to really start playing Raider football the way we know we can. Whether it's pretty or whether it's ugly, find a way to win and that's what we're doing.
Q: There is a frequency of bringing extra pressure besides your four linemen the last two games. Is that something that is specific to the opponent or is that sort of a change in style?
Coach Jackson: I think that is pretty specific to our players. I think the things we do are going to put these young men in position to have success. We have some tremendous blitzers – Michael Huff can come off the edge. I mean did you guys see him jump over a guy early in the game? Oh my gosh! Tyvon Branch; I mean these guys can come and so again, kudos to Chuck [Bresnahan] and the defensive staff. We're putting guys in position to do what they do really well and I think we're getting better at it. We're not where we want to be yet. My challenge has been to the defense is to get the run stopped and I told you guys we would and we're getting better at that. We're still not where I wanted us to be but we're getting better at it and we will keep working at it and we will keep grinding on it. But, I think this team is improving in those areas and that's what I look for as a head coach – make sure we keep making strides in the areas that we talk about.
Q: [Matt] Giordano is a guy who was pretty much a Tampa-two safety his whole career. He never had a sack in his life, but you saw something in him when he was practicing?
Coach Jackson: He's got one now! Absolutely. He has quickness and suddenness and he is smart. He is very smart, he times things up, and he hit that A-gap and timed it perfectly, and made a heck of a play.
Q: For lack of a better term, who do you answer to on football personnel type decisions now?
Coach Jackson: Like I said, I'm not going to do this alone. I talk to Mark [Davis], I talk to Amy [Trask]; I mean those are my two people that I spend a lot of time talking to because they have been here and they are people who I know the most and I pray. I pray hard to try to make the right decision, I ask for guidance and wisdom because we all need to - because we're trying to win and it's the way it is. But no, those people are very important to this process and I'm not doing anything without Mark Davis and I'm not doing anything without Amy Trask knowing.
Q: Is there anybody outside the organization that you bounce ideas off of?
Coach Jackson: I can't bounce things off those guys. They will start telling my secrets, so I can't do that. They will start telling on me, they will start telling you guys, and you guys would be writing them. So no, I really don't. I mean we really try to keep everything in here pretty close to the vest because I think that's the way it should be. You know I think what we're trying to do is something every team is trying to do. So, I think there is a blueprint on how to do it and I think we're working our blueprint.
Q: The guys who were hurt last week. Who is close to coming back this week? Marcel Reece…
Coach Jackson: Close.
Q: Matt Shaughnessy?
Coach Jackson: Close. Well you know what, I shouldn't say close. That could be a little ways away.
Q: If Kyle should go down this week, would you put Shane in? Would you put Terrelle in?
Coach Jackson: I might have to go in the game [laughs]. I might run in the locker room, jump out of my uniform, and go. No, that's a good question, I mean this week is early; a lot of things can happen between now and Wednesday's practice. So there is a good chance. Obviously right now if something happens to Kyle, Terrelle Pryor goes in the game and plays and Shane would back him up.