Head Coach Hue Jackson during his Monday press conference. Photo by Tony Gonzales
Q: How are you doing?
Coach Jackson: I'm doing good. I'm disappointed that we didn't play as well as I think we can play. But again, as I said to you ladies and gentlemen last night, that was one game – that was one football game. We're a 4-3 football team, we've got nine more of these opportunities to go, we need to get better – I know that; I can see that. It's clear as anybody but I also know that in our locker room, there's some tremendous leadership, there's some really, really good football players, and I think they were disappointed too about yesterday. But, I think they understand what we need to do to get this train back on track.
Q: What would you to those that say that the week became too much about Carson [Palmer], whether or not he was going to play a football game and maybe you set that tone a little bit?
Coach Jackson: Well like I said yesterday, I respect how you guys feel and how you write it, but I didn't feel that way. I didn't think it was all about Carson and not getting ready for a football game. I think our team practiced as well as we've practiced all year this past week and we went to the game and didn't play that way. At the end of the day, great practice only gives you an opportunity. You've got to go to the game and play really well. So, I didn't sense or feel that last week was so much about Carson and if it was, it wasn't about me making it about Carson. I mean I think a lot of things were written about Carson Palmer. My deal was all about making sure we're getting ready to play Kansas City Chiefs, another division football team. Obviously, it didn't come out that way but I know exactly what the focus was.
Q: Given the health of the team and Carson's situation, is this an ideal time to have a bye?
Coach Jackson: Oh, there's no question. It gives us an opportunity to get a little healthier, to refresh this football team, gives Carson an opportunity to be around his teammates more. We're going to definitely have practice this week for a couple of days. I think you guys know the CBA mandates that our players get four consecutive days off and we'll give them that. We have to do that, but we'll make sure that we have a very good plan in place over these next couple days while we practice to make sure that we can bridge some gaps with him and his other offensive mates as we move forward.
Q: Talking to the players today, they're not treating this like a traditional bye week. There are no plans to go home. They're staying to put in the time. Do you like seeing that?
Coach Jackson: Absolutely, I do. Like I said – this team was very disappointed about the way we performed yesterday and obviously, especially offensively. I think those guys are wanting to get this thing right and again, that's the leadership of the team, that's the leadership of Carson talking to these players and Kyle [Boller]. I think the receivers and runners and all the skilled guys – I think they want to get this right and when you have that kind of influence as a player, the peers are pushing each other and, 'Come on guys. Let's go because we know we have a job to do.' I think that's what you look for.
Q: What is Carson allowed to do with those skilled guys during those off days? Can they do that here?
Coach Jackson: That's totally up to them. As long as no coaches are involved and we're not conducting it, I think our players can do whatever they deem necessary to do.
Q: Are they allowed to do it here?
Coach Jackson: I think they are.
Q: Can you like text them?
Coach Jackson: No [laughs]. No – trust me, we're not going to break any rules.
Q: No, I just want to know that the rules are…
Coach Jackson: I think you can have no contact with them, or texting, or skyping or any of that. That they truly have four consecutive days off away from us and we'll do that.
Q: Any updates on [Darren] McFadden or [Rolando] McClain?
Coach Jackson: We'll know more about them as we move forward. I think I told you guys yesterday that Darren had a mid-foot sprain and obviously, McClain had the ankle. So, we will definitely know more as we continue to move forward during the week but the great part is we have a chance to get them healthy because this is the bye week.
Q: Have you seen any signs from the rookies that this is a good time for them for the bye week? There's been the preseason games and now they're seven games into an NFL season. They're 11 games into it now…
Coach Jackson: No doubt. When I sat back last night and I think about where we were, I'm obviously disappointed by the loss but you think about training camp, no OTAs, how fast everything happened, you get into the season, you have preseason and now, we're in game seven. Like you said – especially for the young players, exactly where are they now? Looking at college games, they're closing out and getting ready for bowl season. Some of these guys are starting to exhale a little bit saying, 'Woah, here we go. We're just know getting ready.' I mean the real football team is going to really start playing here really soon and get better. I think this is a great time for some of these young guys because we are playing quite a few of them. There's some guys on this offense that are playing – [Stefen] Wisniewski, Denarius Moore, those guys are young players and they're playing quite a bit of football for us. So, we need to continue to monitor that so that those guys can finish the season strong.
Q: Has Denarius continued to ascend you think? His numbers have dropped a little off a little the last few weeks…
Coach Jackson: They have. I think that's a direct correlation to where we've been at quarterback lately. I think once we get more stability there; I think the whole offense has kind of dropped off the last couple of weeks but that's part of it too. Like I told you guys before, I'm not going to make any excuse about that. We need to get that better; that's my job, the offensive staff's job and we'll get better here really soon and really fast.
Q: How beneficial was it for Carson to get as much playing time as he got yesterday with 21 throws and being out there so long?
Coach Jackson: Obviously, I know everybody wonders, 'Woah, you put this guy in a game' and there was some good to that and there were also some moments where you go, 'Wow.' You've got to be very careful too because obviously, he hadn't played a lot of football. He also isn't going to have a preseason – an opportunity to get a fast look other than practice against a different opponent. So to get him in there and get to 21 throw, have him feel the rush, be able have him move around, be able to communicate with his teammates in a competitive environment against a different team is what you do in preseason football game. So that was kind of a preseason game for him because obviously, he hadn't played in a game in quite awhile. So, I think it was very beneficial and will serve us well as we continue to move forward.
Q: Coach, as a former quarterback yourself, you get in the huddle and those other 20 eyes have to believe in you. Do you see your team buying into Kyle if he has to come back in there and run the offense?
Coach Jackson: I think they will; there's no question in my mind. It was unfortunate some of the throws that I think when you see interceptions, the first thing you think is it's the quarterback all the way. But, I think it's more than one person and I think it's an offensive unit. It's not just Kyle Boller; sometimes, you've got to be in the right spot as a receiver, you've got to make sure you make the right block, it's a combination of things. Obviously, there is a throw or two he wishes he could have back, but overall when you look at it – you throw six interceptions, you're probably not going to win a football game. I mean I've never been a part of that; that was a new one for me and probably a new one for everybody.
Q: At the end of camp, it seemed that Trent [Edwards] had outplayed Kyle and I think that people were surprised that Kyle stayed. Was that Mr. Davis' decision?
Coach Jackson: No and what you just said, I don't agree with. I don't think that Trent outplayed Kyle. I think it was the other way around. We kept the best player based on what we were doing and if you look at the numbers, I think Kyle had played better then Trent.
Q: Going back to those rules and I know you can't call, can you say to Carson, 'Well if you happen to see the other guys, this is what I'd like you to work on the next four days'? Can you do that?
Coach Jackson: Well, we're going to practice for two days so whatever those things are, it'll just be a running deal from there. So, he'll take what we do over the next two days I'm sure, take those things and continue to work with through them with the players.
Q: When you watch the interceptions on film, did you think maybe your receivers could have done more to prevent them or are you happy with the job they did?
Coach Jackson: Well, I'm not going to say I'm disappointed. I just think it's a whole team effort. I think a lot of the blame goes to the quarterback when they throw them and I understand that, but I think also there has got to be sights and hots and things that happen on particular plays that you have to be on top of and some of those things broke down sometimes. So, we need to get better just as a passing unit and I think we will and I think we will really fast. I mean just a couple of weeks ago, we were one of the better offenses in this league and now all of a sudden, it's like the wheels fell off. No, the wheels didn't fall off. We didn't all of a sudden become dumb on offense and not know what we're doing. What we're doing is we're going through a transition period – that's what we're doing and we'll get through this really quickly. I feel verycomfortable, understand what needs to be done and we'll press those buttons and get them done.
Q:A lot of the interceptions and everything too can be with timing and a rhythm when you put a new guy in place and obviously the receiving corps knows what they're doing and the quarterback knows what they're doing. But, how realistic is it in building that chemistry? You have about a week you know to get everyone on the same page. What have your discussions been with Carson in just really knowing his guys?
Coach Jackson:Well I think obviously, he's not going to know them as well as he will six months from now or three months from now. I think we've got to speed the process up as fast as we can. I mean I think that's pretty obvious what needs to happen. How comfortable is he going to be? I can't tell you he's going to know them stone cold by the time we play Denver, but I think he'll have a very – he'll have a better grasp of what this guy can do and what that guy can do based on situations because he's going to have more practice time with those young men.
Q:Is Jason [Campbell] involved in kind of helping both -- you saw him on the sidelines yesterday talking to Kyle -- what is his interaction with the two guys as they're getting in the mix as well?
*Coach Jackson: *Jason is a part of this team still. I mean Jason is here, involved; I told him to come out on the field, come to the game. I mean I don't, like I said, as I told him and as I told anyone – Jason Campbell is the reason why we're 4-2. You know it's really unfortunate he got hurt. He was playing some really good football. Now that he's hurt, we had to, in my opinion, go do what was the next best thing for the football team and that's what we did in this organization and that's where we sit at today.
Q:You talked about some of your rookies. Stefen Wisinewski has made adjustments and he's also had quarterback changes. How well do you think he's played especially as a rookie?
Coach Jackson:I think he's done some really good things. I mean when we brought him in here because Samson Satele wasn't on the team. At the time, I thought he was going to be a center and he went to training camp and his most natural position has been a guard and he's done a tremendous job. Obviously, we had a hole in that position from losing Robert Gallery and he stepped right in there from probably the third week in training camp and has played really well thus far.
Q:Hue, you said from day one that you would do anything it took to improve this team. Could Terrell Owens improve this team right now?
Coach Jackson:[Laughs] Oh wow, boy that's a big name. I don't know that he's healthy yet, but I think anybody can improve the team but I think that we've got to improve the team from inside out first. I think now, we have some pieces and now we just got to go re-piece this thing. Like I said – just two weeks ago, we were in the top ten offensively in every category you could find and playing really well and not turning the ball over and sustaining drives and finishing drives. Now all of a sudden, we've kind of slowed and I understand why and I think you guys can see why. So, what we need to do is go right back to work and put our head down and grind and do the things that we know we need to do to become a really, really good football team. We're running the ball still really well. We need to get the passing game to match the running game and I think we can do that.
Q:Will you have anyone at his workout tomorrow? At Terrell's workout tomorrow will you guys have someone?
Coach Jackson:Honestly, I didn't even know he was working out tomorrow. Probably, I'm sure our scouts go and see everybody work out but I don't – I'm not actively chasing Terrell Owens, no.
Q:When you looked at the film what did you like about Carson? Obviously, he had some problems but were there things that you saw looking back at his game?
Coach Jackson:I saw a guy that has poise, had leadership and a guy who had no fear walking into a game that had been on the couch a week ago and going out andcompeting. He didn't blink. When I said to him 'Hey, Carson [Palmer] would you like to go in here and compete a little bit?,' he said 'Coach, are you kidding me, let's go.' The rest happened the way it did, very unfortunate. That was a tough deal for him to put him in that situation, but I know him and if there's any guy that can handle it, he could whether it went really good or whether it went really bad when obviously it went to the latter of the two. I don't see him looking today like, 'oh my gosh what have I got myself into?' He's like, 'when can I get these guys so we can get better and go to work so we can get this thing where we know it needs to be?' And that's what you're looking for. I think that's what playing that position is truly all about.
*Q: *What did you think when he gets hit in the knee on the very first play?
*Coach Jackson: *Oh my gosh, I took a sigh right there. I don't think that it was intentional. I don't think that the guy was trying to do that. I just think it happened that way and obviously there was a flag on the play.
*Q: *Defensively how did you think you played? I know you think it's a team game, that teams win or lose, but they gave up fourteen points and they did do some good things.
Coach Jackson:They did. I thought that they played hard. I thought our defensive players responded and played hard up until towards the end. I thought that we lost our composure a little bit. I mean, like you said, they gave up fourteen points. On offense, we gave them fourteen points; that's how they got 28. That's a tough days work for the defense. We kept them out there quite a bit because we weren't able to sustain drives or put points on the board. So I thought they did some good things, but we still need to keep improving too. Like you said, it is a team game. The first thing our guys will tell you is that they've got to find a way to shut them out because if they don't score they can't win. We still need to get better as a football team and we will.
*Q: *Coach, back to [Darren] McFadden for a second; was that an MRI on the foot and can you shed any light on if there's a long term concern?
Coach Jackson:No, like I said, I'll know more as we go forward. Obviously, we will have the foot looked at and make sure structurally that it's okay. I can't tell you today exactly what it is other than what I said yesterday -- it's a mid foot sprain and we'll take a great look at it as we go through this week, but I'm hoping to get him back soon. But I know one thing, one of my plans for him, was to get him some rest this week to get him back up and get him fresh because obviously when Darren [McFadden] is rolling he's one of the best backs in this league so we need to get him healthy.
*Q: *Coach, those first two plays of the game they go right to DVD [DeMarcus Van Dyke] and it seems like whoever was opposite Nnamdi [Asomugha] they'd go that way. Now it seems like who's ever opposite [Stanford] Routt they go that way; what do you tell those young guys that have a target on them?
Coach Jackson: Because it's coming. That's baptism into the National Football League when you play that position. I'm sure people picked on Stanford [Routt] when he was a rookie and Nnamdi [Asomugha] and anybody else. Until you earn that right of playing a position and you make plays, people are going to continue to do that. He's on the hot corner right now; he's got to make those plays.
Q:Besides the interception, he came up physically and hit a couple of guys as soon as they caught the ball, didn't let them get by. Was that his best game and does he have a hold on that starting position now when Chris [Johnson] and Chimdi [Chekwa] come back; do they have to beat him out?
Coach Jackson:Well we'll see because we've got to get them back first. You know once we get those guys back then we'll kind of make that decision. But I think he's improving and I think he can still get better. I mean, obviously, he had a huge interception, made some plays on the running game, but the consistency is probably the right word for him. A young player playing in this league for 65, 70 plays in a game, there's probably five or six plays that he takes a breath and goes 'oh my gosh.' That's what the pros do; they're able to sustain that high level of play for all those particular plays and that's where he needs to get to and he'll get there.
*Q: *Expect [Sebastian] Janikowski back for Denver?
Coach Jackson:I do. Obviously I'm going to work with the doctor on that but I think he'll be closer to being ready by the time we get there.
*Q: *What about [Marcel] Reece?
Coach Jackson:I think Marcel is very close to being back out at practice and playing in games.
*Q: *Hue, after the Buffalo game, was a tough loss and there had been a little finger pointing, you seemed to be able to get the team right back into the grove; do you need to do any of that kind of work after this loss or is the locker room okay?
Coach Jackson:You guys have been in the locker room so I don't think you guys have seen any of the finger pointing or guys being after each other. We didn't play good and I think our players understand that and I think we understand what the expectation is here. We expect to win and we didn't and we understand why. You don't play good you don't win, you don't coach good you don't win. So, we look at ourselves first. We're not going to put it on anyone else. I mean Kansas City won. They did a good job; we didn't do a very good job, but we also know that we've got work to do and we know that Denver's coming in here a week from this Sunday and we've got to be ready to play and we will be.