Head Coach Hue Jackson. Photo by Tony Gonzales
Q: What did you see in the film as why you gave so many yards rushing?
Coach Jackson: Uh oh. I think we got out of some gaps, didn't play assignment football as I thought last night so I think that changed as far as I'm concerned. There was a play that we had really worked on and I think we didn't handle it right. It's a little bit different formation than what we've seen, but we kind of understood the play. One time, a guy just kind of got caught in a different gap. One time, a guy took a different gap and I think you know when you're trying to play assignment football – if you don't take the right gap, you could open up a massive hole. So a couple of times, those things did happen.
Q: Were there problems specific to the zone read game they were doing or are those things that need to be worked on no matter what kind of offense?
Coach Jackson: I just think they need to be worked on no matter what. It's not like we hadn't seen the play. Like I said, we practiced it but we weren't able to get it stopped. We did not get it stopped yesterday in the second half.
Q: Was it a bit surprising when you were practicing it for two weeks and to see it in a game? Was it a bit alarming?* *
Coach Jackson: Yeah it was because – and I think when the players watched it, I think that was their concern too. When you look at it, the first thing you say is, 'Are you in the right defense?' Number two – 'Do the players understand the defense?' And number three – 'Have you practiced it?' When you can answer all those, then you can go, 'What happened?' Then, that's when the player has to stand up and say, 'Okay, we didn't get it done.' At the end of the day, that's how it works.
Q: You talked a lot about how you were going to solve the penalties, solve the run defense. This game yesterday is probably as bad as it's been from that aspect. How do you explain that?
Coach Jackson: I didn't solve it. I mean just what you just said. I'm not going to give up on it. We've had flashes of playing the run better and we have. Yesterday wasn't a good day in the run game and yesterday wasn't a good day in the penalty game. I'm not going to back off of it. We're still going to get it solved because I think it's the key to us continuing to win football games. I think the two areas you just mentioned were two big reasons why we didn't win. We didn't get the run slowed down and we had way too many penalties at costly times.
Q: You've obviously had refs in during the season during practice. What else can you do?
Coach Jackson: I think you've got to continue to do that, number one. But number two, I think you've got to continue to harp to the leaders of this football team. I think very confident teams don't make those kinds of mistakes in key times and I think our players understand. I don't think anybody is going out there trying to do anything to hurt the football team. I just think in the heat of battle, what we've got to do – there's a good decision and there's a bad decision. We've got a guy that's running out of bounds, he's clearly out of bounds, it's third down and 20. Boy, you're not sure where he is. Maybe you just understanding he is about to go out of bounds; just pull off. I just think that's where we are and those are the things that we have to continue harp on – myself to the coaches, the coaches to players, and get better at it.
Q: You talk about the good decision versus bad decision on those penalties. Is there going to be a bigger circumstance or effect if there's a bad decision?
Coach Jackson: As I said to you, you've got two choices. You can't fine him, you sit him down – that's it. You sit the player down. Right now, we're not the healthiest of football teams so I'm sitting them down to play who, you know? So you've just got to be smart. I think if our team is what I know they are, which they want to win. Yesterday, 15 was kind of uncharacteristic. We had gotten it down to seven and eight and that type of thing – 15 was a lot. So again, I'm going to just continue to make it an emphasis to our football team that we've got to do better and I think we will.
Q: Hue – again this season, you mention the penalties. Some of us have been around here 25-35 years. That was the Raiders reputation. They also had so much talent, they could get away with it, but you, and the coaches who preceded you, have talk about the penalties, talked about the penalties, yet it just seems it never changes. Penalties end up costing you games because of an extra 15 yards or something. Do you think there is something ingrained here?
Coach Jackson: No, I don't. I think because I hear the players making it an emphasis. Sometimes, it's not the players that are getting the penalties; sometimes it is the players getting the penalties. Like I said, sometimes things are just unfortunate. I mean we do understand and recognize that penalties are going to happen, but 15 is an alarming rate and the rate that we're on right now is not good for our football team. It's not good for the rest of our season, so I respect everything you're saying. I'm not going to back down from it. I know it's something that's going to continue to be addressed. As I said to you guys, it might be game 16 when it's fixed – I don't know. But, I know I'm not going to back down from it and we're going to keep working at it. We're going to keep talking about it and keep moving forward on it.
Q: You mentioned players having if it gets out of hand, maybe they have to sit and address it that way. This past weekend, were some players forced to sit? Was there something with DHB [Darrius Heyward-Bey] and Kevin Boss?
Coach Jackson: Oh, no. Not because of penalties.
Q: No, not because of penalties but for other reasons?
Coach Jackson: No, they didn't sit for reasons. We had different personnel groups that we played in and sometimes when you play in different personnel groups, everybody is not up in that group. We played in a three wide package sometimes; we played in a four wide package sometimes. I mean some guys didn't play as much as they're used to; some guys didn't play much at all and sometimes that's the flow of the game. So, it's not any reflection towards Kevin Boss or Darrius Heyward-Bey. It's just sometimes those are the circumstances that happen when you have players at those positions. I don't think the tight end position was on the field quite a bit anyway yesterday. We had more three wide receiver sets on the field more than anything.
Q: Do you feel the changing the different packages and stuff that you do offensively – do you think the players are having a difficult time getting into a rhythm knowing they're going to get enough opportunity?
Coach Jackson: I don't think so. I don't think so. I mean I think the player who doesn't understand the game plan may feel that way, but I think personally all of our players do. Do I think some players walked out of here yesterday feeling that they could have made more of a difference in the game? Probably so. I mean when you lose, everybody has a reason why you lost. But when you look at it, that's not why we lost. We lost because of penalties, we lost because we didn't do a good enough job of taking care of the ball and we didn't stop the run. It wasn't any other reason. I think if you take those three factors and you look at those, that's the reason why the game got lost. Like I said, a competitive player – everybody wants to play and everybody thinks that can effect the game in a certain way. We made a decision to do what we did on offense to give our players and give the quarterback the best opportunity to have success and I think we were off to a roaring start as we got going, but we didn't finish it the way I know we can.
Q: You're obviously past the point that, 'I've had enough when it comes to penalties.' As a coach, are you close to reaching your boiling point?
Coach Jackson: [Laughs] Well, I probably reached it a long time ago. But, you have to stay the course. I'm not one to just lose it, lose it because I don't think you can. This is a football team that you lead. I think what you've got to do is keep pushing, stay to the grind, stay consistent, don't relent and eventually it will come your way. I have faith that way. It hasn't yet; I'll be the first to tell you that. It hasn't but if we stay after it and just keep pushing on it that we'll get it better.
Q:It's a short turnaround, but are you and the players eager to get back out on the field to kind of make good for Sunday?
Coach Jackson:I think so, I'm very eager and I think they are too. I think we know what's at stake. You know, again, we're still in first place I mean we're tied with two other teams in this division just like we were before we played last weeks game. We had the opportunity to do something about it yesterday and we didn't. So the stakes get higher and higher each opportunity you get and here we go again. Now, it's the Chargers in San Diego and we got to get ready to play.
Q:What about Carson's [Palmer] interceptions? Do you tribute any of them to the lay off and him still getting caught up or are these decisions that he needs to make better on the field?
Coach Jackson:I think it's a combination of him understanding players. You know sometimes you have trust in a guy and you think a guy can make a play but maybe you're not sure he can yet, and two just playing, again continuing to play. Like I said, it's something we've got to address. He knows it, we've talked about it and we're going to do a better job at taking care of the ball. I mean that's our - that's the key to our championship; we've got to take care of the football.
Q:Coach how much are you involved with the defensive scheming? Is that Chuck [Bresnahan] all to himself, does he check in with you at half time or how does that work?
Coach Jackson:No, I know exactly what's going on. Chuck talks to me, we talk to each other; matter of fact we talked to each other during the week, this past week, we talked about how we we're going to try to defend [Tim] Tebow. You know so, I'm very comfortable with what they were trying to accomplish and trying to do. I had no problem with the scheme or the direction we were heading in. That wasn't a problem at all, it's the execution of it. You know we got to finish it, whether it's making sure that every T and I is crossed and everybody is in their gap and everybody is playing their responsibility. That's what we have to make sure happens.
Q:Is there any chance that you maybe tried to do a little too much coming out of the bye week and that – boy, we have this extra time we're going to go no huddle, or were going to throw this position group at them and that position group at them, and running guys on and off as opposed to maybe playing a Denver team that you could of ran [Michael] Bush at them twenty-five times and done a little less?
Coach Jackson:Well, let me say this to you, I don't think that if we lined up in two backs and a tight end and two wide receivers that Bush could have ran for 99 yards. I think getting their nickel people on the field and taking Von Miller and Elvis Dumervil and having them line up on our tackles consistently is what gave Bush an opportunity to run for the amount of yards that he ran for. I mean I think he averaged six yards a carry. So I don't think that was it that we're trying to do too much. I think what we we're trying to do was generate more offense. I think, two weeks ago against Kansas City we hadn't basically no offense, no opportunities to score. So, I was very excited about the potential of where we're headed, as long as we can execute at a higher level all the pieces will start to fit. I mean guys will start back to making plays, guys will get opportunities with the ball but when it's the first shot out and all of a sudden the guy doesn't get it the first thing everybody wants to do is go, 'Oh gosh what happened to this guy?' Nothing's happened, those guys are still there and we'll build as I've always told you, I'll continue to build an offense around who are best players are. But you have to - this is a process as I said. We're in game number one of a new process and I think I can see very clearly now what's there to work with, how we have to do it to be successful, to move the football and then you keep growing from there.
Q:What happened on the punt return? Seemed like you had some new guys out there probably because of injuries and how much of a factor was that?
Coach Jackson:It was a huge factor. Obviously, it was a huge momentum swing for them in the game. And that's the second opportunity this season that this team has run back a ball on us, so that was disappointing. I'm not going to say it was because anybody else was in the game. Again, when you're out there playing, if we put you out there you got to go make those plays. And we didn't make them, they did and they were able to get it done.
Q:Understanding all of that, the next man up theory and everything, Rolando [McClain] was playing some of his best ball when he got hurt, how much of all those things - he's one of the captains of the defense, calls the plays, how much did not having him there factor in some of the things that went wrong? The discipline…
Coach Jackson:Any time you don't have your best players playing, you know, I think we all recognize that there's a level of experience or a level of ability that is different. And I think when you don't have all of your best players playing it weakens you some. Now, am I going to tell you that's the reason they were able to run for the yards they ran for, I mean we could all have our own theories about that and I understand that. But again, I can't, as the head coach of this football, team make an excuse. We put 11 men out there and those 11 men have to get it stopped and have to get it solved. It wasn't like we were surprised that he wasn't going to be out there, I mean we kind of knew heading in that there was a potential that he might not be. So, the guys that are out there then have to make those plays and we weren't able to do that.
Q:You have a walk through apparently later today; do you expect [Darren] McFadden to be out there?
Coach Jackson:I don't know that. I mean again, once we go out to practice I'll have a better idea. I think like I said last week, I think we're getting close but exactly where it is, I don't know that yet.
Q:Has he started running again?
Coach Jackson:Not that I know of. Again, the only thing I've been doing this morning is San Diego. Right on to San Diego and that's been about it. So I haven't really got a full medical report on our football team.
Q:Curious how much time you actually spend on the corrections from yesterday's game, especially on defense, when you're not going to see that offense again or anything like it. You're going to see something completely different this week is it almost alright put this one aside and we've got to move forward quick?
Coach Jackson:You still have to make those adjustments though. You know because it's still assignment football. At the end of the day, it's still tackling and blocking and catching and running. So, I mean what we do as coaches is we make sure that we make a cut up of the things that we need to get corrected. The things that may show up again as we move forward and then the things that we need to let go we let go and move forward.
Q:Coach, with all the doom and gloom yesterday a lot of the defensive players were hard on themselves in the locker room talking to the press. Yet the Raiders are still in control of their own destiny. Do you have to remind them that this season is still very much…?
Coach Jackson:No doubt, I mean no doubt. I mean, look, we all were very disappointed by yesterday and I think rightfully so. When you work hard all week and it had been two weeks, you had a bye week, you come off a bye week feeling good, not as healthy as you like, but feeling really very good. Playing at home in front of your fans, I mean you want to go put a good product on the field and play well and win the game. The opportunity was sitting for us right there in this division to reach out and grab it. And at half time I think we were feeling pretty good, we were up 17 to 7, even though we know the game wasn't over by any stretch of imagination but you felt good. We knew they were getting the ball first, we thought we'd go out there and stop them in three, get the offense the ball, and take it down and score but that didn't happen that way. I mean they came out and they score and then the offense answered and then all of a sudden its like we didn't hold up to our end of the bargain and that's what it was. I mean we didn't finish and so we're sitting here today talking about another loss within the division against a team that we felt we matched up well against. So we've got some work to do, we got some growing to do and I think we'll continue to do so. But I think our guys are excited because they know we are four and four and still in the thick of this thing. What we need to do is get a win. We're like any other team that lost. What you want to do now in regards to where it is, you want to go get a win and get back to feeling good about what you're doing.
Q: Do you contribute feeling too good at halftime, perhaps, and kind of underestimating your opponent in that second half?
Coach Jackson: I don't think so. I know a lot of that gets said but I think we understand in the division, you can't ever feel like that. Division games are different. I think, like I said, they missed a field goal and the team went in and you know a gasp, 'We dodged a bullet there. Now, here we go. Lets go finish the second half.' – and we didn't finish it. There was nothing in the locker room or nothing that I felt that would lead to that. I mean there was an excited group to go back out there and play. Like I said, we didn't stop them the first drive but we went and scored on the first drive. So, that would tell you that that was a team that was ready to go play. Just didn't finish the drive on defense, but did on offense. We just have to keep that for sixty minutes, be able to do it consistently and get back to winning football games.
Q: Phillip Rivers is having problems…
Coach Jackson: [Laughs] Another guy that's supposedly having problems, huh?
Q: All these theories are abounding that he's sick, he's got too many kids at home, but he came out after the game last night and said nothing is wrong with me. Watching the films – you see anything that you know? He can certainly throw the ball…
Coach Jackson: He just scored 38 points. Something is wrong with him? No, I don't think so. This guy is one of the best quarterbacks in this league and I don't want to talk about him much. The last guy I talked about came in here and gave it to me. So, we're going play a really good football team in San Diego and I think you know that. Again, it's another division game and I don't subscribe to any of that. I mean this guy will do what he needs to do to win. They scored 38 points on offense. Obviously, the Packers played good enough to beat them that day, just like the Broncos played good enough to beat us. I mean this is pro football at its finest and you have got to go down there and play you best on game day to have an opportunity to win the game.
Q: How did you come up with your Thursday week schedule? Just from different staffs you have been on?
Coach Jackson: Yeah, just a combination of things that I have seen and dealt with and just knowing our team. Again, just trying to build in enough rest after this game. Enough rest but also enough pre-work for San Diego and then the work for San Diego as we continue to get ready for Thursday night.
Q: What is the message going forward to the team? It seems like there is a lot of confusion, at least yesterday after the game…
Coach Jackson: Confusion?
Q: Confusion in terms of the chemistry issues, roster turnover, and guys that didn't play that have been playing quite a bit. Guys like Darrius and Kevin…
Coach Jackson: Yeah, I don't feel that way and I respect you saying that. I don't think there is a chemistry issue on this football team. If it is, no one has told me about it; that's number one. Number two, the roster turnover or the roster moves – some had to be made to better the football team and I don't think that has anything to do with what's going on. So, when you say what's it like? I don't get any sense of that. Now, like I said earlier, do some guys wish they had played more? If we didn't address that correctly, then obviously that's on me and we will make sure we do it as we move forward. But, I think everybody kind of knows their role before we start a game. Everybody knows the packages they were playing in, the packages they weren't playing in and if that didn't get addressed, then sometimes I do and sometimes their position coaches do. If we didn't address that correctly, then I can understand that but I can't worry about if a guy got his feelings hurt or something like that. I don't worry about that. I'm trying to win games and I think our team understands that. But if there is something that needs to be addressed, we will. I mean my door is always open and I think the players know that. This is not a closed door, let's not talk, let's not do this type of deal and whatever that is, we will make sure we address it.
Q: So going into the game, does someone like DHB or Kevin know that – you know you say that the offense is based around the best players. If their numbers were favorable going into that game, do they know ahead of time, 'Hey, we're going to do tons of packages?'
Coach Jackson: Oh, they knew exactly the packages they were in. It wasn't like they did not know.
Q: And they knew the ratio of what it was going to be?
Coach Jackson: Yeah, but as you go into a game, the ratios can change based on situations, based on how the game is unfolding. I mean you don't go in and say, 'Well, you're definitely playing fifty plays. This is what were going to do.' No, it doesn't work that way. It's the flow of the game and situational football and where you get the ball. We had a drive that started at the eight-yard line and maybe all of a sudden, the guy that was going to be in wasn't in because we had to go to a different package. Those things happen and as a player, you have to understand that. It's always changing and flowing. So again – if a guy got his feelings a little bruised because of that, then that's okay. I don't think that anybody thinks any thing is coming from a bad place, that somebody is trying to hold them down or stop them from helping us win. I don't think that at all. But, I like players that get disappointed if they don't play. That means they got a fire in them that's burning and they want to help this team win.
Q: Just from an outsider looking in, it just seems strange that Darrius, for example, in the game before had been targeted 11 times and having a breakthrough type season. Yesterday, he gets the ball thrown to him once and he is a very rarely on the field…
Coach Jackson: That happens. I think if you look back, there has been some times he's probably been targeted one time but maybe had other opportunities, maybe the defense took it away. So, that happens. I don't think he was just targeted one time. I think there were some other targets for him that the defense just took it away and couldn't get it to him. But, I do understand what you are saying.
Q: So he didn't do anything to lose his…
Coach Jackson: No. Oh, no. No, not at all. Darrius Heyward-Bey is one of the good players on our football team. Yesterday, the packages that he was in just didn't happen that way. That's it.