Head Coach Hue Jackson
Coach Jackson: Okay, how's everybody doing? Good to see everybody today obviously after another tough defeat for a football team. We're in second place in this division, we've got three to go, got a big game against the Detroit Lions that are coming in here to the 'O.' We get a little home cooking finally after being on the road for two weeks and not playing very well, so we're looking forward to getting back to practice, getting this team back on a winning note. Obviously, Detroit's coming in here with something to play for. We've got something to play for too, obviously. We're still in the thick of this thing, we truly believe in our division, in this division and also, for an opportunity to play in the playoffs. So, it's still all out in front of us. It doesn't feel that way obviously after the last two weeks, but the reality is that's what it is so on we go.
Q: Coach, mathematically Detroit is not make or break but do you feel after the last two weeks and now being in second place that it's a must-win?
Coach Jackson: I think every game from here on in for us is a must-win. I mean if we want to accomplish our goals, which is winning this division, I think every game, one game at a time, is a must-win game for us.
Q: Over the past two weeks, things you've seen in common as to why the past two weeks haven't gone as well?
Coach Jackson: I think we haven't gotten off to a fast start on offense. Obviously I think anytime you turn the ball over early, it's not good for your football team so we need to make sure we take care of the ball. Number two – that other teams are scoring on us pretty quickly, so teams are getting up and those are the things that I notice the most, and I think obviously we've been down at half by a touchdown or two or three. So, that's not how we play and, like I said, the last two weeks hasn't gone the way we want them to. Again, as I said a week ago, we're not going to run from what's gone on. We understand, we face it head on; I do, this team does. We know that we have some work to do in order to get this thing back but no stretch anybody thrown in a towel or decided, 'hey, look, we've given it all we've got.' We've got more to give and that's what we're going to do.
Q: Coach, everybody's aware of the problems on offense, your injury problems with [Darren] McFadden and the other fellows, but the defense over the last two weeks has really been scorched. I mean any explanations for this or that?
Coach Jackson: We've got to play better and I think to a man, I think every player would feel that way. I think those 11 guys who are starters on our defensive football team need to go out and play as well as they can because they have. I mean there's games where we've been very rock solid and played very good run defense and very good pass defense. What we've got to do is do it consistently and I know you mentioned the offensive players that we're missing, but honestly, this is a team game and we kind of feed off each other, and the offense has to do a great job of helping and assisting the defense by tacking care of the ball and not putting them in a tough situation. On top of that, the defense - their job is to go out there and get a stop. So in special teams, they've got to do their job too so this is a team sport, so I respect what you're saying about defense, and what we need to do and how we need to be. But in terms of the way I see it as a head coach, this whole football team, we need to step it up, and we can and we will. Again, we played the world champions last night. We played a team that just held that Lombardi Trophy a year ago and is undefeated; they're 13-0. That's what we're aspiring to be and last night was a measuring stick obviously for myself and the football team, and we're not there. We're not where we need to be; I'll be the first to tell you that. But, we also got a chance to see it first-hand up close and personal about where we need to be and I think if anything, that kind of resonated with our players about where we need to get to. I mean there's three more weeks in this season and if God-willing we get an opportunity to win this division and get in the playoffs, I mean heck, who knows. There's a chance we might see these guys eight weeks from now or whenever that is. You never know; that's just the way this sport is, so I remember last night. I always will because we played against the best of the best in this league and they're good, and that's what you want to be at some point in time.
Q: What did you learn in that game? Are you farther away than you had thought or about where you thought you were?
Coach Jackson: Well, it's hard to ever judge all that when you're not playing with a full deck and I understand that. I know we don't have a lot of the players that we love to play with, but I also respect, as you guys know, I'm not going to make any excuses. I know that this football team can play better than what it's played the last two weeks and that's my responsibility, that's our coaches' responsibility and our players' responsibility. We've got to go to the game and go play as well as we can and I think the last two weeks have been very unfortunate that we haven't. But again, we've got a big game this week against Detroit because I could sit here and go over the Green Bay game and everything that's gone on, but that's not going to do anybody any good. What we've got to do is go back to work and focus on this game. I think, as I said three weeks ago, we're feeling pretty good after we beat Chicago here at home and the last two weeks have been unfortunate. We haven't gotten it done, but we've got a chance this week and not because this team is no slouch by any stretch of imagination. They're good, they are a very good physical, tough football team and we've got to get ready to play against here at home.
Q: Is Carson [Palmer] trying to do too much at times? I know he wants to make big plays so often, is he forcing the ball in your mind?
Coach Jackson: I mean again, I call those throws that you wish you had back. I think sometimes, I think any quarterback who throws a ball is truly, when you're blessed with a right arm like he has, you try to make some plays sometimes that are not there. But I think at the end of the day there's some trust he has with certain guys and sometimes, it's not all just the quarterback either. I think sometimes people have got to be in the right spots and sometimes, you've got to throw the ball to the right spots too. But he'll be the first to tell you, he had some plays last night that he wishes he had back. You've got to take care of the ball in this league and that's what I stressed to him. That's what me and him had an opportunity to talk about today. The key to us winning games in this league is taking care of the ball and getting turnovers, and he has got to take care of the ball better. He understands that and sometimes I think guys want to make those plays, but what I always tell him is just get me to the next down with you. I'll give you a better call the next play regardless of what happens. Just get me to the next down and we'll make something good happen and I think last night I think that point was driven home because I think he could see that he didn't give us an opportunity to attain our goals.
Q: Jacoby [Ford] and Denarius [Moore] are running. How close are they?
Coach Jackson: [Laughs] Here you go. You want degrees, you want days? Honestly, I don't know. As I told you guys, I quit speculating. I'm not going to worry about it. When they give me those players back, I'm going to take them with open arms and I'm going to put them out there because that would mean that they are ready to play. When they say, 'Hue, you've got them and you can practice with them,' then I'll know they're ready. But, I'm not going to get into that. I'm going to take the guys we have and get these guys better, and we're going to get our focus right and get ready to play a game here at home.
Q:Is it encouraging that they're able to run though at this point?
Coach Jackson:Yes, much better. It's very encouraging that they're out there doing more than what they did last week this early in the week. So I think that's good and I think it bodes well for the future, but again, until someone tells me, 'You got him,' I'm not going to speculate on him.
Q:Coach, with respect to Darren's injury and the speculation of the report, to clarify that…
Coach Jackson:Yes, here's the deal. I mean whether you use the word lisfranc or mid-foot, to me they're all the same. Now, there's different degrees of a lisfranc injury and I think we all understand that, or a mid-foot injury. To me, they're all the same and so if you want to play on words, a guy says lisfranc or mid-foot. I've said mid-foot before, I've said lisfranc – whatever that is, it's really the same thing. I wasn't trying to mislead anybody. Nobody is trying to mislead anybody, that's what the young man has. So if you want to describe it as a mid-foot sprain, you want to describe it as a lisfranc issue, then that's what it is. Again, until they tell me I can have him back I'm not going to worry about it. I know everybody then goes to Matt Schaub and understands when you say lisfranc, oh okay, well that's season ending and maybe that's the situation here. Well, we'll see. I don't know that for sure. I think we're going to get this young man back, but obviously, he's not back yet. So, I think there's different degrees of those particular sprains and 'francs' and all that. What we've got to do is figure out which one he has and I think our doctors and our people are working through it. You guys have seen him running around a little bit trying to get back out there, but I still think we need some time and then we'll get there.
Q:What did you get told that he has?
Coach Jackson:I have been told he has a mid-foot sprain, which is just like a lisfranc sprain. However you see that, it's the same. It's really one in the same and I know one can require – both can require surgery. Both can require for you to be out several, several weeks so I think they're all in that same family. I just think how you describe it based on one is when you say lisfranc really means surgical, you got to go in and fix it right away in order to get it to heal properly. I think that's why when people hear that term, I think everybody goes, 'Oh my gosh. That's what he has.' No, he does not need surgery; that much I do know. You guys can write that. Darren McFadden does not need surgery.
Q:Coach, in this game Richard Seymour had a clean stat sheet - no tackles. Was he getting double teamed? Is he hurt? Just not playing well?
Coach Jackson:No, he's not hurt. He's out there playing. Yes, all of our defensive linemen get double teamed. I mean, those are some big guys we have so they get double teamed, they get grabbed, they get pulled, and they get a little bit of everything. I mean, he didn't have any plays, didn't make any plays last night. He'll be first to tell you that he's got to play better. I mean our whole defense has got to play better. Our whole team has to play better. So, it's not just Richard Seymour. I mean there's 10 other guys on defense and there's 11 guys on offense and there's another 11 on special teams that need to play better than what we have over the last couple of weeks.
Q:Hue, you had said that you thought that the problems that you have had with run defense and with the penalties could be fixed by the end of this year…
Coach Jackson:Got three more weeks. I got three more weeks, hold me to that and then you guys can drill me at that time. No, guys we're working on it. Look, I'm just as disappointed as anybody. I've said those things and I believe them in my heart and I believe that we will and we have not. I'm not running from that, we have not consistently played on defense the way I envisioned our defensive football team playing. We have not fixed the penalty issue that has, in my opinion, hurt this team tremendously. I continue to be in games that things happen that I've never seen before. You know I was ready to throw a flag last night and they told me the replay booth doesn't work. So, the guy ran out of bounds, I knew he was out of bounds and there was nothing they could do about it. They said 'Hue, I'm probably know I'm screwing you here but the bottom line is I got to put the ball where it is because I cannot verify that the guy ran out of bounds.' I've never heard of that before, but that's the way it goes you know. But I - yeah we've got some work to do here and I've always said that and I don't run from that and I think everybody thinks you put magic on it and you do it and it just goes away. It takes time, it takes time and we're working at it and sometimes you got to change up and we are going to change some things up so we can get this thing better.
Q:Why did they mark up the penalty on you on the play where Aaron [Rodgers] got hit and the ball came out of his hand and then Kamerion [Wimbley] picked up the ball? Yes, but the play in essence as soon as they say it's an incomplete pass and it was not…
Coach Jackson:Right, because it was a personal foul. Yes, that's what I said too but in they're opinion it is a personal foul during a play. So it is tacked on to the end of whoever gets the ball last. So it was a defensive penalty, so they got half the distance, they went from the eight yard line to the four yard line and yes, I did have a fit, but that's the rule. That is the rule.
Q:Coach, when you talk to Chuck [Bresnahan] about defense, do you leave it to him and his staff? Is it kind of a on the plane kind of thing or do you scheme with him during the week? How involved are you?
Coach Jackson:Chuck tells me exactly what we're doing and how we're trying to do it. I like to know, I like to have an idea of how we're going to attack an offensive football team. Obviously I trust our coaches. I don't go over there and say we better do this or that. Do I offer suggestions? Yes I do, based on who we're playing, but for the most part our defensive coaches they get after it with those guys and trying to put in our game plan and get it done. We need to get better, period. Everywhere we are on this football team; defensively, offensively, and special teams. I'm not going to just sit up here and hammer the defense; I don't want to do that. It's definitely an issue that we need to get better at just like we need to get better on offense. I mean we can't turn a ball over like that and think we're going to win a game like that on the road. It's not going to happen. We got to get better at special teams. We had a chance to make a play on a fake, and we have to make that play. I mean because we have, we've made those plays. So I'm not going to sit here and tell you last night just wasn't our night, that's not how it works. I mean this is the National Football League, the best of the best and the last two weeks we have fallen short, but we get another go at this thing. We have three more goes at this thing to earn a fourth. We got Detroit this week and that's what we're going to focus on.
Q:Any updates on any of the injured players from yesterday?
Coach Jackson:[Laughs] Who do you want?
Q:Chaz [Schilens], [Darrius] Heyward-Bey, [John] Henderson, [Michael] Huff, Samson [Satele]?
Coach Jackson:Chaz – we'll know more as we go through the week. I think he's going to be okay. John Henderson – let me see what Johnny had. Johnny had the knee. He has a sore knee, so we'll see where John is as we move through the week. Darrius Heyward-Bey I think will be fine. I think his was a heel and I think as we go through the week, we'll know a little bit more about him. Sammy – Sammy Satele obviously has a little shoulder. So, I think he'll be okay too. Sammy's always found a way to come back and play, and so has Darrius and so has Chaz this year. So, I think we'll get these guys back and get them up and going.
Coach Jackson: Michael Huff – Michael Huff hurt a hamstring and that will be day to day and we will just see where he is as we go.
Q: Hue, in recent weeks it has become apparent that you guys are missing McFadden, Ford, and Moore – your explosive guys, it has become apparent that teams realize you don't have those guys and you are seeing defenses play a different style against you. What kind of challenges does that pose for you and Al [Saunders] and the coaching staff on the offensive side knowing that defenses are going to do different things now?
Coach Jackson: Yeah, you have got to go back to the drawing board. I mean what you once were, you're not. So as I said, I think I said it here a week ago, maybe two weeks ago, you can probably get away with that for a couple of weeks and fool people before they realize what you really are and then what you have to do is go back and do something to give you the best chance to win. What I do know is regardless of what you do, whatever scheme you come up with, you cannot turn the football over. You just can't do it and that's where it starts. You have got to quit being yourself. You can't have illegal procedures, you can't have holding calls, and you can't turn the ball over. So you can't beat yourself first before the other team lines up to defeat you anyway, so I think that's where it starts. I feel very comfortable with our offensive coaches and myself; we will come up with something to give us some points and give us an opportunity to score. What we have to do is make sure that the chemistry part of it because so many guys have been taken out of the equation from week to week or either during the game. Somebody goes down for a second, then they are gone. You know you are plugging people in that you keep that rhythm for the quarterback, well for the offensive unit that you have and that is the biggest challenge. The rest of it I think we will figure it out, but we will figure this out too and I feel very comfortable with that.
Q: How do you get that across to Carson, who pretty clearly it looked to be like he was establishing something with both Denarius and Jacoby, and now he doesn't have either one of those guys? How do you get across to him that you don't have to try and compensate for what you don't have?
Coach Jackson: You do just what you just said. You tell him that and that is what I have done. I mean and I think he understands that. I mean it is natural and normal for a guy in his situation to say, 'Okay, I am going to make this happen,' and that's normal and I get it. But, you can't be normal in this situation because you can't put your team in harm's way by any stretch of the imagination. So, it is going to take some great discipline on his part and he has it in him, he knows how to do it, and I feel very comfortable with the conversation that me and him had that he will do that. Carson is a good player and he has done some good things. He threw some huge balls for us last night, made some plays, gave us a chance in some situations last night so there is no problem there. The problem is when you get opportunities, sometimes you just have to say 'uncle' in this league and just, whether you throw it away or take a sack, because and sometimes that is hard when you are as competitive as he is because you are so used to winning and making things happen with your right arm. So, we will go through that process and we will continue to get better at it and he is doing a fabulous job in my opinion. What we have got to do is get back to playing winning football where we are very consistent. We have spurts in there on offense when we look like a good offense again. We went down there the first five plays and on the sixth play you turn it over. I mean we are marching the ball and there you go – those are the things to me that are frustrating, that we need to fix, and we will and I feel very comfortable with that.
Q: Coach, why hasn't Michael Bush been effective the last three weeks? How do you regard your offensive line?
Coach Jackson: Well, it's not the offensive line. I think when people know well that's who you are lining up back there and who else is going back there with him, you design ways to make sure that you get him slowed down and then what you do, you kind of counterpunch them over here when you think they have got you over there, and it leads right back to what we were talking about – turnovers, then you can't turn it over. They are going to stack on a particular area to make sure that Michael can't get going and that means that they are weak someplace else and you go scratch them over there. But then all of a sudden, you make a mistake then it magnifies so everybody thinks, 'Well, Michael Bush is not doing his part.' He is doing his part. The offensive line is doing their part. I mean those guys blocked pretty well last night from a pass protection standpoint. I mean 52 [Clay Matthews] didn't have the normal game he has and 90 [B.J. Raji] didn't have the normal game they have. What we have got to do is be consistent and not hurt ourselves with turnovers and penalties so that we can stay consistent throughout a football game and give Michael Bush those opportunities, give our outside receivers and tight ends those opportunities where they can make those plays.
Q: Any explanation for Darrius' rough start yesterday? He has made strides but took kind of a step back…
Coach Jackson: Yeah, well those things happen. I mean he is not the first guy to drop the ball this year. I think we know that and he has made some big plays this year too, so yeah, there were some things that cropped up again last night again, and we'll address them and keep moving forward, but I am not going to let that overshadow the good that he has done this year. He needs to come back and be consistent and catch the ball consistent because he has shown that this year. And I think sometimes when you are in those types of games, people start pressing a little bit all around and that is what I have got to get the team to understand. Just play Raider football, we will be fine, just play one snap at a time, and play as hard as you can, and everything else will take care of itself.
Q: Coach, how did you wind up with 12 men on the field on Jordy Nelson's touchdown?
Coach Jackson: It was poor execution by us coaches, period. There are no other excuses for that. I mean that's embarrassing, shouldn't have happened, it happened, and that's the way it is. That is poor on our part, we didn't get it done.
Q: How close is Jason Campbell?
Coach Jackson: Again, he is not out there yet so I think he is getting closer. But, I think he is still a little ways away from having an opportunity to come out there and play and throw the ball.
Q: Did you say weeks away?
Coach Jackson: I didn't say weeks; I didn't give a time table, but I think he is a little ways away, what that means is, whether it is weeks, days, or whatever, but I think he is a little bit further away than I think we all think he is.