Head Coach Hue Jackson. Photo by Tony Gonzales
Coach Jackson:Obviously, after watching the tape, my feelings from yesterday didn't change. Obviously it was a tough loss; I mean that was probably as tough a loss that I've been involved with in a long time. We did some really good things and obviously at the end didn't do enough good things to finish the game. Obviously, when you go back and you look at a game like that there's plays you wish you had back, there's calls you wish you had back. But at the end of the day you lost 28-27, you don't get those back. So, tough and we got to keep learning and growing from it. We have a big game this week in Kansas City. We're not out of this thing yet, I still feel that way. This team is going to fight. I think heading into this game, everybody was concerned if the team would even show up. So one thing we know, they'll show up. Now what we got to do is show up and win because I think we can and again we have some work to do and by no means are we a finished product, I think we understand that. Three weeks ago we were 7-4 and feeling pretty good about ourselves and now all of a sudden we have gotten to .500. So that's not where we want to be but I think we understand the predicament that we have put ourselves in and so what we need to do is get the ship right and go to Kansas City and play well.
Q:Does that take more out of you than the previous two losses because of how close it was?
Coach Jackson:Yes, that was a tough one you know it was. When you say take more out of you, I think probably didn't sleep as much as you probably normally would've over the other two because that one was here at home in front of your fans and everybody. I know how hard this team worked last week to put themselves in position to go win that game and how much it meant to them. So, to not walk away with it, it was tough, but one thing I know about this group, they'll rise up tomorrow at practice and get themselves ready to go. We're playing against a really, really good Kansas City team that's really come on and they'll be ready.
Q:Coach having said that, this loss was even more to you guys, I think last week you were so pleased with the team really showing up at practice, that sense of urgency, it really did come out. So now, how do you get them to respond? What do you use in this because that was a very hard locker room after that one?
Coach Jackson:Well because at the end of the day the urgency that they showed last week is what gave them a chance to go play the way the played and we have to do it better than we did last week. I mean obviously, to go finish the opportunity to win a game is the most important thing we do. So last week just gave us an opportunity to win. Now what we got to do is put the finishing touches on so that we can finish at the end to win a game and that's what this is all about. I mean this has gone on all year; there's been some opportunities like this earlier in the year so this is not a new record or anything like that. We know what the situation is and for some reason somehow we have to get it solved and we haven't and it starts with me on down through our coaches through our players. I mean we have to find a way to finish games, it's not the first time we've had this conversation. So hopefully we can get out of this talking about this business of finishing and make it a reality and win some games that way.
Q:Why did you choose to kick the extra point on that last touchdown as opposed to trying to get up 14?
Coach Jackson:Well honestly, when I looked at it at that time we were up by 13 and I thought, 13, seven minutes we got a chance to get the ball. I figured, man there's no way this teams going to score thirteen points. You look back at it now and boy maybe that was a decision you could've done differently but at the time I felt very comfortable with where our team was being 13 up, let's kick it, let's go in. I think the rhythm, the team was excited, the special teams unit was out there, I was talking to the defensive coaches trying to get ready to get a stop, make sure we slow this team down. That's where my head was, not that I wasn't into the game or thinking about, 'boy should we be up 14, should we be up 13.' I just felt very comfortable, we kick it, let's go play defense get this ball back, three and out and let's go.
Q:Do you sometimes have the chart, how do you go about deciding?
Coach Jackson:Well we have people that have charts and there is people who will give me information, but at that time, sometimes some things are feel, some things are discussed. At that time I made that decision, 'hey look here, let's go kick this thing and let's go play great defense and get this team stopped,' and we didn't get it done.
Q:If you had it to do all over again?
Coach Jackson:There's no question, I mean obviously the day after you wish boy yes one more point so it'd be tied and you'd have a chance to go into overtime. But obviously too you wish you would have made a play here made a play there. I mean there's so many plays and I respect where you guys are its going to be questioned and asked about, but at the end of the day, I don't think that play lost the game. One play is not going to lose the game. Like I said, I wish there was several things we had to do over but at the end of the day we lost 28-27.
Q:Coach, you said you like to live on the edge and after 14 games seems like you're doing everything the way you wanted to do with no regrets. Do you still have the full autonomy, are your hands tied in some way, are you doing everything the way you want to?
Coach Jackson:I'm doing things as far as that's concerned, the way I see it. I have great respect for ownership, me and Mark [Davis] we have great conversations, but Mark says 'hey lets go and win the game.' I know there was a question about the fourth down call. Earlier in the game, I mean, was the guy wide open or not? At the end of the day if we hit that play, you guys all say 'whoa what a great call' and when you miss it they say 'well those were three more points you could've had.' Well, I understand that and that's part of this deal. The good coaches that make those calls and they get them and sometimes you come up the wrong way and it doesn't happen that way. So I understand where we all are, but at the end of the day, there's not just one play or two plays that wins and lose a game and I think we all understand that this is a team game. It's offense, defense, and special teams and you got to play that way to win.
Q:Is part of having Carson Palmer as your quarterback making those kinds of calls? I mean you have fourth and one and he's your quarterback you got to think he's going to drop that in there, same with the third and three to [Chaz] Schilens…
Coach Jackson:Well that's not true because I think that even the third and three, I think everybody thought, and it was a long three, everybody thought that that was a go-route. That's not a go-route, that's a slant-and-go. If I'm not mistaken, we were one of seven at that point in third downs, they had packed the box, everybody was standing up there. The one thing that this team had been biting on and whether you've studied the tape was slants. So that's why Chaz was so wide open. Goes back to the same thing - you hit it we're not having this conversation. It's not we were trying to throw the ball long, that's not the design of the play. I mean that's not where it is, but I think, like I said, when you hit them it's great, when you don't, then you leave yourself open for question. It had nothing to do with Carson. I've made those calls with Jason Campbell as a quarterback. I've made a fourth and one call on our side of the field against Cleveland if we all can remember with Kyle Boller being the quarterback. So, some of those things are there and when they're there you have to make those plays. If you make them, we all feel good, if you don't, then that's what happens.
Q:So that wasn't the same play that you ran with Louis Murphy in Chicago?
Coach Jackson:No, Murphy remember that was a three by one set. This was a two by two set, much different set. You can think it has some of the same elements, but it really doesn't, little different there than that one.
Q:On that play do you weigh running [Michael] Bush and using some clock?
Coach Jackson:Oh yes you weigh, you do weigh running Bush, but like I said if you go back and they had put a linebacker over the tight end, they took the safety, they had no safety help if you go back. And he was standing four yards from the line of scrimmage behind the linebackers and they're going to stop us from running the ball. Yes, can you say boy you run it you don't make the first down you bleed more clock, or do you throw it and you end the game? You know because you knew the play was there, the play was set up. That play was as there as the fourth and one call was. I mean excellent looks at them both. I mean what you have to do is execute those plays and I truly, like I said before, I believe in our players. I think that they can make those plays. I've seen them make them in practice. We just didn't make them yesterday when it counted most.
Q:Same way on defense, you did not have Chris Johnson, did not have Michael Huff so it was kind of all hands on deck in the defensive backfield and there were a lot of cover twos, a lot of cover threes there. Did you think that you had the personnel to be able to execute the kind of plays for the scheme that was being called?
Coach Jackson:Well, I think we do. I think playing zone whether it's cover two or cover three should, in my opinion, be simple. Playing man coverage is when it's tough because there's a possibility for somebody to get beat pretty quickly. So I thought we weren't short-handed that way. I mean if you go back to the first half, we made those plays, some of them in order to give ourselves an opportunity to win this game. We just didn't make them when they count the most. You have to make plays down the stretch. As you guys know, the last two minutes of a football game is probably the most important part of the game. You make a first down, you probably win, you score you win, you stop a team from scoring you win. Throw all the other first 58 minutes out, those last two minutes you have to do the things that it takes to win whether you make a third and four, whether you stop someone from getting in the end zone, or you make a play to create a turnover for the defense. Whatever that is you have to make those plays and that's what we have not had the ability to do this year.
Q:Actually looked like your man-to-man coverage was looking better on an average in the end zone, but it looked like there was confusion is what I'm saying coach- on some of those like the first touchdown, the big touchdown play.
Coach Jackson:The big post across the middle, yeah, the safety didn't get over the top that's true he didn't get over the top. The backside corner didn't squeeze, so I'm not going to say there was confusion, they beat us. You know, the guy beat us down the middle of the field and they made a heck of a throwing play. I don't think there's mass confusion like I think everybody think there is. I think what's happening is I think guys are in position to make plays. I mean, like I said, I said yesterday, the ball was floating up there in the air and you would think that you got a chance or they have a chance to make the play and they made the play and we didn't make the play. So, it's not about whose fault it is or this that or the other when you have the opportunity to make a play as a player you have to make those plays and that's how your team wins. The players make plays and at the end of the day that's what this is all about.
Q:Was there any confusion on the last touchdown play? Or was [Mike] Mitchell in the right spot on the last one?
Coach Jackson:What happened on the last touchdown play, they checked, they went to empty. We made a check and the check was trying to get communicated and Mitchell was not wrong. Mitchell was trying to get somebody moved and it just didn't get moved but nobody was particularly wrong we just didn't get some information echoed out, it wasn't Mitchell for sure. The safety was trying to get over and didn't get there fast enough.
Q: You have a lot of confidence in Stanford Routt, you pay him a lot of money. What goes into the thinking of not having him on Calvin [Johnson] on that last drive as much?
Coach Jackson: As much, because he was on him. Because when you go play cover-two you are hoping to get a re-route by somebody else because you really have two guys possibly on the guys he runs through. We had him on him for the majority of the day and obviously this guy, 81 for them, is a really good player. Their good player beat our players and when it comes down to it that is what you can't have happen. Their good player can not make as many plays as he made in a game like that in order for you to win.
Q: You said yesterday that guys have to make plays; were you happy as a head coach with the scheme of the defense on that last drive and what you guys were doing out there defensively?
Coach Jackson: You know, obviously when you lose, you are never happy. I am not happy with what we did on offense, I'm not happy with what we did on defense or special teams, so I am not just going to single out the defense. We had to score enough points on offense to not put those guys in that situation. We have got to hit those throws, we have to make the third down and four so that were not having this conversation. That being said, we also got to make those plays on defense too. I think some guys had some chances we just didn't make them. I know that is hard to believe, because guys had chances to make plays, and when you don't make them everything gets magnified. We need to do a better job I have said it and I will continue to say it until we get it done. We have got to do a better job all the way around. We just do; we have to.
Q: How about that blocked kick? Was there a breakdown or was that just a fantastic individual effort?
Coach Jackson: He jumped like you wouldn't believe, he made a heck of a play, it wasn't a break down, it wasn't a missed block. The guy went straight up and his thumb, I think it is one of the lead pictures in the paper, his thumb hit the ball, amazing. Very unfortunate, but again, like I said, whether it is the field goal, or this play or that play, there is five or six plays in a game you wish you could do over and you have a chance to win, and that's what we have to learn, we have to make those plays, and we will.
Q: Who is the vocal leader on defense now?
Coach Jackson: It is still Richard [Seymour], still Richard and [Rolando] McClain and Tyvon [Branch]. Those guys are still there. Richard Seymour played well, played extremely well, played like Richard that we all know and love. I think our guys fought very hard, we just didn't make enough plays at the end to get it done.
Q: Still holding on to hope for Darren [McFadden]?
Coach Jackson: I'm holding out hope for him, yea, I sure am. Until somebody tells me he is not, I'm going to keep holding out hope. Tomorrow we go to practice and we will see where he is, and I know he is moving around a lot better then what he has been. Like I told you guys last week, he is in the building, he is here and we will see where he is tomorrow.
Q: Is he still day to day in your mind?
Coach Jackson: Yes, he is, until somebody tells me differently, then I am going to continue to proceed that way.
Q: How aware are you of playoff scenarios of what needs to happen for you guys to get in?
Coach Jackson: This is what I know - we just need to win, all that other stuff I can't worry about it. Look, we have lost three games in a row. Miami, we didn't play well. Green Bay we didn't play well. Yesterday we fought hard and lost a game that we all knew we had an opportunity to win, so that is frustrating. But we have got two games to play here, but we have got to take them on at a time. We have got a big game in Kansas City, they are both division teams, the Chiefs and the Chargers. We start down in Kansas City and that has got to be our focal point. We can't worry about anything else that could happen, might happen, or any of that. We need to win. That has got to be our focus.
Q: Can you talk about the Chiefs? Did you see anything yesterday, and I mean obviously you already know how tough their defense is?
Coach Jackson: That is what I see. They slowed down a very high-powered offense in Green Bay, so they are playing very good defensively. And obviously, Kyle Orton playing quarterback for them gives them a spark on offense so it is going to be a great challenge, but again, it is these types of challenges that are going to really re-define this team. That we are going to go out there and meet these demands and go play well. And for whatever it was, 57 minutes yesterday or 56 minutes, it looked pretty good for the Raiders yesterday. The Raiders were doing some pretty good things, and then we let one slip through the cracks, and that is what we have got to quit doing here. We can't do that and be the type of football team that we want to be.
Q: At one point, when you were in control of your own destiny at 7-4, some players had talked about wanting to be in that position, it was some sort of motivation. Now with the Chiefs only a game behind you, from the bottom of the part of the standings, is that something you approach at all? Or is that just too negative to even dwell on?
Coach Jackson: To me it is too negative to even dwell on. I think the way we have to approach it is we just need to go win within our division. We know how to do it, we have been there before, they came down here the first time and they got after us, so we get a chance to go in to their home stadium and go play football the way we know how to play and play better than what we have played. That is what we need to do.
Q: We haven't discussed Chris Johnson's injury since this weekend. He was just not mentally ready to go?
Coach Jackson: Again, it is a non-football related injury and I would rather not just get into it. Chris is doing fine and we will move forward from there.
Q: Any updates with [Jacoby] Ford?
Coach Jackson: With Jacoby? Nothing yet, it is going to be day to day, and we will see where he is tomorrow. It was good to get Denarius [Moore] back out there. He made a couple of plays out there, for us and he will continue to get more as we move forward, but we would love to have all those guys back if we can.
Q: Might you have to look at bringing someone in to return kicks at all? Or do you think with Tyvon and Denarius possibly going back you are okay?
Coach Jackson: I think we will be okay. We have a chance to be okay and we will see where [Bryan] McCann is, but it was good to see Tyvon take off like that. Gosh, can he run with the ball? I was shocked when I saw him back there and then all of a sudden here comes this guy down the sideline and I'm going, 'are you kidding me?' Let's leave him back there, this guy has some skill.
Q: Darrius Heyward-Bey, numbers wise, had great numbers. He comes back and has maybe an aggressive fumble, a dropped pass late, is this the guy that we are going to see? A star and then the burn and then the star again?
Coach Jackson: No, I hope not, I think what we are going to see is a guy that is a star. Again, I keep telling him about the plays you have got to make, and he made some spectacular plays. But again there are a couple of plays he wished he had back too that would change the whole dynamics of this game. There are several players that I could point out that probably feel that way today. And that's what makes it tough because I know these guys, they work hard at it. It's not like he is trying to fumble the ball, but you have to do everything you can to make sure you don't. He was not trying to drop a ball, you have got to make sure you do everything you can to catch it. Or knock the ball down or whatever that is, or don't get a penalty or whatever those things are. That is what you have to do, that is what really good winning football teams do, and that is what we need to become. We have to continue to work at it.
Q: Practically speaking, when you are mapping out a situation -- in that last one, where Heyward-Bey did not catch the ball, did you have enough time to even get up and snap the ball and spike it?
Coach Jackson: I think so, it was close, it was going to be close. There was eight seconds after that play that happened. I think it takes you six seconds to still get up there, get under center and snap the ball. We have done it before, and boom, probably would have one second left and we would have kicked it and won the game. That is what I truly believe and it would have been tight but I really believe we had a chance at it.
Q: And that is one of the situations you do in practice?
Coach Jackson: Oh yeah, we have done that stuff before, you go through all that. That is training camp work, you do it so much that you feel comfortable when that time happens that you can get your team out there and you have a sense of urgency. You guys have seen us work the two minute right before the half in the same scenario before we kick the field goal to go up 17-14. You just keep working it working it down and you kind of know what you need to do to clock the ball in order to have enough time to attempt a kick.
Q: Coach, was he the primary receiver on that?
Coach Jackson: Darrius? Yeah, well the read took the quarterback there.
Q: You have had [Terrelle] Pryor dress a lot lately. Is he strictly just third string QB? I know earlier in the season you go him in there on that one play, there was a flag, and when McFadden was healthy you had the wildcat and now we haven't had that for like two months, have you thought about getting him a little trickery at all?
Coach Jackson: No, at this time because I think the guy who's playing quarterback probably needs as much practice time as he can get with his teammates. It's hard to get so many guys ready to play and then when you have injuries, and whoever that next guy is needs that extra practice time with Carson, so it has been tough, but he has worked extremely hard and he is getting better every day and he has got a bright future ahead of himself.
Q: How much did Moore just returning and then going with the reverse just open that up for Carson?
Coach Jackson: Tremendously because he is a playmaker. I think when people know that he is out there playing that he is somebody you have got to look for so it stretches the defense a little bit more than we have been stretching them because he gives you that kind of versatility. Again, I'm glad he is back and hopefully he can get back there and start returning kicks and do what he does in that area of our football team as well.
Q: Do you think he can do that this week?
Coach Jackson: Yeah, sure hope so.
Q: [Marcel] Reece had a big start and then didn't touch the ball the second half, did they take him away or what happened?
Coach Jackson: No, again, we end up going into our three wide receiver set and that's why we were able to move the ball so frequently. Marcel is a really, really good player as we know, but certain packages, defenses is going to defense certain ways so when those things happen you have to go and do the other thing that gives you a chance to win. We had him slated to play a little more tailback than what he did because obviously we are down in numbers that way and he got in there a couple times, he just didn't carry it as much, but he was in there the second half as a tailback.