Head Coach Hue Jackson speaks to the media. Photo by Tony Gonzales
Coach Jackson:You guys can tell I'm happy, I'm a little tired, but excited that we're 1-0. That was our objective at the end of the day and I told you a long time ago that now it is about winning and losing. I feel like we got off to a great start. I always try to talk with our team about what we need to do to win football games and one of the things was to go into the game and stop the run. I was excited about our defense with holding them to 13 attempts, 38 yards, 2.9 yards per rush, so we did that pretty well. I also wanted to make sure that we did a very good job of re-routing Brandon Lloyd. Obviously, he had six catches for 87 yards, but I did not think that he was a huge factor in the game. He could have been, but I think that is a tribute to our defensive players. The turnovers came at some very good and opportunistic times where our guys made plays. [Matt] Giordano wasn't even on this team for a few days, came into this game, and played really well on defense, so I was very excited about that. Obviously, five sacks on defense was tremendous. And on offense, I went into this game telling the guys that we need to run the ball and we did. Kudos to the offensive line, Darren McFadden, and what an amazing job those guys did as well as Michael Bush. Those two runs at the end of the game were sensational and I give our offensive line coaches a lot of credit. To me, building a bully is that, when you rush the ball 39 times for 190 yards at 4.9 yards per rush in another team's stadium, that's is pretty good. Everybody keeps talking about last year, this is this year. You can't compare last year to this year, this is a new beginning on Monday Night Football in their stadium, and we were able to do that. Obviously, there were some explosive plays that we wanted to have on offense that we didn't get last night and that is still a work in progress. I was excited that our team, when it was all said and done, the things that I told them that we needed to do in order to win the game, a lot of them will tell you we concentrated on those and got them done for the most part.
Q: Why weren't you guys able to get the wide receivers more involved?
Coach Jackson:Well, we tried. Rather, there was a miscue here or miscue there, so it didn't happen. So, that's the truth of the matter but it's something we'll get better at. There is no question that we need to get better at it and we'll work hard at it.
Q: What were some of the things you found out about being a head coach during a live game like that?
Coach Jackson:That you are totally involved with everything, you name it. One time, you're calling a play, then they tell you a guy might be down for a few plays. Then, the defense could ask you 'Hey, why did you call that or what about this?' There are so many things that are happening and what I've learned more so than anything, even after the four preseason games, is that as a head coach you have to keep your poise. The team is going to follow you and I thought when it mattered most, our team was able to do that. I was able to get their attention and make them truly understand that we have to finish this thing. Last year, we didn't finish things when the time was there, but this time we did and we won the game because of it.
Q: Why do you think you guys had so many penalties?
Coach Jackson:I'm not going to make an excuse about it, obviously, we committed them so it's something we have to address. I keep saying that, I'm harping on it and we talked about it first and foremost after the win. It's something we have to do and we have to get corrected. There were some questionable, some people would say some were questionable, but I'm not going to subscribe to that. When we get really good, we are not going to talk about penalties in this room. Fifteen penalties will not be the issue but we need to play better and do things fundamentally correct so that we don't get called and that's the truth.
Q: You say it won't be an issue, but it has been an issue in previous years?
Coach Jackson:That's true. I have to get the curse stopped just like we broke the Monday night curse, I have to get this one turned the other way. That is going to take time and I'm not here to tell you it's going to stop next week. I want you and our fans to know that we're working at it and I'm not going to just sweep it under the carpet and say it is what it is because we won the game. I don't think that is right, but 15 is too many penalties for this football team. It starts with me and goes down to our coaches and players. We have to get this corrected and we will.
Q: You had all kinds of penalties during the game. Which would be the easiest to correct?
Coach Jackson:Absolutely. I think the offsides. I think the pre-snap and concentration penalties you make sure you get right. Now, was it loud in their stadium? Yes it was, but it's going to be loud in any stadium that we go play in. It's the nature of the beast, so you have to prepare for that and we have. I mean you guys have heard the loud music out there trying to simulate crowd noise and that type of thing. We have to concentrate better and we will.
Q: You talk about building a bully. Did that concept get lost with emotions flying high?
Coach Jackson:I don't think it got lost but the concept of poise in times when things were not going the way as well as we wanted them to. That's the nature of football because it is not going to go your way all the time. When it doesn't, you cannot give into penalties and giving in to things that hurt your football team. That's something we'll continue to address because we cannot afford to lose any player during the game. What you have to do is keep your poise and that is one of our true goals - poise under pressure. I thought there was a time in the game where we did not demonstrate that, but I thought in the end when it mattered the most, there was some true poise from our defense. They got the ball back for the offense and for the offense to keep the ball and finish the game and not give them an opportunity to get the ball back at the end of the game.
Q: How did you guys come out health-wise with [Jacoby] Ford and [Michael] Huff?
Coach Jackson: Ford has a hamstring and Huff has a groin. We'll continue to watch those guys as we go through the week.
Q: Tell us about that last drive. You went with Michael Bush and he hadn't done a whole lot up until that point. Is he your closer?
Coach Jackson:No, I'm not going to say he's our closer. There are a couple of things, whether it is Darren or him that I know they have a good feel of doing. At the time, there were some things that I had seen that would give us an opportunity to finish the game. You always keep a couple of things in your back pocket when you need them the most and I thought this young man would run those particular plays very well. That is why he was there. It wasn't because something was wrong with Darren or he couldn't do it. I just felt that Bush knew exactly where I needed him to stick that ball and he did. What a sensational ending of the game for him and how about that run by Darren prior to that to get down to the 1-yard line. They are a very good tandem, they play well off of each other, so we have two very good running backs on this football team.
Q: How many yards are you willing to let Sebastian Janikowski kick a field goal?
Coach Jackson:[Laughs] Well, who knows? I'm just kidding. I feel very comfortable with him and when those guys come to tell me where the mark is for him to attempt a kick, I think about it and I feel very comfortable that they are being honest and upfront. It is not one of those things where they come up and say, 'Let me try one from 65.' They're being very sincere. Those guys are true pros, they know what they can do and can't do, and I just felt it was right. They said, 'Coach, we can do this.' Let's do it and sure enough he did it.
Q: Do you laugh it off at the half if he says I want to try this from 70 yards?
Coach Jackson:I probably would. But again, if the situation called for it and I felt very comfortable with him. If you're asking about last night, I probably would have said no, we'll be okay. But, my cutoff last night was 65 so that was where I was going to stop it.
Q: Did he get a game ball?
Coach Jackson:Not last night, but he may get one.
Q: How did you know to challenge that fumble, what was the process like going upstairs and how were you able to get the red flag out so quickly?
Coach Jackson:It was really good. Obviously, Al Saunders is who I talked to directly and I kept asking him can you see that replay. Just like with you, the replay was not being shown and at the last second as they were breaking the huddle and I started to sweat a little bit trying to get the replay because obviously we can't see anything down there, he goes, 'Hue, the ball is out, throw it.' We work as a team, we all stay in constant communication up there, he told me 'Hey, let's throw that flag' and we were able to get it done.
Q: What do you think of that offensive linemen set?
Coach Jackson:Bully, bully. There were some big bodies in the game pounding on people. I know you guys don't get an opportunity to see a tape, but you need to see it. It's fascinating some of the things that happened in the set with those linemen. But, there were some non-fascinating things that happened with that set also [laughs].
Q: Are you the coach that can accept physical over mental errors or are they all the same?
Coach Jackson:Yes and they are not all the same. I will stomach the physical things because those are going to happen and that's part of the game. The mental things eat me alive and we had quite a few of them in some tough situations last night. Those are the things we have to correct. I've said this before and I'm saying it again, there is a good football team and when we figure this thing out on a consistent basis play-in and play-out, we are going to be something special. I truly believe that.
Q: Is unnecessary roughness a mental or physical penalty?
Coach Jackson:It is a physical penalty. That is an act of aggression but there are times when it is going to happen and times when it shouldn't happen.
Q: What about unsportsmanlike conduct?
Coach Coach Jackson:Unsportsmanlike conduct is mental and physical' it's a good combination of both. Those are the things we have to eliminate. I know how all of you feel with this penalty thing because we are going to keep talking about it; trust me. I know you haven't yet, but trust me because it is going to get solved. It might be week 16 and it's solved. I promise you this, it's going to get solved and I'm not going to relent on anything because that is a huge part of something we have to size and we have to get it corrected.
Q: How will we know when it is solved?
Coach Jackson:It won't be 15 penalties. If you are getting five to six penalties a game, I think you can say this team has cured its thing. We led the league in penalties but here's the deal, we won the game last night and that is the most important thing. All you guys wouldn't be sitting here looking at me with these nice smiles and nice outfits if we had lost. Bottom line, we went to Denver on a Monday night, won a game that was a tough game, very physical game, flew back this morning and we're getting ready to head to Buffalo, a team that beat Kansas City, another a team in our division. It's going to be a tough game down in Buffalo, and we are looking forward to it.
Q: How tough is it that you guys have to fly back east on a short week and are you going to alter the schedule to practice at 10:00AM?
Coach Jackson:Wow, you have good thoughts don't you [laughs]. Absolutely. We're, the organization, players, and myself, it starts with me, I'm going to do everything I can to get this team ready and put them in the best situation to win a game. When we practice in the morning, you better believe we will. We will start early and we'll prepare ourselves to go play at the time we would play in Buffalo. That's what we're going to do so our guys understand that and they are looking forward to it.
Q: With the short week, did you think about flying straight to Buffalo?
Coach Jackson:No, I didn't. I think that with everything that has gone on, how fast training camp got here, getting the players in here, going through training camp, the preseason schedule, you still have to have you players have a sense of home. Some guys are still looking for places to stay, so you have to have them feel grounded and have a place they can call home. This is our home and this is our facility and I think they like to come back here, recharge their batteries and go back to doing what we do, which is trying to win games.
Q: Did your defensive line set the tone for what you guys did last night?
Coach Jackson: Absolutely and our offensive line did to. I mean, like I said, five sacks and we rushed for 190 yards, that's a pretty big statement on opening day.
Q: McFadden has it gotten to the point now where you know to give him the ball enough times and he'll make a big play. Is it that the confidence you have in him now?
Coach Jackson: I just have tremendous confidence in the football players. Not so much I give it to them enough times, I just know he has some special ability and eventually, I'm not going to say enough times, he is going to make a play and he does. Same thing with Michael Bush. That 11-yard run is as good as a 50-yard run in the situation where it happened. Those guys are really good players, but again, they can't do it without the offensive line blocking and finishing people.
Q: Speaking of McFadden, early on you threw one wildcat in there and we never saw it again. Is that just to keep defense thinking?
Coach Jackson: You never know but you might see a little bit of everything. I keep telling you we're not going to be a vanilla offensive football team. We're going to continue to grow and get better. This whole group we've been together however many weeks it's been since training camp. We're growing on some of the things from last year but we're still a work in progress, this whole team is. But I'll tell you what, there are some great pieces here to work with and I think these guys are excited and working hard towards our goal.
Q: Let's talk about Jason's performance last night, I mean sort of a caretaker performance, he did miss a long pass on the end zone that could have been a big play?
Coach Jackson: Well, I think he did a good job and he's 1-0 this year. The thing about quarterback play in the National Football League is winning and Jason Campbell right now is 1-0 in his division, and that's what matters. Are there plays that we all wish we had back? Not just him; I think a lot of players would tell you there were plays that they wish they had back. But at the end of the day, I think what we're most excited about is winning the football game last night in Denver.
Q: On the play where Chris [Johnson] forced the fumble, I think Denver got the ball back. But is that the kind of play you want to see the defensive backs attempting to make?
Coach Jackson: Are you talking about the ball that was sitting there forever that was saying, 'Please Raiders, grab me and we couldn't get?' [Laughs] Oh yes, that one, there is no question we're getting our hands on the ball more. That's why Rod Woodson is here and Kevin Ross is here. We've seen our defensive backs getting their hands on the ball and turning and looking and playing the ball. All the things you guys have been harping at me about the past four weeks and we're getting them corrected. As I keep telling you, it is the same thing with this penalty thing. We'll get it right, give me a little time; we will get this thing right.
Q: Was that DHB's [Darrius Heyward-Bey] best game you've seen him play?
Coach Jackson: No, I don't think so. I know we talk about DHB a lot, but DHB made some clutch plays last night. I don't think it was his best game, but I know what you're saying because he caught and ran with the ball. I think that's Darrius and Darrius was playing football the way he can play. It's the best game he's played this year [laughs] because he was playing the preseason, so that's the best game he's played this year. But I expect more from him and I think there's a lot more in there, I really do. I think he's truly coming on.
Q: From camp and everything you preach with building a bully, was last night kind of evidence of what you've been talking about?
Coach Jackson: You better believe it was. There were five sacks, domination by the defensive line and the offensive line, rushed for 190 yards, and averaged 4.9 yards a carry. If somebody told me we can do that every game as far as rushing the ball and getting sacks, I'm going to tell you we're going to win a lot of games; I promise you that.
Q: What went wrong on the punt return what did you see that they brought back?
Coach Jackson: I saw the ball got kicked really far by Shane Lechler, who has an unbelievable foot. Then all of a sudden, we broke down on coverage on the left side and maybe kind of out-kicked our coverage a little bit. The guy is able to make a play and we couldn't get it stopped, that's unfortunate. Again, it's something that we have got to correct. I mean we don't want anybody to bring the ball back at us like that. You know we have some tremendous athletes and we have some guys that can make the play, so we need to get that guy down on the ground.
Q: You said out-kicked the coverage. Is that something you want to address with Shane in not kicking it that far or is that something the coverage guys have know?
Coach Jackson: No, that's something the coverage guys have to know. I mean sometimes when you kick a ball you're not sure how far that thing is going. Once you realize as a coverage unit that it's in the air a little bit longer than what you are accustomed to it being, because normally, there's a rhythm to a punt, the guys have to understand this one went a long way and then all of a sudden, we have to attack the guy that's returning the ball a little differently.
Q: When Sebastian kicked it, no doubt?
Coach Jackson: No doubt in my mind, none whatsoever. You know I've had so many people text me, 'Coach there was no emotion on your face?' What for? I knew the guy was going to make it, there was no doubt. I was thinking what we're going to do at halftime so that's where my mind went because I knew it was going through the uprights.
Q: Any updates on [Kevin] Boss or [Mike] Mitchell?
Coach Jackson: Nothing right now. I think tomorrow we'll be able to have more for you.
Q: Before leaving to Denver you talked about all of the players you were excited about and all of the things that were leading up to the game that had you excited. Are you aware of how much excitement this first win has created for the Bay Area, for Raider fans, just people watching the game in general?
Coach Jackson: Honestly, I'm not. I would hope it has. I truly believe and talk about it all the time about representing this city, the organization, Raider Nation, our fans, everybody the right way. Our reality is winning and losing and I don't care how we win. I want everyone to understand that in this room. Whether we have 540 yards on offense or whether we have 2. Whether we have ten sacks or we have none, at the end of the game, we want to have one more point than the other team and that's what this is truly all about. When you look back weeks from now, nobody is going to say well you threw for 100 yards and you rushed for 90. They want to say you won and that's what I'm all about. I hope everyone understands that this is a process that you go through as a football team. I mean there are 16 other teams that are sitting at home right now wishing they had won. We were one of seven teams that traveled on the road, that went on the road and won football games in other teams stadium and to me, that's a tremendous accomplishment. I would hope that the fans, all of our fans and this organization everybody is excited about what this team is. I said it and I'm going to keep saying it, the time is now. I'm not backing down from that and I'm not backing down from what we're trying to become. We're going to become it and we're well on our way to establishing that.
Q: You're now being asked to go on the road again to start the NFL season with two road games in seven days. What is the most important factor in you being able to accomplish that?
Coach Jackson: Prepare, rest, and prepare. We have another mission and our mission is Buffalo. They're coming off of a huge win and it's going to be their home opener, no different then last night. They're going to take their best shot and we have to be ready to go.
Q: If you win you then have eight of your 14 remaining games at home. So what would it mean to start 2-0?
Coach Jackson: It's a goal and something we hope to accomplish. It would mean a ton to this football team, so that's the plan. We're not going with any other plan other than that. The schedule that was made for us we knew about it a long time a go. We're not going to run from it and we understand what the situation is. We know we have to travel, we know we're going back east, we know we're playing a team that is 1-0 also, and a team that played very well in Kansas City. So, we understand what the mission is.
Q: Were you surprised by the Bills-Chiefs outcome?
Coach Jackson: No, honestly not. I think that Buffalo played really well and I'm sure Kansas City didn't play as well as they could. So I'm not surprised by the National Football League with anything that happens. I think that the team that plays the best that day normally wins and that's the way it works.
Q: What did you think about the way Jason closed down the game?
Coach Jackson: Jason is the leader of this offensive football team and they follow him. I send subliminal messages through the mic to him, but he gives the guys in that huddle what he wants to give them. He was able to urge that group on to finish the game and that's what this is all about. You have to as a quarterback get guys to play at a higher level and he was able to do that. They finished the game the way we hope to finish every game - in victory formation.
Q: I noticed that Campbell sprints to the line of scrimmage and I didn't see a lot of last year. Is that something that you put in to get them a little bit more into it?
Coach Jackson: Well, that's our tempo, we like to go fast. We're still, as I told you guys a long time ago, not as fast as I'd like for us to go. We're still working through some kinks that way, but we like to have a fast tempo and we'll continue to stress that.
Q: You said you're not surprised by anything in the NFL, but what about Giordano? The guy who was cut, comes back, and has an interception, forces a fumbles, made a lot of plays…
Coach Jackson: You'd be surprised, I'm sure you guys will talk to him. The day we cut him, I had a great conversation with him in my office and I wasn't going to be surprised if he showed back up here and neither was he. He told me this is the place he wanted to be if he could get back. I mean I've competed against him on other teams; he's a tremendous football player. When he got cut, the numbers just didn't add up for him and after going back to real roster, it did. I'm glad to have him back. He made tremendous football plays and he's a tremendous football player. And when I say that, I'm not saying he's better than the other guys we have, but to have him on our team doing what he did last night speaks for itself what kind of person and what kind of character he has.
Q: I think you said you sent subliminal messages to Jason on the headphones. How do you send subliminal messages?
Coach Jackson: You have to be on the other end of that headset to field those, then you would know. Trust me, there are some things that go on through that headset that you don't know about; let me tell you [laughs].
Q: You are a rookie head coach that just got your first NFL win. Does the postgame meal taste better, can you sleep better, and can you enjoy the win?
Coach Jackson: I haven't slept, the meal was horrible [laughs], and I've been watching Buffalo so I don't feel good right now because they beat the team that they played really badly. So right now, I've got some issues and I've got to address them. It's going to take me probably until Sunday to start feeling good again.