Coach Jackson Talks 3rd Round Picks

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Coach Jackson: Look, let me tell you something; this is probably the most excited I have been in a long time. When you work as hard as our coaching staff, our scouts, our scouting department, when things start to unfold the way you knew they could, to keep your poise and just make sure you ride it out in certain situations and get the players that you want on your football team, starting with Stefen Wisniewski, who I think is going to be a tremendous, tremendous player for us and then go get DeMarcus Van Dyke from the University of Miami and we all know what he can do; cover and run.  And as I told you guys before, we don't run from speed, we run to speed, especially guys that can play and they show the characteristics that we're looking for in our corners, so I'm very excited about that pick. And then again to pick up another big guy who's athletic, tough, tenacious, and who loves to play the game and again take another piece and put it on the offensive line, it's like Christmas for me today. It's been an exciting day for the Raiders, a very exciting day.

Q: How did the trade with the Patriots come about; did they come after you because they wanted to get into the second next year or was that something you had your eye on?

Coach Jackson: No, I think it just kind of came together. As I told you, sometimes things happen to fit. You sit there and all of a sudden here comes a call, you talk about it, you work through it, you make a decision and you look at it and make sure it's best for us, that's what the bottom line is, what's best for us, what's best for our football team.  And obviously we got an opportunity to get two third round draft picks and two fourth round draft picks. Are you kidding me? We put two very good football players on our team in the third round, that's what we were looking for, and honestly, we nailed it, we truly nailed it. We got a corner that we are very excited about and another offensive lineman that we are extremely excited about, so it gets no better than that.

Q: What does the last move say about Asomugha? Is that just more evidence that you guys think that you won't be able to get him back?

Coach Jackson: As I said to you before, until we know what the rules are and exactly how that's going to unfold, we're not trying to send a message to anybody. This is the 2011 Draft and we are trying to pick the best players we can to put on our football team based on our evaluation, based on what we see, and that's all we're doing.

Q: Was it a red flag that he lost his job last year?

Coach Jackson: No. Here's the thing, that's the fun part about this. I think if you check a lot of these guys, some of these guys have lost their job. When you evaluate a player, you evaluate everything, and just as you do, we do our homework, we go through it all.  Obviously he did lose his job at some point but he also was a starter and played some tremendous football and sometimes things happen for different reasons and we found those reasons out and feel very, very comfortable about what happened at the University of Miami and feel very fortunate that this young man is on our football team.

Q: So what happened?

Coach Jackson: Well, I'll let him speak to you about that, that's not my job. My job is to make sure that when he gets here, we coach him, coach him great, and have him be the best player he can be.

Q: As you reshape your offensive line, where do you see Barksdale? Can he play right or left tackle, do you see him at one or the other?  And just out of curiosity, have you determined whether one of last years picks, Bruce Campbell, is still going to be a guard, or might he play a different position?

Coach Jackson: You know, that's the fun part right now, we have pieces now to work with and to move and put over there on that right side or left side, wherever we decide to play them. The thing is, as you know, we've got to get some bodies. Now we have some bodies and some big bodies, some athletic bodies to kind of pull from and work with.  Obviously our goal is to make sure we put the best five guys out there and let guys compete and make an impact and I feel very fortunate that he's going to find a home somewhere on this football team.

Q: So other than Wisniewski being center and Veldheer, I assume, being left tackle, everything else is in flux?

Coach Jackson: Well not so much flux, we're not in a flux anymore, we've got some bodies. It's just hard to pinpoint and say this guy's going to play this position.  It's very easy to say what Stefen's going to do because I want him to play center. But again, this guy can play either guard or tackle and we feel very comfortable about that. We have some other guys on our roster who can play either guard or tackle, now we've just got to see how they fit based on how we run our system, I think that's very important. The fun part is we now have big bodies who are athletic, who are tough, and who want to get the job done.

Q: It's not hard to find to find people who give glowing reports or glowing reviews of Wisniewski and Barksdale based on what they saw on video. It's harder to get that based on what they saw from Van Dyke on video.

Coach Jackson: Oh no, it's not. That's your opinion, now or somebody else told you that. (Interruption: Not my opinion, multiple opinions). Well I don't feel that way cause when we watched the tape I mean it goes back to again, we're picking players based on what we see. If I picked players based on what everybody else sees I'd be in trouble, so our organization is doing our homework and everybody's not going to see the players the same and that's ok. We feel very comfortable in our evaluation and how we go about evaluating our players. What we see is a young man who's tall, he's over six foot, he's 180 pounds, he has long arms, he's athletic, he's the fastest guy in the combine who can cover and he's hard to get away from. You're not going to outrun him and he's going to be coached by one of the best defensive back coaches in football. So in my opinion we're going to take a player and we're going to polish him up and let him play and he's going to play well.

Q: With Van Dyke he's kind of a lean build and fast. Can he play press coverage and is he physical enough?

Coach Jackson: Oh yeah. I think all those questions, and those are good questions you should have, because again he's not the 220-pound guy, but here's the deal…he's willing. The guy's willing to stick his face in there. He's a willing tackler. He's not afraid. The game's not too big for him. He doesn't run from contact or anything like that when you watch the tape. Does he have to learn how to win some of those big man battles? No question, but that's why we're going to coach him and put him in situations where he can be successful. I feel very comfortable with this pick and with this player.

Q: I believe I saw that Rod had gone out to Miami and had worked out Harris and Van Dyke. Did Van Dyke ever come out to the facility? Did Barksdale ever come out here?

Coach Jackson: I know that DeMarcus did not come out here and I don't think Joe made it out here. Again, it's just a process. Everybody you don't bring in. Some you do, some you don't, based on how that flows sometimes when you want a guy to come in he might have been going somewhere else. But the bottom line is, again, the evaluation of these players, I mean our staff, the coaching staff, I just commend them. I commend our scouting department. What a great job of them evaluating these guys and us putting these guys on our football team.

Q: We talked to you a lot yesterday. You're excitement about maybe getting your players in here coming in as soon as Monday...

Coach Jackson: Wow! Oh Wow! You had to ask me that didn't you. Yeah you know it started like - you get excited one moment and then all of a sudden you gotta go back down the next moment. Yeah, I was very excited about getting our players back and obviously there's been a different ruling and again, one thing we're gonna do is always abide by the rules and there's now a stay in place you know the injunction's back in place. So I mean we have to abide by this too and it's unfortunate. Obviously I want our guys here as fast as I can get them here and we want to coach them and we want to get them out there and do what we do, which is teach these young men and drive them and push them on to where we think they need to go. But again, there's a rule in place we all have to abide by it. There's 31 other teams that have to follow the guidelines and we will do that accordingly.

Q: Going back to the stay, how does that affect your ability to contact the players?

Coach Jackson: Can't call them again, can't talk to them. You know, same rules.

Q: How difficult is it?

Coach Jackson: Very, I'm not going to kid you. This was a shocker, this was difficult.  But again, that's part of it. As I told you, change is the norm.  I told you guys that yesterday, well here comes another change. Okay, saddle back up and get ready for the next change. Who knows, by Monday they might say come on back in the building.  So I mean you kind of go with it. Again, as the leader of this team and the leader of our staff and these players, we're not going to blink.  We're going to handle it the right way; obviously our players want to be here, I want them here, we want to get started, but right now the league has some other deals going, and they have to handle those. And we understand that when the time comes, which we will play football this season, we need to be ready to go, and we will be.

Q:  What kind of interaction did you have with the guys that were able to make it out here before the latest ruling?

Coach Jackson: They were excited; there were a lot of hugs, a lot of high fives. A lot of excitement about what we are trying to accomplish because I think our players know what I'm excited about. I know I came in a little late today because I had a little fender-bender, somebody popped me in the back so it took me a little time to get here, had to get my car fixed. But that's part of it too, you know, like I said, change is the norm, you deal with everything. But no, our players that were here today that I saw, they were very excited about what we are trying to do and very excited about wanting to know who we are going to draft; "hey coach who are we taking?,"  "I can't tell you." I wasn't telling them either so don't go calling them asking them because they didn't know either. But I got a lot of phone calls today up until the point to where all of a sudden the injunction was put back in place because guys want to know, "can I come," "can I be here," "coach can we move forward and get ready," and that's really refreshing because the players are excited about what we are trying to accomplish. And now I'm sure our players are watching our draft and are very excited about what we're doing to. To take two very good offensive linemen and put them on our football team, and a very good corner, we feel very fortunate about or draft up to this point, and I think our players would tell you that they are very happy about what we are accomplishing.

Q: How many actually made it out to the building?

Coach Jackson: I don't know. They were in and out, anywhere from five to seven to ten people. I couldn't see them all I get kind of stuck. You guys talked to them as they came in and went out. They are here and obviously some guys have to turn back, and camp out or hotel or whatever that is before there is another ruling in place.

Q: If you did have that draft, and no one was there and you were just pulling guys out, would you come up and say it?

Coach Jackson: Yes I would, why not? Why would I not? One thing that you guys are going to find out about me is I call it like I see it. I am not afraid to tell you the truth, that is just part of this deal, sometimes everything isn't going to go right, and that is just the bottom line, and it isn't going to happen the way that you want it to all the time. A game is not going to go the way we want it to all the time, and when it doesn't I am going to tell you. But here is the bottom line, it is going that way now, it is going the Raiders way right now and that is a good thing. I am very excited about that.

Q: Barsksdale, he is obviously known for his durability, he played 39 straight starts, he played right and left, do you see him on one side and another or do you want to bring him in?

Coach Jackson: I would like to bring him in on the right side to begin with, start him over there, everyone has to have a starting point and then see how we progress from there. Obviously he played both sides and that is the flexibility of our line now. We have a left tackle that has played center. We have center now that has played guard. I mean we have had a right tackle that has played over there on the left side. I mean we have a lot of different pieces and that is what I was referring to earlier. Now it is just a matter of making sure that you bring them in and have a starting point and then coach them, and these guys want to be coach. And more important then all of it, is these men are ready to do whatever it takes to win football games. I think that is our reality, our reality is winning and losing that is the key to it all. These guys are truly excited about what it takes to win here, that is what we are going to do.

Q: Is that starting point right tackle?

Coach Jackson: Again, I can tell you, it could be either or, but it is still we get them in here, but again what are these other missing pieces we have out there and we know what we are getting back. All of that plays into it, until you know all that, I know he will be on the right somewhere to begin with and we will just go from there.

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