Raiders Head Coach Hue Jackson spoke to the media at the NFL's Annual Scouting Combine at Lucas Oil Field in Indianapolis. NFL Network.
Q: Coach, you got a lot out of Jacoby Ford last year. Can you talk about are you going to try to expand his role at all?
Coach Jackson: You better know I am. The guy is fast and he scores touchdowns. Every chance I can get the ball in his hands, I want to do that. He's a tremendous talent, obviously we saw him here at the combine last year run as fast as anybody in a long time. Obviously he came to the Raiders and proved that to be true. The guy is a tremendous special teams player and ended up being our starting "z" receiver and just had a tremendous first year.
Q: How much did that combine performance that he had here last year play into selecting him?
Coach Jackson: I think we knew that he was very talented; you can see some of those characteristics on video tape but you never know when you're a young player coming into the league, just how a fast a guy can make that process happen. But he worked every day, extremely hard. He really took the coaching; Sanjay Lal, our receiver coach, did really good job, we took our time and just took him through a progression...until about the fifth game of the year you could tell that this guy was really ready to play. And you look up and this guy is making plays like he's been a veteran in the league.
Q: When you saw him here at the combine, where were you with the process with him? Did you see him and say let's look at him further or boy we've got to get this guy?
Coach Jackson: You look at him and say you've still got to look further. There's still more information to gather. Obviously, this is just a process, an ongoing process when you come here; this is just another piece of information that we gather on players. But then you go from here, go watch more tape, individually work him out, then next thing you know you draft him and go through the next process. Q: What's the transition been for you in this young offseason, from offensive coordinator to head coach?
Coach Jackson: The biggest thing for me is just managing time so I can work out. It's amazing, you just don't have any time; you look up and you want to go work out and you just don't have the time to do it. But no, I think the biggest thing for me, the fun part, has been hiring our staff; we're putting together what I think is probably going to be one of the best staffs in football. I'm very proud of the men I was able to hire and able to get to stay and come to the Raiders. And number two for me is just making sure you allot enough time to get all the things done you want to get done because as a head coach you wear a lot of different hats. And I'm going to call the offensive plays and truth be told I'm the defensive coordinator and I'm the special teams coordinator too. That's just part of it, it's kind of what you do in this position. So you've just got to make sure that you manage your time the right way to give yourself the best opportunity to be what you need to be in all three phases. You always finish what you started. However it is that things start this year, we're going to finish it. We're the Raiders and we go to play, we go to win, and the most important thing is every time we go out there we have an expectation that we're going to go win a football game. I think our players know it, I think our staff knows it and I want our fans to know it.
Q: What type of running game will you feature?
Coach Jackson: The zone game will always be a part of my game, there's no question, but I am a power running type of guy. I like to kind of block down, kick out, lead somebody up through. That's kind of who I am and I like to do that, but I like to do a lot of different things because I think defensive coordinators in this league are very, very good so I think you have to be multiple in your ability to run the football and I think we will continue to do that. So we're not going to totally go away from the zone game because it's been very good to our football team, but we also want to just keep incorporating more things so we can be a very good running team and we have a chance to be.
Q: What's offensive line coach Bob Wylie's strength?
Coach Jackson: He is one of the most incredible teachers I've ever been around; he can really teach fundamentals and technique. Obviously coach [Steve] Wisniewski, he's one of the toughest human beings I've ever been around, and an outstanding motivator. So I was very lucky in getting those two guys to come here and coach for me and I think we'll do a great job with the line.
Q: Being the head coach for Raiders owner Al Davis…
Coach Jackson: My relationship with coach Davis is probably different than everybody else's...there's 32 of these jobs and the owners are the owners; this is their football team and I have great respect for that. The thing that's different about coach Davis is that he's a resource for me not just talking about who we want to draft and all that, this guy knows football. I can actually sit down and have a conversation about the power play, about the gap play, about the zone play, a pass play, and that's different. And that's not putting down any of the other owners I've worked for but he was a coach in this league, I mean he coached football in this league and understands the daily grind, the daily in and out that our players go through week in and week out trying to prepare to win a football game. So again, he's another resource in the building for me.
Q: Can you talk about QB Jason Campbell's transition to the Raiders and what you're looking for from him?
Coach Jackson: I am looking forward to Jason leading our football team to winning this AFC West championship and then to the playoffs. Jason Campbell came in last year and in my opinion did a tremendous job. Now obviously we all know of the situation where he was taken out and Bruce [Gradkowski] played, but again, I think the young man was really becoming accustomed to his environment, his teammates, myself, and I think you go through that process. You hate to say that but it's the truth, sometimes it takes a little bit longer than what you wish for a guy to get acclimated to the environment and the surroundings, and he did. I thought over the last half of the season he did a tremendous job of leading our team; leading our team and making the plays that big time players have to make in this league and that's what he did. So I'm expecting him to make that next jump. We were an 8-8 football team, but I don't anticipate or look for that to happen this year, I expect him to take us where we want to go. Q: Wide receiver is a young position for you; do you think you might add a veteran?
Coach Jackson: I get asked that question a lot and I really like the players that we have. Darrius Heyward-Bey I think is coming on, you look at Louis Murphy, Louis Murphy has had two good, solid seasons in the league, Chaz Schilens, if we can keep him injury-free, I think is going to be one of the better players in this league, and obviously Jacoby Ford hit the scene running this past year. So we have a nucleus of really good young players that I'm very excited about coaching. Obviously we want to get better at every position. We want to find the best players we can but I really feel that position is a strong one because it's young, talented, fast, they're great workers, and I think those guys will only just get better. Q: Thoughts on defense...
Coach Jackson: We need to be a team that can take our players on defense, because we have some very good talent over there, and give those guys opportunities to make plays. So we're going to do whatever we think we need to do to showcase that talent that we have over there on defense.