Head Coach Hue Jackson spoke to the media after Thursday's practice. Photo by Tony Gonzales
Q: How excited are you about this challenge?
Coach Jackson: Oh my God, I'm very excited. We don't play until Monday, so I'm going to temper it down and I was glad that we got through practice. The guys worked hard and they are going to get out of here, head home, get some rest, and come back to do it again.
Q: Has your confidence been shaken by the preseason?
Coach Jackson: Confidence, shaken? Do you think my confidence is shaken? No way. As a matter in fact, I'm even more confident. I've got all my toys back and all my players are back, so we're ready to play. This is what we talked about and this is what we said we were going to do. Our first game is in Denver Monday night against the Broncos and we're looking forward to it.
Q: Has Darren McFadden been cleared medically?
Coach Jackson: Where is my list? [Laughs] Let me try that one more time. I think he is fine [laughs]. Darren is full and ready to go.
Q: Are the starters set and can you tell us who is going to return?
Coach Jackson: No, I'm not going to do that just yet.
Q: What about the receivers?
Coach Jackson: I'm not doing that just yet either.
Q: How about the cornerbacks?
Coach Jackson: I think you know who our cornerbacks are, but I'm not ready to do that just yet. It's too soon.
Q: Will Kevin Boss be able to go on Monday?
Coach Jackson: I haven't decided that either. I just said that he did not participate. Ask tomorrow and if you guys are nicer to me, I'll give you more information.
Q: You have had so many guys in and out. Are you happy with the consistency and continuity?
Coach Jackson: Well, obviously, we haven't played as a full offensive unit or full defensive unit yet. We've got 10 returning starters on defense and nine returning starters on offense. I feel very comfortable that these men understand how to play the game, what I expect, and what they need to do. I've seen it on the practice field. Even though Darren McFadden hasn't played, he's been here the past couple of weeks practicing with his teammates. The same thing is true on defense, so I feel very comfortable with where we are. We do need to play. Will there be a period where things may not be exactly what you want them to be for your team? Probably and that's part of it. I'm very excited, I think our team is excited and we're looking forward to playing.
Q: Seeing Jason Campbell stand back up there at the podium and part of the quarterback's job to be the face of the franchise; is he doing everything you want?
Coach Jackson: Jason's a pro. He's done a good job and obviously, he's come here and he's starting off this thing the right way. He's had a tremendous preseason, he's the leader of the offensive football team, he's one of the captains of this offensive football team, and I'm very comfortable with where he is in his leadership role and his ability to lead this offense.
Q: What's your captain policy? Do you name them?
Coach Jackson: Yes. The team has named captains for the season. I'll let you guys find out all of that in there and I'm not going to give it to you. I'm excited about the guys they picked. I think the guys they picked exemplify exactly what a Raider is and what a Raider should be. I pass the baton to them and I just get to be the conductor. They have to go lead this team with where we want to take this football team and this organization.
Q: Jason said last year's two wins don't mean anything, but Denver is talking about it?
Coach Jackson: Yes they are. I've heard a lot of the things they have said. They can keep talking, it's cool. I mean those two wins don't make a difference and somebody is saying a lot over there but I won't get into it right now
Q: It sounds like they are talking revenge?
Coach Jackson: Oh yes. I'm worried about my football team and getting ready to play on Monday night. I'm not going to get into last year because last year is last year. I'm going to keep my ear to the ground because I hear all of the things that are being said. One thing I know about the Raiders is that they are going to show up; I promise you that.
Q: Have you seen a difference between practicing at night versus during the day?
Coach Jackson: What I've noticed is that I have a healthy football team for the most part and guys are out competing for something now. It's not that we weren't in the preseason but that it is real football and all of a sudden, the wins and losses count. You are playing with a purpose, it's all about winning and the time is now so I think our players understand that.
Q: On your depth chart, you listed six receivers and Hagan is not on there. Is that an accident?
Coach Jackson: Probably so. I probably didn't get around to it because I was really tired. Late night and I just forgot to name him.
Q: So he's not a 7th receiver?
Coach Jackson: No, not at all. Derek Hagan is a good player and contributing player on this football team.
Q: How about the Raiders history with playing on Monday night as they have had success and is playing on Monday night in Denver exciting?
Coach Jackson: I'm very excited about it. We're going to be the last game played in the first week of the season. Everybody is going to get a chance to have dinner and sit down to watch the Raiders to see what we're all about. I'm excited about playing, playing the Denver Broncos, going back to Denver. Let's get it on.
Q: With Jason having another year with you and having that familiarity, are you confident if it's a situation where the run is taken away, you can depend on him in the passing game to drive you down the field?
Coach Jackson: I depend on all of our players and Jason, obviously, is the leader of the offense. Jason is a poised young man. He's poised under pressure. He understands the game, he's been playing it now for a while. He's been in some big games and I think he understands what we need to get done on Monday.
Q: How many snaps has Shane Lechler taken?
Coach Jackson: Can't tell you that. We might run a secret play with Shane. I can't let the cat out of the bag. But no, Shane is an athlete as you guys know. I'm excited and he can do things other than punt. I think the organization would probably be mad at me if I let him do more things. He is a tremendous competitor and a huge part of what we do and I'm glad he's here.
Q: Why did [Quentin] Groves play so much in the preseason?
Coach Jackson: Obviously, depth-wise, and needing to play the position more. I think he did a good job. Quentin is ready to play. All of our players are ready to play.
Q: Did you look at [Tully] Banta-Cain today and is there any chance you'll make a roster move before this game?
Coach Jackson: We will always keep looking, searching, trying, whatever that is. Yup, we did take a look at him, but obviously, there's no decisions made. We will continue to look at players, anybody we think can help us, we'll continue to take a peek at them.
Q: There was a 108-yard kickoff return tonight, is Jacoby going to take it out from eight yards deep?
Coach Jackson: We'll have to talk about that. But if anybody can, he can. Wow, that's a long one.
Q: Monday night is a landmark event for you. When you were a player, did you envision yourself being in this situation?
Coach Jackson: I had faith that someday it would happen. How it was going to happen, where it was going to happen, I didn't know. As I told all of you, this is my dream job. This is my dream opportunity. I'm thankful to the organization and Coach Davis for this opportunity. Now it's my time to take this team and showcase this talent and let them play.