Head Coach Hue Jackson. Photo by Tony Gonzales
Q: Some of these guys are 'did not participate'. Do you think they are getting closer or do you know that? Or are just you told, 'Yes, they can go' and they go?
Coach Jackson: Let me look at this. Some are close. Some are a long ways away.
Q: Who is a long ways away?
Coach Jackson: I can't tell you that. If I did, I'm giving you all my secrets.
Q: How's Marcel Reece doing? Can you put him in a category?
Coach Jackson: I don't – I mean he just did not participate today. We'll just kind of see where he is tomorrow. Again, we have another day. You guys know how I am about this – we're going to try to milk it as long as we can but if a guy doesn't practice, I think you guys have seen how we go about it. If a guy doesn't practice, it's hard to help this football team so we'll just kind of go from there and keep pushing on.
Q: Who is going to be spending time at fullback with Reece and [Richard] Gordon out?
Coach Jackson: Obviously, Rock Cartwright. We've had a combination of a lot of people back there.
Q: Are any of the tight ends trying it?
Coach Jackson: Yeah, they're trying. But, we'll figure out a way. We're going to put 11 out there, as I tell you guys. We're going to find a way and keep this offense moving and we will.
Q: Did Chimdi Chekwa have a setback?
Coach Jackson: Well, I mean obviously something is not as well as it needs to be but we'll see where we can get him at tomorrow. I think obviously it didn't go well yesterday, so I wanted to make sure that we kept him down and see where we could get him to tomorrow and see where he is. But, I think he's got a chance; he's got a chance to be okay.
Q: Is [DeMarcus] Van Dyke going to be the next guy up?
Coach Jackson: Absolutely. Next man up. I mean hey, throw him in there and let's go.
Q: Is Rock kind of like your jack of all trades? You can just stick him just about anywhere?
Coach Jackson: [Laughs] Absolutely. I've been with Rock – I drafted Rock, when I was at the Washington Redskins. I'm the guy that Dan Snyder said, 'Who do you want?' I said Rock Cartwright. I know what he is – he's a tremendous football player, he's a pro, he works at, and I'm glad he's here and he's done a great job for us. He's filled in a lot of different roles but obviously, we wish we had all our guys back but one thing I know about him – he'll go in and compete.
Q: Coach, a marquee name going into this game – you've got [Darren] McFadden on your side and [Arian] Foster on the other. How are they similar; how are they different?
Coach Jackson: I like my guy. I can't tell you much about Foster, other than what I see on tape. I just know what Darren McFadden is to this football team and what he means to us. He's our runner. Obviously, we've got [Michael] Bush, we've got the young kid Taiwan Jones, but Darren McFadden is off to a good year and what he needs to do is stay consistent, finish this thing the way I know he can each and every week and stay healthy. If he can do that – like I said before, I think my guy is one of the best in football.
Q: Yesterday, you touched on the run defense. Do you think it's a matter of discipline out there? What do you see…
Coach Jackson: No, I should say that. I think it's a matter of everything. I think it's a matter of going to get the guy with the ball. Get off blocks and go get the guy with the ball, take the guy down and take the guy down hard and I think over the last few days, we've done a good job at that; getting better at it. I told you; we're going to get it sorted out, I promise you that. I can't tell you it's going to be this week, next week, or when it's going to be, but it's going to be – that much I do know. I think the players understand the message, it's crystal clear. We know what kind of team we're facing this week. They're going to run the ball and deservingly so. That's what the numbers say to do is run the ball, so we'll see if we can get this thing slowed down.
Q: During practice, how much time do you spend over on the side? Do you a lot or do you let Chuck [Bresnahan] do his thing?
Coach Jackson: I let all of our coaches do their thing. Obviously, my side of the ball is on offense but I look at it all. I'm not going to sit up here and say I'm void at what's going on on defense. Hey, I'm the biggest culprit to it; I'm the head coach of this football team. So I've spent more time over there, I will tell you that, and I plan on spending more. If that's what I've got to do, that's what I'm going to do. Whatever it takes to get this team to where I think it needs to be is what I'm going to do and it starts with me and then filters down to the rest of the coaches. But if everybody's going to point a finger, you've got to point it at me because I'm the one that spearheads it all and I've got to get it fixed.
Q: Why do you think the return game hasn't gotten going for you? You have some explosive guys back there but you haven't really…
Coach Jackson: Absolutely. That's another area – I mean again, that's another area where we need to get better at. When you walk out there and we get the ball, we're starting at the 15, 16 yard-line and I know we have some very capable guys. I think – a couple of things; I think the ball has been kicked pretty well by the other team. Hang time balls have been kicked deep and we've got to continue to block better. We've got to give those guys a little bit more opportunity if we decide to bring it out, so again, there are things that we're fixing each and every day and getting better at. I understand that it's a process, but we're getting there.
Q: Is [John] Henderson going to tackle and Seymour to defensive end one way you could improve the run defense?
Coach Jackson: I mean, obviously, there's all kinds of combinations you can use. I think the biggest thing is the guys that play, the 11 men that we put out there, have to make up their mind that enough's enough and I think they will. I think they understand – I mean, it's not like we haven't played good run defense this year. We go to a Denver game, we stopped the run; it's understandable. We played the Jets, we slowed that run down. It was 100 yards, but they didn't run the ball on us like that. We need to do it consistently and it's been my – 'Hey, we need to do it consistently' where the ball does not run through us. It's happened in two games and we've stopped it in two game so now, here's the next test. Let's get it done.
Q: Denver and Indianapolis did it for years and now Houston. What makes that stretch play so hard to defend?
Coach Jackson: I think it's a combination of the offensive line and having a good back who understands where to put the ball and exactly how you go about blocking it. I think everybody does it a little bit different. I mean people do a great job of cutting on the back side and getting people on the ground and the runner truly understands there's one cut who jumps behind the ball, cuts the ball back or takes the ball front side. There is a method to it and you have to understand it. One thing I do know about any run play that if you're knock the offensive line back, you're chances of success is not very good. So it comes down to the bottom line, we've got to get some knockbacks this week. We've got to get it done.
Q: [Louis] Murphy practicing two days in a row. You mentioned yesterday that being able to go a second day is pretty significant. How did he look today?
Coach Jackson: I think he's better, but I think he's also working through his body because he's been away from football for quite awhile. I think cardiovascular, I think just how sore is he. Obviously, you're going to have to fight through some of that right now so that you can get yourself back out there. Will I tell you that he's perfect and exactly where he needs to be yet? No, but I think he's working at it. Let's put another day together and see where he is on how his body feels and then we can make the best decision for him and for our football team.
Q: So he responded well today?
Coach Jackson: I think so. The fact that he was out here running around, making plays; I think so. But again, the thing is when you go home, you sit down and then you get up the next day, how do you feel? I think that's the key knowing exactly what he can and can't do just yet.