Raiders Head Coach Hue Jackson addresses the media after practice. Raiders.com.
Q: How much was [Denarius] Moore able to do?
Coach Jackson: He did some things; he did some good things. I mean I was glad to see him back out there but again, I don't want to push him too far too fast. But just to have him back out there catching balls, running around was good so that was a good start for him.
Q: Is Chris Johnson here?
Coach Jackson: No, he's not back yet. Matter in fact, his sister's funeral was yesterday. I anticipate he'll probably be back here tomorrow night. He was taking care of business that he needed to, I know exactly where he is, we've been in constant communication and we moved forward on that end.
Q: He didn't play really because it's just too much going on?
Coach Jackson: He wanted to. Right before the game, he came to me and he said, 'Coach, I can't do it.' He said 'I would not be doing the team a good service.' He says 'my mind and my heart are struggling right now' and we kind of embraced for a second, and I understand that. So we didn't want to put him in a tough situation or our team in a tough situation, so he didn't play.
Q: With Denarius, is it a big thing about how he feels tomorrow?
Coach Jackson: Obviously. When you come out here and run around in full speed and do those things, I think the next day is what's important just making sure that you still feel good. Again, it was great to have him back out here running around. I think his teammates were glad to see him back out here, gave us a little life and guys were running around but it was a good day.
Q: What kind of boost will he give you on Sunday if he comes back?
Coach Jackson: Obviously, he's one of our better players. I think anytime you get one of your playmakers back, it gives you a tremendous boost. But again, this is going to be a football team game. It won't be just one guy. One guy can't change where we need to be, it's got to be our team – our team on offense, our team on defense, our team on special teams. We've got to do a better job, period.
Q: He might be a spark though…
Coach Jackson: There's no question he can because he has that kind of ability but again, just as we know it's tough for one man to do it. It's got to be a team effort.
Q: You touched on this a little but on Monday but obviously, the margin for error is gone…
Coach Jackson: Absolutely. The margin for error is gone. There is no more. We've got to play Raider football the way we know how to play. I feel good today because I think our guys understand what's at hand. It's not like we don't, we do. It's sitting right out there all in front of us. We need to go play well here at home, we're not traveling anywhere; we're just traveling up the street into our stadium at the 'O' and get ready to play, and I think our guys will be ready to play.
Q: How would you describe the mood and the energy today?
Coach Jackson: It was awesome, I mean, it really was. It probably was different than it's been the last four or five weeks because again, these guys understand. I mean I know this football team and I know where they're head is and they understand what we need to do, and we'll come play. We'll play the way we're supposed to play.
Q: How was it different?
Coach Jackson: How was it different today? I just think the urgency, the intensity; I mean, we've been on a couple long trips and I think the injuries…obviously, it's taken its toll and I think guys have done a great job the last two days getting themselves as healed up as they can so they can come out here because they understand you've got to practice. You've got to practice to give your team the best chance and have an opportunity to compete, so there weren't many guys in the training room. The guys that were in there were the guys that have to be in there for several different reasons. The other guys with just little nicks and bumps and bruises, they were out there practicing trying to get better, trying to help this team be where they need to be.
Q: Obviously, you don't see the Lions very much but you have played against a bunch of teams in their division so you've seen them on film; you've watched them close. Do you see a team in some ways that's besides the fact that they're fighting for a playoff berth that's kind of similar to your own?
Coach Jackson: No, I don't. I don't from this standpoint because I think they got off to an unbelievable start. They were 5-0 at one time, right? Then all of a sudden, it went a different way but this team is a really good football team. So, I know what you're saying about the similarities but I don't see that. I see a team that is competing in their division. Obviously, the Packers are the cream of the crop and then here comes the Lions and they're really, really good. But we're the Raiders, and we're where we are right now, and we've earned what we've gotten, and we don't have a record as good as them. But we're coming to play this weekend; I promise you that.
Q: It was a tough loss Sunday obviously and especially for [Carson] Palmer. How do you think he's been this week?
Coach Jackson: He's been great. I mean again, Carson's been there. This guy has been in the league a long time. I mean he's suffered some games where he didn't play as well, he's suffered games where he's lost and he understands what he needs to do. Again, he understands the dynamic of this whole thing that we're dealing with and I do too and at the end of the day, this team does too. So again, we as a football team, not just one individual, Carson or anybody else – we know what needs to get done and we're out to get that done.
Q: Does [Ndamukong] Suh coming back this week and two teams that have committed a lot of personal fouls, do you have to make the guys aware that after the whistle stops, the chippy stuff, to make sure this week that they knock it off because the refs will probably be looking a little more?
Coach Jackson: No question. We need to just get better on the penalty front, period. I mean whatever Detroit does, they're going to do what they do and we've got to handle our business. That's something we need to keep improving at ourselves, so we can't be go and jump offsides, we can't commit personal foul penalties. We've got to get that thing cleaned up in order to be the team that we want to become and again, we're going down the stretch here and we don't have any room for any of that stuff. We don't want to get into any of these confrontations with anybody. We just want to play clean, hard, aggressive football and at the end of the day, come away with a win.
Q: Coach, in the past, you guys have been aggressive and it's been winning out on that opening drive. The no huddle offense; you've really just stressed to the players, 'I want you to get in the end zone on this opening drive.' How advantageous is that especially given the last two weeks with the struggles?
Coach Jackson: Very. Very and we don't care how we get in there, we just want to get in there. We need to get off to a faster start. We haven't played well on offense in the last two weeks as far as scoring points. We've been consistently inconsistent and that's not an offense that I put my stamp on. We need to get better and I think we will. I think the guys are working extremely hard and we understand what we need to do and how we need to do it.
Q: How have teams been able to take away Calvin Johnson? It seems like opponents put a lot of focus on him…
Coach Jackson: You have to, don't you? I mean the guy is one of the better players in the league. You don't want their best players beating you so no, Calvin Johnson's as good as there is. The guy has unbelievable athleticism, he can catch it, he can run, he's tall, he's big, he's long, he's all those things. So, I understand why people make sure he doesn't catch it as much because he has the ability to score touchdowns and once that guy gets loose, I mean, one you get him going, I mean it's hard to stop him. So, we'll pay special attention to him but we've got to pay special attention to this football team because I believe they're a really good team. They can run the ball, they can throw the ball, the quarterback is very accurate with the ball, they know how to play on offense. Scott Linehan does a great job so again, what a tremendous challenge for our football team but the thing that I love is I think we understand the challenge and we're here at home.
Q: What can you do about the penalties? Do you just keep preaching, hopefully it kicks in at some point?
Coach Jackson: Well you know, it has kicked in every now and then. It just hasn't been consistent and I keep saying that we're not where we need to be and again, I take responsibility for that. I have not gotten that fixed. There are certain things we did get fixed, you fix one thing and you spring a leak somewhere else but in certain things. But in this area, we just haven't gotten it done so I can't beat myself up about it. One thing I know I'm doing is trying. It'd be different if I'm not trying. I'm doing everything I know how to do and I've called other people that I know in order to fix this and it's going to take some time, and I hope everybody understands that. There's no magical stuff that I can throw on this team and say, 'no more penalties.' It's not how it works but at the end of the day if we want to win, and as bad as I know this team does and as this organization does, I think to a man we will all of a sudden start handling those things better. The pre-snap penalties, the concentration penalties and the self-inflicted penalties. We need to do better and we will.
Q: Is that the same issue with the run defense? It seems like those two issues, you haven't tackled since the day that you got here and they've both popped up almost…
Coach Jackson: They have and you said it Jerry [McDonald]. You guys know me – I don't make excuses. That's something I'm very disappointed in. We haven't consistently been the type of team; not just defense, not just offense, not just special teams – the type of team that I want us to be. So from that standpoint, I look at myself first and then I talk to our coaches, 'We need to get better on defense,' and then it sprinkles down to the players and obviously the players have got to play. When you line up, the players have got to take that initiative to say, 'Okay, we're going to get this done,' and we've done it. There's been signs of it, but just not as consistent as you've got to be to be one of the better teams in this league. But now here we go – we've got three games left to earn something and to get after something, and who knows where this thing may go. But, I truly and totally believe in our football team. I'm not down on these guys, these guys are not down on themselves. We're disappointed, but we're not bowing our heads by nothing and we're not running from nothing. We're going to show up and play as hard and as well as we can play.
Q: With injuries to [Darren] McFadden and [Taiwan] Jones, do you think about bringing somebody else in or is that not really a priority?
Coach Jackson: No because I feel like we're going to get these guys back. Again, bringing somebody else in to be here for whatever time that is – now obviously had I known that Darren was going to be gone as long as he has been, maybe you go about it. You just don't have an idea about the foot. It's a foot – what do you do with a foot after they x-ray it and tell you don't need surgery and it's time that you need, you just don't know. You don't know how fast guys heal. You don't know the different degrees. Denarius Moore is out here today and he was somewhat of the same injury, so everybody's going to heal a little bit differently than other people. So we'll just continue to monitor it, keep working at it, and get these guys back out here as fast as we can.
Q:Do you think about your position in the division at this time?
Coach Jackson:Yeah I do and I'm disappointed where we are because we were in first place a couple weeks ago and we didn't hold on to that spot. You know Denver's playing well. I mean I can't do nothing about what they're doing I can only do something about what this team's doing and we need to get back to winning. I understand that, the players understand that but by no stretch of imagination is thing over and done with. We got to keep playing and we got to get back to winning football.
Q:Between McFadden and Denarius and Jacoby and all those stuff with the feet, do you just look at it as that's just a fluke? One year it's a foot, one year it's a hamstring or do you look harder at trying to figure it out?
Coach Jackson:[Laughs] You got to look harder, I've never seen anything like it. I've never seen so many of the same type of injury and it being a foot. So you go through it all and you go through the weight room and you go through the medical department, you go through everything. Trying to figure out why is it like this but it's no different than concussions you know, concussions all of a sudden and then one year it was a high ankle sprain. The hard part for us is that we had three to four guys that had almost the same thing, that's what's hard, but again we can't make excuses about it. We have them, those are our players, we understand what the situation is and what we got to do is get them back out here as fast as we can and I think our medical staff is working they're tails off and I know our players are. Sometimes it just doesn't happen as fast as you want and we need them, we just don't have them right now.
Q:Have you found anything as far patterns, weight room or shoes?
Coach Jackson:No, trust me we've done the shoe thing, orthotics, nice shoes, oh shoot we do it all trying to figure it out and there's no pattern you know and if you look around the league there's been more probably foot injuries this year than anything. I just, Coach Jackson thinks well maybe it was because there wasn't any off season, you just start wear and tear and running the player gets in OTA's maybe before training camp and then all of a sudden just go to training camp there's a bunch of running all of a sudden and here you go play the game, maybe that's it I don't know. I mean that's one mans opinion, so I don't know that I'm looking at everything but I don't know the answer to it.
Q:Hue, you've said time you don't like to make excuses, but without those guys how limited has your play calling been?
Coach Jackson: I'm not going to make an excuse for it, I can't. Here's the deal guys - I can't ever have our football team think there's a reason why we can't win and there isn't because we have good enough players. What we have to do is next man up step up and play as hard and well as you can play and that's what we have to do and I'm not going to ever run from that. I appreciate all the things that you guys say and I appreciate what everybody has said and you know hey, it's tough. There are a lot of teams that haven't been playing like we've had to play over the last seven weeks but hey that's ok. This is the National Football League, it's the best of the best and you have to find a way, I have to find a way to help this team win, that's my job. I'm not saying that I'm perfect at it, in those situations I'm learning a lot of different things about myself too, but at the end of the day my number one job is to help this organization win and the players that are in that locker room to suit up and play, they're job is to go win and that's what we have to do.
Q:But the play calling has been affected?
Coach Jackson:Oh man, here we go. Next case.
Q:Starting a playoff beard? What's this about?
Coach Jackson:Yes, well this thing's going to go. I've had about enough of this. I've been told by players - there's a group of them that like it, there's another group that don't like it. I've done it for several different reasons but I think its time for this thing to go. I think when I was clean we were doing pretty good, so I'm going to go change this here pretty soon.