Raiders Head Coach Hue Jackson addresses the media after the team's Wednesday night practice in Alameda. Photo by Tony Gonzales.
Q:Were you pleased with how practice went?
Coach Jackson:Yes I was. We needed that, it was just what we needed to do. Coming off of being off for a little while, come back in under the lights, get to practicing, get these pads on and get to popping a little bit.
Q:Was the energy a little different with the lights?
Coach Jackson:I think so, we're getting closer. We have a ways to go but I think our guys are understanding what we're about to embark on.
Q:Is your film quality still going to be good?
Coach Jackson:It's going to be very good. These are some very good lights. I can't look at them. Again, thanks to our organization, I can't thank them enough for this opportunity to be out here at night, preparing ourselves for the game on Monday night.
Q:Who was the DJ that chose the music?
Coach Jackson:Who was the DJ? I don't know but he was bad tonight. We have to get him squared away. I have to coach him up a little bit.
Q:With the players who are out, would they have to be out here in the next day or so to be able to play in the next game?
Coach Jackson:I would think so. We want to take a healthy, enthusiastic team to Denver. We're going to pack our best ball club and go to Denver and get ready to play on Monday night.
Q:Is Nick Miller your punt returner?
Coach Jackson:I'm not ready to say that yet. We've had a couple of guys back there fielding. We'll see where we are towards the end of the week.
Q:Are you giving Jason more freedom at the line to make changes?
Coach Jackson:Oh yeah. We're about making positive plays and getting out of negative plays. He understands what I expect and what we're trying to accomplish. He does a good job with that.
Q:How much more are you and he in line as opposed to last year?
Coach Jackson:We're totally. We're in line, at the hip, we all are on offense. It stems through me all the way down to our coaches to our players. So I feel very comfortable with where we are.
Q:What kind of camp did Brandon Myers have?
Coach Jackson:Good. He's really come on. Started off a little slow but really come on like gangbusters lately. He's playing really good for us right now.
Q:What's the next step for Jacoby Ford?
Coach Jackson:Obviously he likes the ball in his hands. We're going to try to put it in his hands. He's a good player. Again, we need to go and turn this guy loose. He's got some special ability and I'm looking forward to seeing him play.
Q:If he caught 75-80 balls, he could withstand that?
Coach Jackson:I wouldn't be surprised.
Q:First thoughts on the Denver Broncos? Offensively and defensively, who are the playmakers that you have to account for?
Coach Jackson:On offense, obviously there is the quarterback Orton. Brandon Lloyd is playing as good as most receivers in the league, he's a talented player. Eddie Royal is a good player for them. Willis McGahee, who came from Baltimore, who I had a relationship with in Baltimore as a rookie is a really good addition for their football team. Obviously, Ryan Clady is playing good. He's been a very good left tackle. On defense, they have two of the best pass rushers in football. The rookie Von Miller, Elvis Dumervil is playing really good. Joe Mays, the linebacker, is playing extremely well and then Champ Bailey, say no more, Brian Dawkins. They're a talented group but we think we're a talented group too. So we're looking forward to Monday night.
Q:Dumervill wasn't there last year, what kind of difference does that make this year?
Coach Jackson:That makes a difference. This guy is a accomplished pass rusher-sacker. They're bringing back a really good player into the fold. He didn't play against us either time last year, but that's okay. He's a good player but we feel like we have some good players too.
Q:What are the challenges for a 6-8 guy to block a lineman that's 5-11?
Coach Jackson:Got to play low. Try to take your 6-8 and make it 6-0. Our guy has length and girth and this guy is not as tall, but a very accomplished football player who understands how to play whether they're tall, little, whatever. Dumervil is good at what he does, but again we're looking forward to the challenge.
Q:In training camp, it appeared that Veldheer was the left tackle from day one. Was there any doubt?
Coach Jackson:No. But if we needed to move him we wouldn't have been opposed to it if it was going to make our team better. But obviously, he's our left tackle, we're very excited that he's there and he has a big bright future ahead of him.
Q:What have you seen from Von Miller in the preseason?
Coach Jackson:Speed. He can run. He's good at rushing the passer. He had a great lean and dip. He will put pressure on people, he knows how to do it. I'm sure that's exciting for the football team and something that we have to combat. But, again he's like most of the great pass rushers in this league. He knows how to get to the quarterback.
Q:Your first season opener and it doesn't really get bigger than Monday night. Where are you at right now?
Coach Jackson:I'm sure as it gets closer, I'll get even more excited. I don't want to blow everything here tonight, we have a whole week to go before that game. I'm looking forward to our football team because I think it's time. I always say the time is now. The time is now. It's time for the Raiders to play like Raiders.
Q:Is it more of an emphasis to be on that national stage?
Coach Jackson:We want to be. We want to be on the national stage. We're excited about the opportunity t o play on Monday night. We take as many of these games as we can get because we want to go out and showcase our talent.
Q:You're confident about winning your division looking ahead?
Coach Jackson:Absolutely. I'm not un-confident about it. I feel good about where we are. We're 0-0 right now light everybody else. We're going to line up on Monday night and show everybody what we're all about.
Q:The record in the preseason?
Coach Jackson: That doesn't faze me or our football team one bit. We were 0-4, that's what we were. But I can't look at that and be concerned. I have to look at these next 16. We have to play 16 to earn the 17 and that's what we intend to do.
Q: Are you more concerned about stopping the run or the pass?
Coach Jackson:I'm concerned about stopping their team, period. Whether it's run, pass, kicking. They're a good football team, they are. They are better than people think they are or they credit for. They are accomplished, have a good quarterback, a good offensive line. This will be a heck of a test. We're just the men for the job. We're looking forward to Monday night and a very tough football game.
Q:Any scratches besides Boss, Mitchell, Murphy?
Coach Jackson:No, just those guys.
Q:How do you keep these guys from being over confident going in?
Coach Jackson:That doesn't matter. That was a year ago. That's what we talk about. Truth be told, I haven't really made mention of what happened last year. They're talking about last year. We're talking about now. This time has to make a statement and build a legacy with what they do this season.
Q:Are they buying into that?
Coach Jackson:There's no question, they have to. We have to be a group that plays this thing one game at a time and we can't be concerned about what happened a year ago. The characters that were here a year ago, there are some that are not here anymore. So this is a new beginning for us all. We have to get off to a great start.
Q:Are you happy with your guys' progress on defense?
Coach Jackson:I feel good about the scheme. I think our players just need to play. We're going to put our head down and go play. That's what we need to do and what I expect we will do.
Q:Have you thought about what you're going to tell the team right before you go out?
Coach Jackson:Yes I have. I can't share that with you. But I have. I've looked forward to this day for a long time. The time is now.
Q:Are you starting to see some swagger and attitude with this team?
Coach Jackson:Oh yeah. It starts with me and it's going to permeate down through the coaches to our players. That's what I told you we're going to be and what I told all of you, that we're going to become what we're going to become and it starts on Monday.