Head Coach Hue Jackson. Photo by Tony Gonzales
Q: Talk a little bit about revamping and regrouping after the break…
Coach Jackson: Oh yeah. We had a good Monday's practice, we had a strong practice today in pads, so we've regrouped. The only thing we've revamped is just the players getting used to the quarterback, getting used to this cadence and how he goes about his business. But, I think we're off to a good start.
Q: How much was T.J. [Houshmandzadeh] able to do and what did he show you out here?
Coach Jackson: He was able to do a lot. I mean he was in there, he took reps, made some plays; I mean he knows this offense. It's a little different things here and there, but I think he understands what we need to get accomplished. It's good to have him out here. He's a good presence for this football team; glad he's here.
Q: Is he going to play Sunday?
Coach Jackson: Yeah, I think he will. Yeah.
Q: For a guy who hasn't played, what sort of condition is he in?
Coach Jackson: Well, that's the one thing I know about T.J.; T.J. keeps himself in great shape. I mean I've always known that. He came out here yesterday; worked out extremely well. Came to practice today and practiced the way I expected him to practice so he's a guy that knows how to take care of his body, understands how to play the game at this level, at the pro level. So, I think he's fine from an endurance standpoint.
Q: What was the roster move?
Coach Jackson: The roster move was Derek Hagan.
Q: Why Hagan?
Coach Jackson: Well, it's just – again when you look at it, the young receivers on our football team to me are the future of this franchise and so it's making sure about those guys. I know what they're going to be, I know they're going to continue to grow, so I made a decision to let Derek go at this time because again – I know what T.J. is, I know what we're doing on offense and I think this guy can really do a good job of helping us accomplish a goal there but also mentoring these young guys.
Q: Some of his teammates have talked about his ability in the slot and his skill there. Is that what you see?
Coach Jackson: He has ability in the slot. T.J. really can play everywhere. The player that I worked out yesterday still has some of the characteristics that he had when I coached him. So I; obviously he's a little older, a little more grey – I'm there but he knows how to play the game. I'm excited he's here.
Q: Was Terrell Owens ever considered?
Coach Jackson: No, I told you guys I wasn't chasing Terrell and good luck to him and I wish him well, but obviously, I know this other guy. I coached him, I know what he is, I know what he brings to the table, I know exactly what I'm going to get, so that's why I went with this decision.
Q: He's kind of a fearless receiver. I've noticed a lot of balls he goes up and catches. In some routes, some guys might flinch a little bit, but he doesn't seem to…
Coach Jackson: That's true. Again, that's what I know he is. That's the player you just described is what he is. He will make contact catches; I mean he knows how to do it. He's done it as well as anybody in this league in that position and he's made some crucial plays in certain situations. So, that's what I expect to get from this young man.
Q: With Darren, is there anything more that you found out with the injury?
Coach Jackson: No, nothing more. I think we're making progress, but obviously not enough progress to get him back out here yet. But again, we'll just keep going day by day, see where he is and hopefully we'll get him out here soon and if we don't, on we go.
Q: The fact that you have a game this Sunday and you have to turn around and play Thursday, might you have to hold out a guy? Like that quick turnaround?
Coach Jackson: I really think if a guy's close but he's not totally where he needs to be, then I'll take that into consideration because obviously we play again real quickly the following week. What I want to do is take the healthiest football team that I can back to this next game and that's the whole plan here – a team that can compete and win and that's what we're looking forward to doing.
Q: How much does it help having a guy like [Michael] Bush?
Coach Jackson: Oh, it helps tremendously because he's played in some games, he's started, he's had some big games and if Darren's not able to go, Bush will rise up. The young kid Taiwan Jones and Rock Cartwright; we have some guys, but obviously, Darren is our bell cow. We hope he can be back out here but if he can't, on we go.
Q: Your assessment of Tim Tebow?
Coach Jackson: My assessment of Tim Tebow – obviously, I think you know he's a Heisman Trophy winner, he's 1-1 as a starter, he's coming in here and I hope he doesn't get it right this week. I want him to continue to do whatever he's been doing and keep it that way.
Q: Hue, a lot has changed in the past couple of weeks. A disappointing loss, a bye, a veteran quarterback, a veteran receiver; that was a chance to kind of evaluate and shape things to your new personnel. Is the personality of this team going to change a little bit as a result of those things?
Coach Jackson: No, I think the team will still follow my lead. We're going to be a team that plays with a lot of fire and we get after it, we take chances; that's just kind of who we are. I mean the guys that I brought in know me other than [Aaron] Curry and Lito Sheppard. I haven't been around them other than just evaluating them and doing that, but obviously Carson [Palmer] and T.J. – they know my personality and what I am. So, I think the other guys will fall right in line with the other guys and on we go.
Q: Have you seen changes in Carson from when he first got here to having this week under his belt. What's different?
Coach Jackson: Confidence because he now knows, in better shape, more command because again, now he's gotten himself in better shape, he knows his teammates, he's knows what this offense is now and what it needs to be. So now, there's a lot of confidence that comes from him to the players and I think that's what the players sense more than anything.
Q: Does T.J. add to that confidence as well?
Coach Jackson: I think he will because real quickly here, this offense will be just like second nature to him and on he goes. It's like anything – it takes a minute or two but these guys, they've been doing this for quite awhile. It's just like riding a bike as they say - once you learn how to do it, you don't forget but you've just got to get yourself back in a rhythm and I think that's what they're doing.
Q: Does your game plan at all change? Carson versus Jason based on the different things that they do…
Coach Jackson: No doubt. There's different strengths; you know, there's different strengths. Obviously, I played the Jason strengths and everything I do, I'll play to Carson's strengths. But, I feel very good about where we are. We have another couple days, real good days, and very needed days of practice and then we'll be ready to play.
Q: How important is it to bring in a guy like Lito? I know you had some familiarity with him. With your injury-riddled secondary and a lot of youngsters back there…
Coach Jackson: I think it's very important because again, he's played. He's a pro, there's veteran presence there, he's played in some big games, he's an ex-Pro Bowler, and I think he wants to be here. He's excited about being here, he's excited about this opportunity, and I think a guy like him is invaluable.
Q: Has [Sebastian] Janikowski been able to kick at all?
Coach Jackson: I think he did a few things today. I'm going to find out exactly what. I know he was out here a little earlier, did some things but I think we're getting closer with him too. Obviously, we need him and I can't wait to get him back out here full-time.
Q: Do you know anything with Chris Johnson's status?
Coach Jackson: Yeah, nothing new to report today. I mean obviously, we're still working through that process. I mean again, we're getting closer and closer and obviously he wants to be out there. I think he's kind of frustrated about what's gone on with his leg but we'll continue to work with him and move forward.
Q: With [Marcel] Reece bring full today, do you expect him to be able to play this week?
Coach Jackson: Yes I do; I truly do. He's done some good things in practice; him and [Manase] Tonga both. Those guys have both done a really nice job, so we'll just keep evaluating this things as we move closer to the end of the week and put the best football team out there.
Q: How much of a role did Carson play in getting T.J.?
Coach Jackson: [Laughs] None and I didn't answer that. A lot of people say that I've heard all of the reports. You know – you walk around, you look at some of the coaches that have their TV's on and, 'Oh, this is a Carson Palmer deal.' Carson Palmer had nothing to do with this. I tried to get T.J. here during training camp. People forget that I had a relationship with T.J., I coached him and I know exactly what he is, so this wasn't Carson's idea by no stretch. Now once I said this is what I want to do, did he say, 'Coach, boy that's a pretty good deal?' Yeah, but he never came to me and said, 'Hey look, you need to get T.J. on this football team.' This has been my decision, I took it to the powers that be within this organization and said, 'This is what I think we need to do in order to continue to get a little bit better.' That's was hard for me to do; I'll be the first to tell all you guys that. Derek Hagan has done a great job here; unbelievable job and I love the young man and I love what he brought to the table. But again – if I can add a piece that can make us a little bit better and if the quarterback has some familiarity with somebody then that's going to make us a little bit better and at the end of the day, that's what I have to do as a head coach.
Q: But you brought in receivers during training camp…
Coach Jackson: Because at that time where we were, the conversation that me and Coach [Davis] had had – we wanted to make sure that we stressed our young receivers and again like I said, those guys are the foundation of this organization as we continue to move forward and that's not going to change. So at that time Derek was there, we took Derek; I wanted T.J. Hey like I told you – when Coach makes a decision, he made it. Well now all of a sudden as I keep looking at our football team and where we are, I say, 'Hey, here's a guy that can help us now that we're in a whole different situation' and that's why I did what I did.
Q: Is the situation that Palmer's here come from the familiarity?
Coach Jackson: Absolutely. I mean that plays a part in it too. That wasn't the total part but again, I've got a group of young guys who I think are very talented and I think having somebody that you can really look to that can show you a little bit of the rope of being a pro in this league week in and week out, day in and day out I think will make a difference for this football team.
Q: How important is it to pace yourself because you've got a regular week this week, but next week – I know you're not thinking ahead, but it's a short week and you've got to play at San Diego. I mean this next 12 days…
Coach Jackson: Oh, it is. Honestly, I think there is no pace in the National Football League. I know everybody says that. This is a big game this week and it'll be a big game five days after that. Bottom line is we've got to go. The time is now for this football team and that's what we talk about. We're right where we need to be. What we need to do is get back to winning football games and we've got to take them one at a time versus Denver and we'll move on to the next one.
Q: How's Rolando McClain doing?
Coach Jackson: I think he's doing better. Obviously, he didn't practice either but I think there's progress. I think we're getting closer with him also.
Q: Did you watch the whole Monday Night Football game?
Coach Jackson: Yes I did.
Q: And your thoughts?
Coach Jackson: I'm going to keep those to myself.
Q: Coming off the last lost and given this bye week, how much does it give you – was it a gut check at all or how did you evaluate where the team was after that loss?
Coach Jackson: Well, I was disappointed in myself. I mean I didn't do a good enough job of getting this team ready to play. We lost the game in front of our fans, this city and this organization so I was disappointed. But, I think the players understand it was one football game. That game is not going to determine our season. This game will. It's on to the next one. Here we go right back into our home stadium, hopefully we have a packed 'O,' and we're looking forward to playing and that's what we do. I mean you can't get too high when you win, you can't get too low when you lose. What you've got to do is stay consistent and we've got nine games to earn a tenth and that's what we're trying to do.
Q: Is the way that Kansas City has turned its season around a lesson you can use with your players?
Coach Jackson: No, they've done a great job and rightfully so. They've won four in a row and my hat goes off to Todd [Haley] and what he's done there. But, every situation is different. Our situation wasn't that; we didn't lose three in a row or something like that. What we need to do is stay consistent and play consistent. We've got some guys injured; you guys have never heard me complain about that. It's next man up and I'm not going to. What we're going to do is play and that's what the Raiders need to do. What we need to do is get our football team to play as well as they can play on game day and I think that's the most important factor that we have going here.
Q: You mentioned the receivers. So was it tough decision weighing the upside of those guys versus the production?
Coach Jackson: No, it was a tough decision about Derek Hagan because of what he's done. The guy worked hard here. He's done a tremendous job. He was a very valuable member of this football team but at the end of the day, like I said, this is a business and I think we all know that and he does too. I have to do what I think is best at the end of the day for the team and that's what I did.