T Joseph Barksdale (Left) and RB Taiwan Jones (right) answer questions from the media with Head Coach Hue Jackson. Photo by Tony Gonzales.
Coach Jackson: So you guys had a chance to meet two of our new players and that was exciting. It's been a great two days for the Raiders, no question. And the next two young men are Joseph Barksdale from LSU and my man Taiwan Jones sitting to my left. And as you just did – I want to make this about them, I don't want to make this about me. We're just very happy to have these guys picked on our team, and again, preparing for the 2011 season when we get the opportunity to get these men here, in our organization, where we can coach them and deal with them each and every day. We're so looking forward to it – our staff, our organization, everybody. These are now the Raiders and we're really excited to have these two young men on our football team.
Q: Taiwan, you didn't have to get on a plane to get over here, did you?
Jones: No, I just drove here.
Q: Was this your dream scenario?
Jones: Definitely. This is a home team for me. I've been in the backyard for a while so it's good to be a Raider.
Q: Hey Taiwan, how's the foot, how close to 100% are you, when do you anticipate being able to do everything that you need to do on the field?
Jones: For the most part, I feel like I can start right now. But I believe it's about 90% healed. We'll know more once I get a chance to talk to the doctors.
Q: So, the Raiders have some pretty good running backs – how do you think you fit in with those guys and what can you offer?
Jones: Where I fit is up to the coaches. I have a lot to offer – I have good agility, I'm good with my speed. How they want to use me is up to them. I just know that I'm coming in to give it my all.
Q: Taiwan, when you were coming out of Deer Valley, were you recruited from any regional schools? How did you wind up in Eastern Washington?
Jones: Eastern Washington was really the only school that offered me a full ride, and they took me and my mother out there on a visit, and she loved it. And I wanted to continue playing football so I signed with Eastern Washington.
Q: Hue, you have a speedy running back and a dynamic kick returner last year, what about Taiwan made him irresistible in the draft?
Coach Jackson: He can make plays! The guy can score from anywhere on the field. He can catch it, he can run with it, he can play on special teams. And I said this in my pre-draft presser when we talked about adding explosive players to our team. This is another athlete that has unquestionable ability to put the ball in the end zone. And now he's a Raider. So there's no question why he's here. We know what he's capable of doing and we're looking forward to him doing that.
Q: You've been compared to certain guys in Tennessee, C. Johnson – what do you think of that comparison? Is it fair?
Jones: Definitely. C. Johnson is definitely a great guy for us. He's improving in this league, and to be mixed in with his name is definitely an honor. It's a great comparison and an honor to me.
Q: Joe, we know you're a former defensive man. In your mind, do you take that defensive attitude to the other side of the ball when you play tackle? And do you see yourself as a right tackle?
Barksdale: The answer to your first question, when it comes to run blocking and physical things you have to have a physical and nasty mentality when it comes to doing those types of things. Playing right tackle, right guard; I can play left tackle and left guard. Whatever the position needs me to be in or fill in that is what I will be able to do.
Q: Taiwan, be honest now, Raider fan growing up?
Jones: When I started this journey, I was looking for my next NFL family and first thing Hue said is these are my new sons, so I am just happy to be here.
Q: Do you anticipate having a lot of family and friends watching your games?
Jones: Definitely, like I said I grew up in this backyard, so definitely I am going to bring a lot of fans here.
Q: To get into this whole lockout thing, when do you want to get these guys touching footballs?
Coach Jackson: As soon as the league will allow us, I don't obviously have the answer to that question, but I am going to enjoy my time with these young men now and make sure that they start to truly understand what it means to be a Raider, what our expectations are, what we want to accomplish as a football team, how we want to make them be the best football players that they can be, and then when we get a chance to get them back, get them back and then hit the ground running and teach them how we are going to play football on the grass.
Q: Joe, coming in as a rookie with a center being drafted already, have you spoken to each other and gone over things?
Barksdale: Oh definitely. I met Stefen in high school so we were pretty well acquainted already, but we have talked about getting together when we can and start talking about plays and learning offensive schemes and help each other learn the offense.
Q: Out of curiosity, why were you named Taiwan?
Jones: I am not sure, I know that my mom gave me that name, my dad wanted me to be a junior, but obviously my mom won. She likes names that start with T, my name is Taiwan, my sisters is Tasia, like Asia and my little brother is Thailand, I'm not sure why but that is the way she wanted it.
Q: Joe, you seem like you are really beaming today, can you run through this whole experience?
Barksdale: I am really excited to be an Oakland Raider. I know that it sounds simple, but my father used to talk about the Raiders all the time, back when Jim Otto and Tatum and those guys were here and he has been a Raiders fan for the longest. When I got drafted by the Raiders he told me that you are about to be a part of something big because he could see that the Raiders are coming back to dominance and he is really excited for the team as well as me. So I am just so happy to be here and I love the opportunity that I have and I am ready to come here and hit the ground running.