By Jerry McDonald - NFL Writer
Sunday, April 26th, 2009 at 6:17 pm in Oakland Raiders.
A transcript from Tom Cable’s press conference Sunday following Day 2 of the NFL Draft:
Cable: Just to talk a little bit about Day 2, it started with Matt Shaughnessy, a defensive end from Wisconsin, we needed a guy that gives us something like Trevor Scott, that type of guy, but a little more size, and we feel good about that. Louis Murphy, we thought, would have been gone by then. The first question you’ll probably ask me is he played in spread system, yes he did. But always as an outside receiver, so he’s more apt to make the transition in to the pro system. Slade Norris has been at linebacker and played at rush end the last two years at Oregon State. We’re going to stand him up and play him at the SAM linebacker spot. Stryker Sulak was an end also, but also a linebacker in their system, depending on how they played certain teams he would be an inside linebacker, he’d be an edge linebacker, put his hand on the ground and be a defensive end as a pass rusher. So again, we’ll stand him up to start, at the linebacker spot. And then the last one, was a guy that I really felt we had to have, this was the last piece to those four I talked about earlier in the year, that we had to have the tight end that really had some physicalness to him so we could take some of that away from Zach Miller and use him in the passing game a little bit more. Overall, like every coach says, I’m very pleased, what we did, who we got and who we’re bringing in here.
Q: Was it Myers you wanted or just the position?
Cable:I t was Myers. There was two guys on there, Pascoe and Myers, and Pascoe went just before. So, either way, whichever one fell to us we were going to go after and get it.
Q: How does Shaughnessy stand out, more like Richardson or Scott?
Cable: You look at a guy who I think has 48 starts at Wisconsin. He’s been on a number of successful teams. A little more size than Trevor, not as big as Jay, so somewhere in between there. But I like the motor, I like what I got out of him. If you look at the East-West game he really was productive in that all star game, and then just his numbers, playing that much in that league, at that school, is a pretty good accomplishment.
Q: Not a lot of depth at guard, no o-linemen drafted, a reason for that?
Cable: Well, as I mentioned, we kind of went into it talking about the offensive line, you know, for a purpose, really because we had signed Khalif Barnes, Erik Pears, at tackle, and then obviously the trade, which was huge, if you look at the value of that sixth pick, today, that’s a tremendous gift for us. That’s a great trade. Getting Samson traded, getting us the depth there, we’re in good shape. The depth at guard, Cooper, Robert, Paul McQuistan would be the third guy in there, and then you’ve got some other guys that we’ve put in there. I’m trying to think of the names right now. Mark Wilson would be a guy who is cleared now and has come back from the ankle fracture.
Q: Were you intent on getting another receiver, or just couldn’t pass up Murphy?
Cable: Just could not pass him up. Could not pass him up.
Q: Does this young group of receivers have a veteran leader?
Cable: Yeah, that’s a good point. Javon would clearly be the veteran in the group. What we did was we raised the bar at that position, dramatically. And now we’ve got great competition. Can we overcome some of the youthfulness and all that? Probably not, but I think that’s the least of our worries right now, just in terms of getting more production there and better players there.”
Q: Sulak is known for being overly aggressive, is that a concern in terms of penalties?
Cable: None at all. The Raiders need that again. We need more of that. With some discipline along. You can’t be crazy, but you need that attitude.
Q: Would you look at existing veteran free-agent wide receivers?
Cable: You know, I think at this point probably not, because I like the group now. Very satisfied. Did not think Murphy would be there. Had Murphy not been there, that was definitely an option. But now you’ve created, again, another talented guy that can really run. Probably don’t need to do it yet.
Q: A challenge for up/down hybrids to become full-time stand-up guys?
Cable: You’re seeing more and more of that out of the 4-3 teams. That Sam or Will linebacker that on third down’s putting his hand on the ground. We actually did a little study. There’s a tremendous amount of guys that are making that transition, standing up on first and second down and putting their hand down on third. That’s really all over the league now, and some of the very good pass rushers are like that.
Q: Have you done enough to address the issues in run defense?
Cable: We did. First of all, kind of a two-part question there. The run game is kind of addressed a couple of ways. I think that we’ve gotta coach better and clean up some things in terms of what we’re doing, system-wise. I think we’ve addressed that by the coaching staff we’ve hired. And then we’ve got to get better at the linebacker spot. And when I say better, I mean more depth there. That’s really a key for us. You look what happens who we lose a guy, and then we kind of have to piecemeal it together. So this gives us a chance to not have that issue. Mitchell definitely upgrades us if any of you have taken the time to look at him now and see what he is physically. We feel a lot better about it. So we’ve got some good tackles on this football team. They’ve gotta play like it.
Q: Which of the five could play on special teams?
Cable: Actually all five guys we drafted today that was part of it. It’s a great question and that was part of it. My belief in the whole thing was what was their special teams value. You get on the phone with a Louis Murphy and tell him you want to pick him and be an Oakland Raider and the first thing he wanted to know is what is the strength coach’s phone number and can I get on special teams. That’s a great thing. We knew that about him. They all had that characteristic in there. It plays a big role, definitely.
Q: How would you assess how your plan worked out, better than hoped?
Cable: It did. The one thing we had to do was get about three, four key players in free agency and we’re actually stared on that already. When we get done here I’ll go get involved in that. That’s really a key thing for us. I still think we need to find a fullback, maybe another tight end, defensive tackle. Those things jump at me right away. In terms of addressing that in the draft, in some ways we did other than the fullback and the defensive tackle thing but those weren’t priority draft things. They were there if we could do it late, if the right guy was there. If not, we’d go to priority free agents.
Q: So those weren’t part of the four things you need?
Cable: The defensive end definitely was, the receivers were as you knew, the safety was and the tight end. Those were really the keys so we got that done.
Q: These guys seem like good character guys, what happened to the Raiders tradition of castoffs, misfits, etc. . .
Cable: Very much so. If you remember back to week 10, maybe it was week nine
I think. I made a statement to the media team after having a team meeting with just the team and I, the players and I, no coaches, no one else in here and we talked about that issue. If you want to start
winning, if you want to change things around here then the BS has to stop. You have to start living and playing with honor and that means doing things right, with discipline and being selfless. I thought we really took to that the last six weeks and I see it in the offseason program. That’s who I am. I don’t want to do that and inherit a bunch of craziness. At the same time, men are men, boys are boys and they do there things. But I don’t want to bring someone in here that I thought was crazy, that couldn’t fit, that was about him. He had to be about the team. He had to ask me on the phone after we picked him if he could play on special teams. Those kinds of things were really important to me.
Q: Did you mean you’re going to bring in undrafted free agents or veteran free agents?
Cable: It could be both, absoulely. It could be both.
Q: What position is Marcus Johnson going to play?
Cable: Offensive lineman. He’s playing guard.
Q: What do you make of the reports criticizing your picks?
Cable: Well, the first thing you have to know about me is, I don’t need to stand up and beat my chest and say, ‘The hell with everyone.’ I’m going to probably take a statement, if you will, from Bill Walsh. When you find a player you want, go get him. Don’t worry about it. Go get him. And that’s what I did. I’ll take the heat for that. We’ve since had people coming back apologizing, turning on film and saying, ‘Oh, my god, well this guy was going to Chicago, and they admitted that they were going to take him at 49. So, it makes some people look pretty foolish now. But, the bottom line is, I kind of live by that statement from coach Walsh. When you find the one you want, go get it. Don’t let anyone detract you and don’t worry about what they say.
Q: Does it matter much that a player such as Murphy played for a winning team?
Cable: Yeah, that’s a huge point. If you look at every one of these kids. Heyward-Bey kind of up and down but enough you need to say he had a winning record in college. Mike Mitchell won. Shaughnessy won. Mike Mitchell is part of turning around a program that used to be very poor at the University of Ohio. Shaughnessy won a lot of game. Louis Murphy, who we’re talking about directly here, has won two national championships. Not only did he feel like I didn’t have to be the guy but he was also a team captain. So, those qualities you’re talking about. Slade Norris, that program has really taken off in the last few years, that’s doing well at Oregon State. Stryker Sulak, Missouri. That speaks for itself what they’ve been doing lately. Then you look at Brandon Myers. Iowa has consistently been there. They had a couple years prior to this year that were a little up and down. But all of these kids are winners and all of t hem come with leadership and a number of them having been captains.
Q: Did you have any interest or talks regarding Anquan Boldin or Braylon Edwards?
Cable: We did not.
Q: People would call DHB and Mitchell classic size-speed-weight Al Davis picks. Are they Cable picks too? Did you two sell each other on picks?
Cable: We actually had a plan early that we would go out and kind of target the first couple of rounds separately and see where we’re at. The thing was we had one wanted in the first and that was Darrius without question. And two, we both had the same two guys. And it was the same position, we knew who they were, we knew what we wanted to do. So when they both hit it really was kind of unique because we had agreed that’s where we were at. Very much together in it and the rest kind of took care of itself. I think when you look at the draft, the characteristics of the player, athletically, size, speed numbers and all that. Certainly those are Oakland raider numbers, Al davis numbers and all that. At the same time the other things that go with it, my name’s right there with it.
Q: Are some of these players similar to the guys you have?
Cable: Yeah, I think one of the things that sold me on Mike was the fact that I love Tyvon. And I watched him play before he got hurt last year and being a gunner on special teams and his play on defense and said you know what, I want another one like that. I like that so much I want another one. And he got hurt and we missed it. And so I know think what you did is you made yourself better. You’ve got two guys like Tyvon. Again you did nothing but get better. And having been around that last year I really gained fondness for what he’s capable of and what he brought to the table. The great thing about Tyvon is his attitude and how he plays and how he works in the weight room and out on the field. He challenges people in a respectful way. He’s really good.
Q: Is Murphy anything like Schillens?
Cable: They’re similar really because they’re big guys that can run. Yeah. Does the height, weight speed thing fit the raiders thing, absolutely. Does this guy with all those things we just talked about, the championships, the captain, the ability to make plays. Being the outside receiver in a spread offense system which is conducive to coming to pro football. All those things add up. Yeah, maybe there is a comparison.
Q: How were things different for you this year as head coach? A fun experience?
Cable: it was. There some times, the trade with New England to get where we wanted to be to position ourselves. We held on to that second four, got a pick out of it. Carolina was willing to deal with us at the end. Those are kind of tense moments you know leading up to it. Especially day 2 because you’re time is shorter on the clock. But I dig that stuff. I think it’s cool. I liked it. I just think there was a Plan A, Plan B, however it was going to go to make the deal. We were fortunate people worked with us so it was good.
Q: How did you come up with your draft day style?
Cable: We do things here I think in a certain way. I think there’s a lot of fact to that. Whether you want to call it the Al Davis way, the Oakland raider way, it’s our way and one of the things that I’ve learned being here two years prior was the more you do diligence as an assistant coaching staff, the more you get every I dotted, T crossed, and you find and you look and background check and go get some more and find even more. The more you do that, the smoother it is through the process. And that’s what we did and I thought the staff did a great job. I thought the scouts, we were on with them, they were on with us, that’s what really got me excited. We really connected this year and everything worked. We had a plan and we stuck to the plan and we got who we needed to get.
Q: Was it the least contentious draft since you got here?
Cable: Aw come on now, we had fun today and yesterday, that’s the way drafts are supposed to be. There’s heated moments, you’re competing against 31 other teams to make your team better so I’m not going to go there. It’s what it’s supposed to be David.
Q: Seahawks went to Super Bowl with john Marshall defense, what does he bring here?
Cable: There’s two things I mention when I hired him and the reason I hired those guys on defense. One, they’ve been a part of building something, which you just mentioned. They’ve all been a part of playing and coaching and winning Super Bowls. They’ve also lost Super Bowls but they’ve also been to the top of the mountain. I just felt like the experience of all that is what this football team needs. We’ve got some good players. I’m not going to change my deal on that. We’ve got good players. Do we need more? Always, that’s what we’ve been doing the last two days. But they got to put them in the right place, teach them how to do it the right way then get the hell out of the way and let them play and that’s really what my plan was and it’s coming together as I see it.
Q: How different will passing game be with all these young guys?
Cable: I think it’s going to be night and day. Now, does that mean we’re going to be a top-20, top-15, what I’m hoping for? Yeah, we will. When? I’m not sure. But I look at it now and I see, you know what? We can attack you all over the field now. We’ve got guys who can catch and make a play somewhere, they can beat press coverage, they can get up top and run away. So I look at that and I just feel like with Johnnie and Chaz and the improvement those guys made, particularly at the end of the year last year, and add these two new guys in and see if we can get Javon Walker healthy, find out about Arman Shields, what does he bring to the table. You start looking at it and, you know what? We raised the bar. We now have a group at that position that can go out and compete and we’re going to have some pretty high competition at that spot.
All right, thank you.