By Jerry McDonald - NFL Writer
Monday, November 16th, 2009 at 4:04 pm in Oakland Raiders.
A transcript of Monday’s press briefing with Tom Cable which included a lot of quesitoning about JaMarcus Russell and Darrius Heyward-Bey:
Introduction: Injury update, Louis Murphy has a bruised tailbone, Bruce Gradkowski has a hamstring strain, Ike has an ankle sprain, Ricky Brown, this is not from the game, but would still be out, Ellis with the knee made improvement over the last 48 hours, was not ready to play yesterday morning, was a game time decision so we held him. Hiram Eugene dinged is shoulder. Michael Huff has an ankle sprain and Chris Johnson dinged his shoulder. The only two guys right now other than Ricky Brown being out, the only two guys questionable are Huff and Gradkowski.
Q: Nick Miller’s status?
Cable: Again, that’s still on-going. Yeah he’s out.
Q: Did Huff have an MRI?
Cable: I believe so. I have not gotten those reports yet this afternoon. We’ve been working on some other things but typically when there’s something like that we do check it.
Q: Would you have challenged the Huff non-interception on fourth down if it wasn’t fourth down?
Cable: Yes. Because it was close enough and they thought he did upstairs as well.
Q: Gradkowski’s injury affect your QB decision?
Cable: Uh, it very well may. We haven’t gotten anywhere with that decision. We hoped to be able to talk about it now but we’re not ready to do that. We don’t have enough time yet to get everybody that would be involved in it, have those discussions.
Q: Who is involved in that discussion?
Cable: Me …and the quarterbacks.
Q: Any other coaches?
Cable: Uh huh (No).
Q: Did you talk to Al?
Cable: Um, we have not talked about that specifically. We talked about the game and those kind of those things. Kind of a typical Monday. We don’t have a lot of conversation on Monday.
Q: But you have the latitude to make the move?
Q: Will the decision be made on the season as a whole or this last week?
Cable: Those are some of the things I think are important for me to sit down and think about. That’s part of it.
Q: The decision will be mostly focused on JaMarcus or …
Cable: It will be focused on winning, period, what gives us the best chance to win.
Q: Thoughts on JaMarcus’ play?
Cable: You know really why I took him out of the game, what I explained to him when I took him out of the game on the sideline, the last two throws were all over the place. Just a number of mental errors and misreads and so made the change and it is what it is. We’ll take it to the next step
which is actually going to be here in the next 24-48 hours.
Q: Were there different reasons why you took him against Chiefs as opposed to Jets?
Cable: Same thing.
Q: Stuff he did earlier in the year you hoped he would outgrow?
Cable: You hope you can get him through some of that, you hope, with improvement and all of that and he’s done some things better. But again right now we’ll just get through the next day or two and we’ll have a firm decision for you Wednesday, certainly.
Q: Have you seen in a situation where sitting can help?
Cable: You know typically no. Now has that happened to me with college guys and all that? Sure it has. It gives them a chance to kind of sit back and look at it and it actually gives them kind of a different perspective to it. At this level I would think that whether or not that would fit or be appropriate, I don’t know.
Q: JaMarcus did his best last year after missing Carolina game, so did day off help his strong finish?
Cable: Potentially. Those are all the things I want to look at here as we make the decision.
Q: Hard to evaluate Gradkowski knowing he’s in a different situation and time in the game?
Cable: A little bit. There’s some things that he did, threw some really good balls that we didn’t make plays on. But that happened to JaMarcus as well. So I think you have to take that one to light. I’m looking at managing the team in terms of communicating out there in the huddle at the line of scrimmage and accuracy, giving us a chance to succeed.
Q: Is Frye in the mix?
Cable: I haven’t even gone there yet, in terms of that. Just found out a little while ago that the hamstring (with Gradkowski) is an issue.
Q: What are you seeing with Heyward-Bey that we’re not seeing?
Cable: Yeah, you know, I think the fact that I see him every day. The fact that I see his talent and what I think he’s capable of. I think in simple terms, it’s that word potential that I’m thinking about. And want to give him every opportunity to succeed.
Q: Would we even be having this conversation if your guys hadn’t dropped 8 passes?
Cable: Well, it was four with him and four with Bruce.
Q: JaMarcus’ best back-to-back passes led to nothing, if he could have made either one of those plays, could it have been different?
Cable: Gosh, I think so. I think it’s just a little inconsistency.. He knows that’s what it takes to succeed in this league, is consistent play. You’regoing to have a bad throw, or there’s things out of your control sometimes that happens, sure there is. But plays like that, if you get em both, don’t get the penalty, then all of a sudden it’s a different deal for him. You got two big chunk plays like that and back to back, could have been a big lift for him, certainly.
Q: How much does Russell playing with rookie receivers, under so many coordinators, play-callers, etc., affect his performance?
Cable: Well, it’s all a part of it. Anytime there’s change, it affects everyone. Change can be a lot of things, whether it’s the coach, whether it’s the guy coaching him as a position coach, the players around him, all those things. Yeah, I’ve thought about that, and that’s why I’ve
really been patient.
Q: Will your decision on who plays quarterback be based on a per-game basis or for the rest of the season?
Cable: Right now, I haven’t gone that far. As I said earlier, I’m just waiting to kind of put all my facts together here and make a good decision for this team.
Q: Is it confidence or mechanics with Heyward-Bey?
Cable: I would say it’s confidence. He makes the great play the play before that on the sideline, a tremendous catch, and then not that one. To me, just keep believing in yourself, Darrius, and you’ll get through it. He will get through it. He feels the pressure of being the first-round pick and what everyone has said and on and on and on. And rightly so. He hasn’t backed it up yet. I see that kid being a real good pro, I really do.
Q: Do you see DH-Bey doing other things to contribute?
Cable: On the long run by Bush, he must have blocked for 50
yards, stayed on the back-side safety and blocked and blocked and blocked and blocked and blocked. You see Louis Murphy knock the corner down on another run. I mean, pancaked him. So, you see a lot of good things going on there. But at the end of the day, when you say wide receiver, it’s like, ‘How many did you catch for how many and how many touchdowns did you score?’ ”
Q: Focus has been on WR drops, running backs also had their share . . . are dropped passes contagious?
Cable: No, I think we’re where we’re supposed to be. I’d say pressing too much. That’s really what it comes down to.
Q: Schilens says if a ball is coming to him, that it’s the most important thing in the world . . . how to impart that on others?
Cable: I think human nature is to always have your point where you say enough’s enough, and I think that’s certainly where we’re at with that issue, those two young guys, that at some point it becomes the most important thing, it’s seeing the ball caught, and putting the ball away, tucking it away, and whatever’s next, run after the catch, all that. Right now it’s just relax and stay focused on catching the football.
Q: Need to make a change at punt return, or comfortable with Johnnie . . .
Cable: Not comfortable. We came out of the San Diego game, as I mentioned out of the game yesterday, feeling better about our return game, both of them. I don’t think either guy brought much to the table yesterday.
Q: Any thought to letting McFadden return KOs as he did in college?
Cable: I have not. I have not.
Q: What impresses you about Charlie Frye? Has some experience going against the Bengals?
Cable: The thing about Charlie is here’s a guy, he’s gym rat. He’s always around, he’s always studying. He’s a lot like a coach. Sunday morning the guy could really tell you every detail probably about everything that’s going on with your offensive linemen to his position. I think we’re really blessed to have him. I think what he does every week is come out and works and works and works, performs well, with the look team, and certainly he deserves to be part of this discussion.
Q. Shaughnessy played a ton of snaps…
Cable: Played outstanding he has, I have said this before, but every week he just gets better and better and better. Defended the run extremely well, one sack and a couple other hurries, the guy just gets better he is coached really well. His coached has raised his level and he comes
to work every day and he is learning from Richard [Seymour] and Greg (Ellis) those guys have been good in terms of teaching him and he is a good football player.
Q. Russell didn’t know why he had been taken out. Need to talk with him again as you did after Jets game?
Cable: Absolutely, and we will do that.
Q. The series that Bush ran 5 straight times. Did he get tired or were you trying to change up the pace?
Cable: Yeah, no no, no, he.. I would have road that one, five tough runs like that in a row is a pretty good deal.
Q. Why happened on Janikowski’s missed FG?
Cable: Just pushed it left.
Q. Have you had a chance to talk to the team and see where they are mentally?
Cable: Sure we have had a team meeting today, I spoke to a number of them were disappointed but we had a tremendous effort yesterday we come out in the second half and defensively shut them down to three points, but nothing to show for it. You can put your finger on this one, its about throwing the football.
Q: Have you had a chance to talk to some of the players and gauge where they are mentally?
Cable: Sure. We’ve had a team meeting today. I’ve spoke to a number of them. We’re disappointed, but we had a tremendous effort yesterday. We came out in the second half and defensively we shut them down to three points. But nothing to show for it. You can’t put your finger on this one. It’s about throwing the football.”
Q: With the record you have, you have to worry about players coming to work focused, don’t you?
Cable: Yeah. At some places I think maybe you would. Here, I feel like we have such great character in that room. It’s something we talked about today. I would not expect that from this group of men. Too good of people, too many strong leaders. I feel good about that part of it. It’s just frustrating knowing that you had another great opportunity to win and we didn’t.
Q: Will the reality of JaMarcus’ contract come into play in this discussion?
Cable: It would be tough for me to answer that. I don’t even know about his contract. For me, it would be about winning games.
Q: JaMarcus seemed pretty agitated when the offense took the field without him. He told some teammates he was angry. How do you go about handling that with him and not losing him?
Cable: He and I have always been able to talk. I would be surprised if that didn’t continue, however it works out. If he remains the starter he’s got to understand the responsibility that comes with that position. You can’t go out time and time again and consistently be that inaccurate, not have command like you need to in this league. That’s a very critical position in the National Football League. It has to be great, or at least close to it all the time.
Q: Ever consider reshuffling your receivers also?
Cable: You know, you could. We had one other time where they showed up like this early in the season. But as we spoke going into this game …. Guys were wide open. Guys were open yesterday.”
Q: What can you do to improve on third down? What can you do in practice?
Cable: Throw and catch. We do it all the time. We spend a crazy amount of time on third down. It’s just simply, throwing and catching. The protection was really, really good yesterday. There were two sacks. Both of them could have been avoidable. It was work in the pocket, and there were two other hurries the entire. That’s unheard of in this league. So, a great job by those guys up front. It showed getting Cornell and getting Robert back.
Q: Is Chaz finally ready for a bigger role in the offense?
Cable: Yes. Yeah, we’ll talk through and work through all that this week, but he certainly came out of the game in great shape.
Q: Are you even more perplexed by your passing struggles given the better down and distance vs. Chiefs?
Cable: (Yes). Because these are not third and nines and ten’s and eleven’s and things like that. These are third and fours and threes and fives and sixes. You know.
Q: How long before you consider benching DHB?
Cable: You know, I think you have to consider all things right now. In terms of throwing the football, we spend an incredible amount of time working on protection. We’ve gotten two linemen back. It certainly showed up that they are capable as a group to take care of that role. So I think right now you have to–you don’t dump it on any one person. I think you have to look at the whole thing.
Q: What did you think of Johnnie Lee as a receiver?
Cable: Okay. I thought he did okay. A couple of errant throws to him, but I’d say okay.
Q: Do you think about bringing in a veteran receiver?
Cable: We have who we have on our roster. If there was a veteran that got involved, certainly it would probably be Javon Walker but he’s already here.
Q: More two tight end sets?
Cable: Well if you look at us we’re almost 60 percent two tight ends as an so we’re already doing that.
Q: Continue to rotate at SLB?
Cable: I think it was productive. I think Sam’s done some good things. There’s a couple of things that through experience or whatever that is, having a fell for the game, he’ll get better at but I think he’s been productive.
Q: Close to decision on Ricky Brown?
Cable: I think this is the week it was planned, a week out of the cast then start the rehab and see any time we go backwards here.