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Post-draft Cable Q&A

By Jerry McDonald - NFL Writer
Saturday, April 24th, 2010 at 10:46 pm in Oakland Raiders.

A transcription of Tom Cable’s post-draft press conference:

Cable: Let me open up by just talking about the draft. I feel like we’re lucky. You get 11 players and what I mean by 11 is the nine that we drafted over the last three days. Obviously we used an earlier three on Kamerion Wimbley and then an earlier five on Groves, Quentin Groves the defensive end. Put those guys together, that’s your draft. We made a couple moves inside the draft that were very beneficial for us as a football team. After that the thing that is most important is we improved our team. We filled a lot of needs. That’s how you would categorize draft, a need-filled draft for the Oakland Raiders.

Q: Does the positive perception of this draft change the culture of negativity?

Cable: You know how I’ve been. For a while I’ve said at some point things will start to change. The only way to do that is to do things that make people feel like there’s change, make it feel like you’re improving your team and doing what it takes to improve your team. If that’s the feeling out there it would be second to the feeling in that draft room. We realized when we got going in this thing that there was a great feel that we were getting good football players. Guys that you could see how they’d have a chance to compete and compete on this team for jobs and
help us be a much better football team.

Q: Jason Campbell told NFL Network he believed he was the starter, what does that mean for JaMarcus Russell?

Cable: We really never got into any of that. What it comes down to is that we’ve got five quarterbacks now and we’re going to have a great competition. There will be some decisions to be made here in the next month or so, whatever that is. We’ll just leave it at that until we get through some of those decisions. Right now we felt like adding Jason to this football team was very important. He’s a guy in need of a fresh start himself. He’s proven that he can do some things and have some success in the NFL. We’re all familiar enough with Jason to know that
we’re getting a guy who has proven he can play in the NFL. We have five quarterbacks. We’ll have great competition and we’ll have decisions to make here real soon.

Q: Surprised Bruce Campbell slipped to fourth round?

Cable: As I said all along, he’s a numbers guy, extraordinary numbers really when you get down to it for an offensive lineman. We like him. We got him right where we thought he fit. The feeling in the room was the draft kept coming to us. When he was there it was pretty much a no-brainer. It gave us more depth, it gave us more competition in the offensive line. It’s a good pick really.

Q: When did you first start talking to the Redskins?

Cable: We worked on it a little bit. Once we were able to see where we were at and what we need to do to get this team to where we want it to go then it became obvious, let’s get to work on trying to improve it. The quarterback talk came out. Once that happened we moved quickly.

Q: Any way JaMarcus could start?

Cable: Well sure there is if he competes for the job and he’s doing all those things that your starting quarterback is supposed to do. If he’s the best guy than yeah.

Q: What special skill does Jason Campbell bring to the mix?

Cable: You know, probably you’re looking at a little more height, more arm than a couple guys, pretty good athlete, can run around like a couple guys. So he may have a little bit of everyone in him, to be quite honest with you. I don’t think you’d categorize him like you would JaMarcus or categorize him like Charlie or Bruce, Kyle. I mean, they’re all kind of different in their own way and I suppose Jason’s got a little bit of everybody in him.

Q: Filled a lot of needs, anything you missed in the draft that you’d liked to have had?

Cable: Yeah, I mean, you know, I thought there was another move to get in there, it didn’t come our way. But very pleased. But, you know, you can always do better. I’m sure after we have some time to reflect on it, Jerry, we’ll look on it and say, ‘Man, I wish we could’ve done that or that.’ But shoot, man, that’s a heck of a draft for the Raiders. It really is. And as you said, you can put some checkmarks next to some very important issues in this football team.

Q: Is Campbell a better fit for this offense than he was for West Coast?

Cablel: I don’t know about all that. I just think he fits for what we’re doing. All that stuff, this game’s really about opportunity, and catching some breaks and having good people around you, regardless of what system you’re in. So I just think he’s got something new to look forward to, as do many players on this football team, and hopefully we are a good fit for him.

Q: Is Jacoby Ford your punt and kickoff guy now, and how far is he from being an NFL receiver?

Campbell: There’s some work that needs to be done. I don’t think he’s any different than a lot of guys coming out of college. But specifically, you kind of hit it on the head. I’m looking for that guy to see if he’ll take the reins of our return game and become a guy like that for us. And I think those are the expectations early on, as we get ready to have mini-camp next week and get ready for OTAs after that. But there’s certainly a role for that on this football team, and we picked him with that in mind. He’s obviously a very fast guy. He shared return duties with C.J. Spiller, which is a pretty tough guy to share ‘em with. But prior to C.J. getting all the returns, he was the guy in high school and prep school and early at Clemson, and he’s really about as phenomenal as C.J. Spiller was. So we just felt like have to do it, gotta have it, because, you know, we need to change the game in the return game. We’re very good at covering kicks here. We’ve proven that for a period of time now. But we’ve not been very good in the return game and hopefully he can add to that.

Q: Whose decision to trade down?

Cable: Well, it’s the best thing for us. One thing I’m really proud of, I think as a team today, the organization, and that includes everyone, the coaches and the scouts and everybody involved, the owner, we were in synch. We worked together on it, and it just made the most sense, you know? We were fortunate when it was time to do those things that our guy, A or B, was still there. And so you knew you were gonna get A or B, and you could afford to move around a little bit. And it just worked out good for us.

Q: Excited about seeing Bruce Campbell on special teams?

Cable: I think that’s what you do with someone like that. You know, in high school he was a defensive lineman, a defensive end in fact, as well as an offensive lineman, and then went to Maryland and played on the offensive line. Can run, can jump. He’s extremely trim, big guy. But right now we’re gonna put him there at right guard and right tackle and let him go to work. And let’s get him started there and we’ll see what else he can do after that.

Q: So he can be an inside player for you?

Cable: Definitely. Yeah, definitely.

Q: Who contacted whom about Jason Campbell?

Cable: We were contacted. We were contacted by a lot of people, first of all. That was just one of the many phone calls. So, you listen to some, some you don’t. That one we happened to listen to.

Q: Washington struggled protecting Campbell, how might your offensive line mesh with him?

Campbell: Well, first and foremost, both offensive lines have to get a lot better. To really answer your question, the quarterback, his job is to make good decisions, get it out of his hand as quick as he can. In both places, both the units need to play much better than what they did. I don’t know how they’re going to complement each other, other than he’s going to be better at what we ask him to do and we got to be better at protecting him.

Q: What’s your take on your late-round picks?

Cable: Yeah, Goethel excites me for the fact that he’s a true inside linebacker that’s a tough, downhill player. Just as important, he’s going to enhance our special teams. That gives us a real quality guy there. Ware, I liked him at corner, from Michigan State . He’s a guy that’s extremely good playing the gunner in special teams, was a jammer on the punt return team, but he can play man-coverage. So, you like him. McFadden, probably to us, he was the one we were really geeked about today because we thought he was going to go earlier. And he was there for us. We think he definitely can come in and help this football team right away. Ford, we talked about the kick return ability. I would think Goethel, McFadden, Ware, Brown, all those guys there, can have a real role on this football team.

Q: Have you talked to Russell, and will he be at the mini camp?

Cable: Yeah, there’s no reason for him not to be here. I have not talked to him yet. I haven’t talked to anyone other than the players that have been drafted and focused on that. We’re working on free agency right now. We’ll reach out to who we need to.

Q: Is Bruce Campbell’s big issue his consistency?

Cable: You hit it on the head, the consistency in how he plays the game fundamentally, He is raw. You’ve got like this giant piece of clay to develop here. It’s a good piece to work with. There are some things fundamentally that he will improve on very quickly because of the athleticism, because of the fact that at this level he’s going to have to figure that out very quickly because of the competition. Probably the biggest thing that I see for Bruce is that Bruce is going to have to understand that at this level it’s such a demanding thing every day in your life as an offensive lineman. How you take care of your body, how you train, all those (things). He’s going to be great at that because he already looks like a monster the way he is, looks, is built, the whole thing. But, mentally, how you prepare, how hard you work every day, how hard you have to play every time the ball gets snapped will be the first hurdle he has to get over. Once he does that, this guy is going to be something.

Q: To clarify, was Jason Campbell told that he is the unquestioned starter?

Cable: No, no. I was in that conversation. It was Al and I. We didn’t even ever talk about that. In his mind, he’s coming to compete, he’s been a starter, so I can certainly respect that. But it never was part of the conversation. So, it’s really insignificant right now. That will be decided (later).

Q: Did you talk to Heyward-Bey about Bruce Campbell?

Cable: Yes, I did. Yep. One of the things that I value a lot through this whole process is the players on our team that have been around these guys that we’re drafting or potentially are going to draft. I put a lot of weight on that because I trust these guys. They’re Raiders, and they know that what we’re trying to build is what they want, and that’s to win and succeed. So, I just tell them, ‘Tell me straight, can this guy help us be a playoff team or not? If he can’t and you can tell me why he can’t, I’m good with it. If he can, and you can tell me why he can, I’m good with that, too.

Q: The early reviews are positive, compare how you feel today with how you felt last year?

Cable: I think we’re very excited right now. We can walk out of the building today and we’re going to say, you know what, the Raiders got better today, we improved and it’s not just trying to be positive and all that stuff. It’s real, you can see it, it’s there, it’s not just saying it, I think it’s everyone that knows this game and knows the draft and all those kind of things. We walk out of this place a better football team. So we’ll go to minicamp and we’ll go to work. It’s time to build that football team now. But we’re better and I think that’s the way everybody feels.

Q: But you’re feeling better than in past years?

Cable: I think there’s a little more excitement, because we were able to get who we wanted with the first pick and we were able to get who we wanted with the second pick and we were able to do it by moving around a little bit and creating more for our team down the road, and that was really cool. Then we get to the third pick, and we said, let’s be patient, let’s be patient, it’s our turn, and then the guy we said we wanted to have was there. I mentioned after the first day, everyone wanted to have Okung and Williams, those tackles, they’re good players, but they’re not (there), you’ve got to do a great job evaluating, and where we were going to be, Veldheer was the guy for us and it just worked out, so we felt like we were able to move back, get a couple of picks, we got who want, got who we want, then we got the tackle we wanted, and it was like, right on, man, let’s see what Saturday brings and we’ll go from there.

Q: How long should Gradkowski be off the field and how much of a setback is it?

Cable: I don’t know that it does right now. I don’t know the exact answer for you on that. I know he’s going to be ready prior to camp. So that means this summer sometime. He’s probably not going to do a lot between now and then. Any time you get injured it sets you back, so that’s not good in that sense. I know Bruce, as soon as I say, hey, are you ready to go?, man, he’s kicking and screaming saying, here I go. From that standpoint. I don’t think it’s going to hold him back. The injury in itself is going to keep him from getting work, but we’ll have him for camp. That’s the best way to look at it.

Q: You have to make tough business decisions, but how hard is to part with a guy like Morrison?

Cable: I’m glad you brought that up. I think, from me, personally, to Kirk, thanks. Thanks for working. Thanks for being a Raider. Thanks for his honor. You guys know me, that’s big deal to me and Kirk Morrison is an honorable, honorable man, and the way he went at it was the right way, and so, parting with guys in this business, at this level is tough sometimes. He’s a tough one, but at the same time, he’s going to be fine in Jacksonville and he’ll do well there., but you’ve got to take your hat off to Kirk and what he stood for being an Oakland Raider.

Q: Couldn’t find a fullback to your liking?

Cable: We had a couple of guys targeted that got taken, but we’re looking at a couple of guys in free agency and we’ll certainly address it .

Q: Might you be interested in Alan Faneca?

Cable: I don’t know right now. We’ve got Robert Gallery playing left guard, who’s a fine, fine player, and hopefully he’ll be healthy this year and stay healthy, so at this point, we’re not opposed to anything, but I’m not that sure it makes the most sense to us.

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  • RNOraiderFan

    THX Steve, for the info. Gotta run CYA Nation!

  • SteveAlford21

    4eva,

    Having lots of players at that position doesn’t equate to “Great depth.” We don’t even have great starters on the OL…

  • lefty12

    Steve,sorry,but I don’t see it.The guy has done nothing to warrant all the admiration he gets here.

  • http://ibbahttp://i380.photobucket.com/albums/oo249/the408RAIDER/749px-I-420svg.png 4evaRaider

    RNOraiderFan….Thats what Cable said,we might use him at DE

  • http://none The Real MaddenRaider

    The draft was impressive. Now we just have to wait and see how Al screws it up.

  • SteveAlford21

    Lefty,

    I can only speak for myself, but I haven’t been giving him admiration, merely stating that of the available QBs, I thought he was the best option at a reasonable price. For the potential and the price, I put him above Campbell, but that’s not exactly high praise… considering I think it would be a 50/50 run between Grads and Smith… and I don’t think Grads is the answer, don’t think he’s elite, just think he’s the best option on the roster. Hopefully Campbell proves me wrong about him. Oh, and I am a Kentucky fan, fyi… don’t give two s-h-i-t-s about Ohio State.

  • Coach Elkins

    RNOraiderFan-I don’t get schooled when discussing football..

    You must be mistaken….please find a link anywhere on the net where I have been schooled discussing this sport…

    You all result to emotional responses…can’t stay on task and be objective…always have to insult..thereby admitting your lack of intelligence toward any matter at hand…

  • http://tada Florida Pete

    Florida Pete Says:
    April 24th, 2010 at 11:59 pm
    jack bauer has jamarcus russell in the interrogation room… russell is tied up to a steel chair that is bolted to the floor…

    Bauer: says here that you were paid 36 million dollars to play quarterback for the Oakland raiders…

    says here you thought the money was for free…

    says here you never even tried…

    Bauer leans in real close…

    Bauer: did you know i’m a raider fan ???

    here, I want you to hold this…

    Russell: wha… what is it…

    Bauer: it’s a bomb… but you won’t have to worry…

    Russell: why is that ???

    Bauer: because it’s set to go off when you give a schitt…

  • Coach Elkins

    I’ll take you all on without a blink…never needing your approval…and be proven correct…regarding any football topic…

  • Seymour Bush

    “coach” elkins is a joke. I know little tiny kids that know more about the game than that clown.

  • Coach Elkins

    Prove it

  • http://ibbahttp://i380.photobucket.com/albums/oo249/the408RAIDER/749px-I-420svg.png 4evaRaider

    Henderson….took on the best DE’s in the league and held his own.Way above average

    Gallery-if he can stay healthy Pro-bowler

    Satele-hmmmm jury still out

    Road Grader Walker- Huge very good strong player

    RT- Barnes – could be PB’er too.

    This O-line can be very good,imo big and fast.Plus the guys behind them are young and strong,sooo Steve I think we have a way above average O-line going into camp

  • Try Some Reality

    Kell and TJ will make sure that it’s a racial debate… even though I have been calling for us to get Troy Smith for weeks and I still am calling for that, they will call me a racist for not wanting Campbell over Grads, even though my opinion is football-based.
    ============================================
    For sure they will. Because they are racist bigots. KK is in here all the time making white jokes and calling people peckerwoods. Spewing religious hate and the like. When Grads was going into his first start he was pissed as he11 and poked fun at the “white boy with family values”.

  • raider91

    Kellen Heard’s talent is there, but he supossedly has work ethic issues, well hopefully he pans out. I bet the money will at least motivate him, Unlike Russell which got paid right off the bat, and thats all he wanted.

  • lefty12

    Chane Moline from UCLA looks interesting,but I looked him up on UCLAs site and he seems kind of old for a college player.His year of birth is listed as 1925.
    Elkins-anyone can claim to know football.By your posts you seem to contradict your self evaluation.

  • SteveAlford21

    4eva,

    I like your optimism, but I just don’t see anything worth getting excited about on the OL yet… particularly C, RG, RT.

  • Coach Elkins

    How so lefty

  • Coach Elkins

    What “seems” to contradict in your eyes?

  • http://ibbahttp://i380.photobucket.com/albums/oo249/the408RAIDER/749px-I-420svg.png 4evaRaider

    Steve….

    If the starters (who-ever they are) can just stay healthy….WOW I just think that our 8 year winter is finally over :)

  • lefty12

    The fact that you claim to have any knowledge of the game.

  • Coach Elkins

    Our 8 year winter is no where close to over!

    You are thinking with your heart, not your head.

  • Coach Elkins

    What shall we discuss?

  • Seymour Bush

    Coach Elkins Says:
    April 25th, 2010 at 10:35 am

    Cable is a politician….doesn’t know his football(x’s and o’s)
    =====================================================

    At UCLA in 04-05 Cable was the Offensive Coordinator and ranked 5th in the nation in scoring offense. Prior to UCLA, he was at the University of Colorado as Offensive Coordinator which was ranked 14th in the nation in total offense. All the offensive coordinator does is x and o. So, either you are wrong, or opponents just let Tom Cable win because they like him. Which is it?

  • http://ibbahttp://i380.photobucket.com/albums/oo249/the408RAIDER/749px-I-420svg.png 4evaRaider

    I think you are wrong Coach Elkins…

    we shall see

  • http://raiders.com A.B. Paine II

    Here is a quote from Coach Elkins, “Here’s a prediction. Jamarcus Russell will retire as a Hall-of-Fame Oakland Raider while Tom Cable will be fired following the end of this season. Write that down coach!”

    http://bleacherreport.com/articles/195703-why-tom-cable-is-under-more-pressure-than-jamarcus-russell

    You sure got that one right, didn’t you?

  • Coach Elkins

    Q: Is Campbell a better fit for this offense than he was for West Coast?

    “I don’t know about all that. I just think he fits for what we’re doing. All that stuff, this game’s really about opportunity, and catching some breaks and having good people around you, regardless of what system you’re in. So I just think he’s got something new to look forward to, as do many players on this football team, and hopefully we are a good fit for him.”

    Tom Cable

  • Coach Elkins

    Paine II…good find…but there are more!

  • Seymour Bush

    After that Cable joined the Atlanta Falcons as their Oline coach, his lst gig in the league. Cable’s main responsibility was to get their O linemen better, work the blocking schemes and work with the OC on xing and oing. Atlanta led the NFL in rushing.

  • Coach Elkins

    A better one would have been the article where I predicted that Carolina would win the Super Bowl

  • lefty12

    Are you Randy Hanson?

  • http://raiders.com A.B. Paine II

    Coach Elkins=Randy Hanson LOL

  • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I3ng4yHw2xk&feature=PlayList&p=E565EF0DE2F587FA&playnext= Raider75

    speakin of racial jokes…

    Tebow might be the most talked about white Bronco since OJ.

  • http://www.nataliegulbis.com Richochet

    # RNOraiderFan Says:
    April 25th, 2010 at 1:05 pm

    Richochet, I remember everyone schooling Elkins on MVR. I did a few times myself. I remember about a year ago he was sayin he was getting a job with the Raiders. What a joke this clown is! Elkins you call yourself a coach? I coach HS ball and am only a OL and DL coach, and every conversation we had about football on MVR you got schooled. You quit even going to MVR because you could not take the beatings anymore. I remember some of your last posts, saying you would be a coach with the Raiders. Are you a coach with the Raiders yet? Loser.
    ================================

    Yeah, that was pretty funny. Elkie kept running his “I sent in all this info to Al. When he reads it, he’ll call me. I guarantee it. I’m going to be the next head coach of the Raiders. I GUARANTEE IT.”

    That was back when Shell was HC.
    Then again with Kiffin, lol…where his “paperwork must have gotten lost in the shuffle.”

    That was a classic when I dug up that high school he got canned from…he NEVER lived that down.

    Oh…wait…I feel a youtube reply coming on….

    wait for it………..wait for…it…………

  • Seymour Bush

    # Coach Elkins Says:
    April 25th, 2010 at 1:23 pm

    Prove it
    ======================================

    Proved it. Now maybe you can coach a lamaze class.

  • Dustin Grant

    Pumped from the best weekend as a Raider fan in damn near the last decade! Very educated comments on the draft for the most part, and great coverage by you Jerry….Does anyone else see a comment by “Coach-Eric” and instead of being stupefied and dumbfounded, just not read it? I find that the best way to deal with dullards.
    Amazing draft weekend.
    Cambell tops it off. Playoff talk, is for the first time in years not out of the question.