A transcription of Raiders coach Tom Cable’s press briefing with the local media Monday:
Intro: After getting a chance to look at it on tape, my feelings after the game were justified on film. It’s disappointing, it’s a setback, but it’s not going to determine what we are. The most disappointing thing was just coming out and not cutting it loose. I think that, probably more than anything, bothers me on film. But every issue that’s on that film, we’ve been through and probably had it happen already during preseason and have been able to fix it, so we need to be a little more focused, a little more attention to detail, and don’t let this one beat you again. That’s really the big issue.
Q: Any injury updates?
Cable: I’ll do that all on Wednesday.
Q: Tough day for Jason Campbell in his debut, how did he handle adversity?
Cable: You know, he seemed fine on the sideline. I couldn’t tell you in terms of the huddle. He didn’t mismanage anything or anything like that. He was fine. I think he just kind of represented our whole football team, just really not able to turn it loose and play. A little too cautious for all of us, and that’s just unfortunate, especially in your opener, because you really thought you’d go down there and make a statement, and we didn’t do that.
Q: Something with the snap count that allows them to get off the ball so quickly?
Cable: It’s loud. It’s really loud. Maybe they see something, but that’s really kind of that deal in that stadium, if you do your homework, you kind of know they lead the league in false starts and all those kinds of things.
Q: Did you identify any tipping off of the snap?
Cable: That’s a great crowd. Seriously. Guys, if you do your homework, they’ve led the league for years now in opponents’ false starts, pre-snap penalties.
Q: Did you see a change in Jason’s demeanor and confidence?
Cable: No, no, no, no no. Jason’s fine. Just we had a bad day. We’re not going to sit around and overanalyze it or overcook it. We’re going to look at what the issues are and fix it. We feel great about our team. We just really did not play very well yesterday, but the cool thing is you can put your hand on what it is. It’s unfortunate at the same time.
Q: Was Jason gun shy at all after getting sacked a few times?
Q: How do you fix the protection issues?
Cable: Keep working at it. We’ve got to play better at tackle. That’s the bottom line here. We’ll do that. We’ll keep working at it, putting it together, using different ways to help them. We’ll just coming up with a process to help those two guys with their issues.
Q: Will you keep the same starting line this week?
Cable: I don’t know. We’ll see about all that as we get down the road. There were some positives in that game. We ran the football pretty good and consistently with a nice average. Darren I thought played extremely well when you got a chance to go look at the film. There was some improvement in that area. If you remember in preseason, that was my concern. I didn’t think we were very consistent in running the football, and certainly I think showed up well yesterday. Just their ability to throw and make some chunk plays that we didn’t do.
Q: Jason at one point used the word “flat.” How can a team be flat for the opener?
Cable: I don’t know. I don’t think you can sit around. It’s funny because there’s 16 of us or actually 15 of us today sitting around, wondering the same thing. I’ve looked at a lot of stuff. We’re not the only ones that really kind of feel like we didn’t go out there and get done what we expected to get done. And take your hat off to Tennessee. They’re a good team. They played their tails off, the runner’s good, all those things. Great home-field advantage. All those things. But, no excuses. We didn’t play well enough to win.
Q: Some players talked about nerves being an issue, any evidence of that?
Cable: I know who said that, and I wouldn’t expect that out of a veteran player. I think we were pretty calm. I looked at the young guys, probably took my key from them, and they were not nervous at all and ready to go. Rolando played a fine game, as did Lamar. There were a lot of positives from the guys you might expect to be nervous, so I don’t know that we were nervous.
Q: Do you think in your heart of hearts that this O-line is fixable?
Cable:Yeah, I do. It has to be. I do believe that.
Q: What did you think of Veldheer on film?
Cable: Very competitive. He battled and battled and battled. There were some timing issues with the whole offense, and that starts with the snap. Those are some things to work on.
Q: Some snaps got away – pin those on Veldheer, or were they catchable?
Cable: One was over his head, so that’s definitely on the center. The other one was right on his left thigh, and we just mis-handled it.
Q: Do you regret at all putting a Division II center in that kind of environment as the starter for his first game, and is it possible that exposing him to all that will be a good thing?
Cable: Yes and no on the first part, yes on the second part. How he handled himself was good. You always question yourself when you don’t win, and some of that was part of the issue, for your ability to operate offensively. So yes and no on part I, do I question whether I should have put him in there in that environment. And as for how he did, he battled his tail off.
Q: What will your biggest focus be in the passing game this week?
Cable: Just relax and go play. Just cut it loose. That’s what we are. One thing we know about us is when we just go play fast and cut it loose in any of the three phases, that’s when we’re a good football team. And I think to come out and to not get busy right away kind of set us back, and we kind of took a backseat approach to it rather than being the driver, and that’s what we have to be.
Q: What did this do to the young players’ confidence?
Cable: I doubt it does anything, quite honestly. We’re kind of pissed off, if I can say that. We’re not feeling sorry for ourselves. It’s a setback. It’s part of life, so that’s the way we’re dealing with it. We’re really kind of angry about what happened. We will expect to go back there and win that football game. Just leave it at that. So our confidence isn’t hit at all.
Q: This loss easier than last year’s last-second loss to Chargers?
Cable: Absolutely, but also let’s be realistic. Because as we talked, that’s what we have to, we have to put this behind us. But we’ve gotta learn from it. We’ve got to take so much. At the end of the game last night, or in the locker room, I asked ‘em, bring your notepads and bring an open mind tomorrow, cause we got a lot of work to do. We gotta straighten some things out. And when you see the film, as we talked in the team meeting, when you guys go look at this film, you’re gonna be very shocked and a little bit angry to see yourselves doing things that we used to do. Things we haven’t done all preseason. Things we kind of felt we had moved beyond. And there they are again.
It’s just things, taking your eyes off your man, making the wrong check in a coverage look, making the wrong protection call, taking a shorter drop rather than a five-step drop. Those kinds of fundamental little issues, you put your hands all over it. But we should put it behind us. Cause you can’t do anything about it now, other than learn from it. And it’s not gonna determine whether we win this week as long as we handle it the right way. If we learn from it, take from it what we’re supposed to, then we’ll be fine. Maybe our only setback, who knows? But I know this was a difficult pill to swallow, because we just expect more of ourselves now.
Q: Are you confident that the team from the preseason that wasn’t making those mistakes is the real Raiders?
Cable: Yeah, absolutely. Yeah, absolutely. That’s a tough place to go and play. We knew it would be, and so we made a kind of a deal about understanding the environment and being able to handle it — the great test on the road and all that. We just didn’t do that part. That’s what it is, but we’re going to have other issues like that down the road. We’ve got to go to Pittsburgh and go to Jacksonville, Denver, Kansas City, and down to San Diego. We’ve got to go to Arizona in a couple of weeks, so we’ll have that same kind of issue. Maybe not as boisterous a crowd if you will, but we’ll have to deal with some of those same things. And so, this can be a great, great deal for us if we use it the right way.
Q: Would you say Sunday was McFadden’s best performance since you’ve been here?
Cable: Yes. Yep, complete game. Quality. Would’ve liked to have maybe seen him come out and hit a homerun. That would’ve made even more complete. But consistently ran it hard, read it right, protected it, caught it, but we’ve already talked about that. When he’s healthy, that’s who he is.
Q: Even during the Chiefs game, his best yardage game, he didn’t have to break tackles and in practice you don’t tackle much. So, how did you know that about him?
Cable: Well I think, you know, we actually tackled more this year in camp than we had in the past, but your point is correct that you don’t do so much that you really know. I think that’s him probably hearing you all question whether or not he’s for real. So, good job by you guys.
Q: Run defense was stout early and then . . .
Cable: Yeah but one run. Like we talked about with them, we can’t take those back. If you could, you’d say ‘Gosh that’s a pretty good day, we’re making progress.’ But you don’t miss a tackle right in the hole and give up a seventy-something yard run. Period, end of story. That’s what it is. It reflects on all of us. It’s not good enough yet.
Q: How do you get Zach more involved in passing offense?
Cable: Again, when you look at the film there’s a lot of guys open all over the place. It’s just in the first two series he was sacked three or four times. You stand back there with those goons chasing you like that and get hit that many times. We have to fix that first. Let him get comfortable.
Q: What happened on Nate Washington TD?
Cable:Came out of coverage.
Q: Any Michael Bush update?
Cable: I’ll let you know on Wednesday. We’ll know all of that.