A transcript of Raiders’ coach Tom Cable at his press briefing Wednesday following practice:
Cable: Heyward-Bey did not practice, he strained a hamstring last Tuesday at practice Schilens did not practice Zach Miller practiced limited, John Henderson practiced limited, as did Nnamdi Asomugha
Q: How much work did those three do?
Cable: It was a decent amount; hopefully it will be more Thursday, We want to kind of put them so through some things today and see how they feel Thursday. If they feel like they did at the end of practice, we’re probably going to get more and more out of them
Q: That sounds encouraging …
Q: Could you rank those three, who is the farthest from coming back?
Cable: Not really. I think they’re all about the same. They’re doing well
Q: How serious is Heyward-Bey’s injury?
Cable: It’s just sore. It’s a real slight strain, not real serious, but it’s one of those things where if you push it too much too quick, it could become serious.
Q: Did Schilens have a setback?
Cable: It’s not so much a setback, it’s responded really well when we’re on the field running straight ahead; it’s just a matter of being able to cut and coming in and out of cuts. Still not very smooth yet.
Q: What has been the impact of Hue Jackson?
Cable: He has been a big lift for us in that we’ve taken some stuff he brought from Baltimore and his past at Cincinnati and put it with what was here and he’s done a nice job meshing the whole thing together.Some of the specific things, a little more gap scheme in terms of running the football and I think his idea of throwing the ball down the field bodes well for what we’re trying to do. A lot of it is play-action. It’s been a real good fit that way.
Q: Roethlisberger very good when flushed out of the pocket, what’s the best way to defend him?
Cable: I think you have to keep him in the pocket. We’re very aware that one, escapeability, he may be as good as there is. Outside the pocket, he’s dramatically, to another level, dramatically better than most. So you want to squeeze him from all angles, whether it’s with pressure or with a four-man rush. The biggest thing is if you get your hands on him is to wrap him up. I think that’s the biggest thing. That’s the biggest thing. Very good at getting out of sacks and potential traffic. And then you stay in coverage on the back end, because that’s where he does a really good job is escaping and throwing the ball down the field.
Q: How much more difficult in that you play man, whereas on zone team might be looking at him, but in man guys can’t see him or what he’s doing?
Cable: I think as long as you plaster and stay on your man, you’re in good shape. I think it plays to our hands a little bit better because we are a man team. If you’re in zone and looking to him and he escapes and moves out you start losing people in coverage.
Q: You watched last year’s game and comeback with your team what point did that serve?
Cable: I watched it last year on Monday, but we used it as part of the breakdown to some extent. I think the importance is we were just there almost 12 months ago, that we went in there, hung in there, hung in there, and found a way to win the game. I think, when you talk about when you’re going to Pittsburgh , people want to talk about their style of play, talk about their crowd, a very football savvy group of people. Just the fact that we’ve been there, found a way to have success there and just to kind of reiterate the fact that this is another team.
Q: Players have been talking about how you connect with them. Who have been your coaching influences?
Cable: I think I’ve had a lot of good influences. My college coach was Dennis Erickson. My high school coach, Dick Armstrong. Guys who have mentored me in this league, Alex Gibbs, Steve Mariucci, Keith Gilbertson. I’ve had very good fortune in terms of who I’ve been around, and I think all those guys had one thing in common and that was they connected with the players.
Q: A lot of energy today as practice opened . . .
Cable: I think that comes with success. We’ve won a few games now and you come back from the bye, we’re healthier, we’re excited for the second half of the season. You look out there, and you all do a good job of kind of telling them where they’re at and what’s ahead of them and all that. So there is a lot of excitement, a lot of energy. We’re excited about going to Pittsburgh and the opportunity that’s ahead of it. And it just comes from finding some success.
Q: How do you address the danger of being overconfident?
Cable: I won’t let that happen. We haven’t done a damn thing, and that’s been our motto. We have got to keep grinding and fighting and going to work and cutting it loose and doing what we do. I think if I ever feel like we lose sight of that, I’ll reel them back in, but that’s not us, at least not yet.
Q: Do you feel as if you still have something to prove to people about your being a contender?
Cable: You do because we have to have that feeling. For one, we haven’t done anything yet. We have won three games in a row, we’re 5-4, we missed a kick in Arizona , we didn’t score a touchdown at San Francisco . And those two things kind of, from a coach’s standpoint, really gnaw at you because you kind of know what you’re team should be. But we’re not. So, in order to accomplish anything, we have got to keep doing our job, which is getting better.
Q:Do you sense a boost in Ford’s confidence after big game vs. KC?
Cable: Not really. I’ve kind of thought from the very beginning that Jacoby had that air about him. It was just a matter of getting him acclimated him, teaching him the system and then finding out where he fits. And what coaches do is, find out where can you use a guy and what kind of role can he have. But he’s always been a confident guy in who he is.\
Q: Can you emulate the Patriots and other teams that spread out the Steelers and beat them with the pass, or are you not built that way?
Cable: We’re really not. You hit it on the head. We have to be who we are. At the same time, you look at some of the issues that they had on Sunday night was about spreading them out and mixing them up. Where do you have that fine line between what we are and what our strengths are into trying to be something maybe a little more that way, meaning spread? At the end of the day, be who you are and you might mix in a few things.