By Jerry McDonald - NFL Writer
Tuesday, January 18th, 2011 at 6:34 pm in Oakland Raiders.
Second in a series of posts with highlights from the Hue Jackson-Al Davis press conference Tuesday:
– Not comparing their ability as a head coach in any way, but Hue Jackson went out of his way to ingratiate himself with his new boss more than any coach than Joe Bugel.
Bugel actually put his arm around Davis after replacing Mike White and said, “I love this man.’’
Jackson referred to Davis throughout the proceedings as “coach Davis’’ and had this to say in his opening statement:
“Obviously when I came here a year ago a lot of things were said. ‘Why you want to go work for the Raiders?’ One, I’m from California and I love being back home. But two, the opportunity to work for coach Davis. I know a lot of people quote me when I say coach because he is a coach. He was one of the greatest coaches of our time coaching a football team.
“I want you guys to know, I’ve worked for a lot of owners in this league. I’ve been on four different football teams. I started with Dan Snyder, I worked for from there to Mike Brown, from there to Arthur Blank, from there to Steve Bisciotti. And I’m not saying this because I’m sitting here. I’m being very honest with you, not one of those guys, and they’re all excellent at what they do, but I’ve never had the opportunity to sit and talk football, football, the X’s and O’s and what it takes to win in this league consistently on a consistent basis, and there’s nothing like working for coach Davis.
“I know a lot of stuff gets said about this and that, I’m telling you I’m here. I’m a walking testimony of coming here in the first year and having an opportunity to make something great. We’re not where we want to be but I’m so excited about the opportunity that the men that are sitting in the back of the room, Mike Waufle and Kevin Ross, guys that I know this past year that we did everything that we could to get this organization where we want it to be, and none of us are satisfied. We all are ready to roll up our sleeves and go to work. So I’m glad, to be here, glad to be the head coach of this football team. I plan on being here for a long time.’’
OK, it’s probably a good idea to talk up the boss. But referring to Cincinnati owner Mike Brown as “excellent” strains the credibility of the speaker.
– Davis wasn’t overly impressed with the show of support in the locker room for Cable in part because he promoted after a show of player support instead in 1997 instead of Jon Gruden, a mistake he rectified the next year after the Raiders went 4-12.
“Three of the players came to me, led by the minister, Napoleon Kaufman, who runs a church now. They wanted a guy to be the head coach, and I wasn’t sure that I wanted to go in that direction,’’ Davis said. “ I hired the line coach as the head coach because the players wanted him. They were all excited. And he was a great coach. This guy was a great line coach. His name was Joe Bugel, and uh, but those things, sometimes you relent and sometimes you don’t. But this had no chance.’’
Davis felt Cable cultivated the support because “he was through, and he also knew how to go into the locker room and get the support. Which is good. I think it’s great for a coach to get support when you’re leaving.’’
Davis seemed to find the pointed criticisms from punter Shane Lechler more amusing than disturbing.
“My first reaction was three years ago, if you get out your newspaper, Shane said publicly he wasn’t coming back, he didn’t like it here,’’ Davis said. “A month later, he was coming back because I gave him the highest paid contract of a specialist in pro football.’’
– Sounds as if the Raiders had no intention of picking up the option the contract of cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha, whose deal voided automatically anyway because he failed to meet performance incentives.
Davis acknowledged Asomugha’s skill as a cornerback and his worth in the community but noted, “that 17 million dollars can bring you two or three players that can help you win.’’
When there were stories that Asomugha wanted to play with the New York Jets and Darrelle Revis, Davis said he him asked him point blank if he wished to be traded.
“He said, `No. I want to stay. I don’t want to go.’ ‘’
– Davis on the trade which dealt a first-round draft pick to the New England Patriots for Richard Seymour: “You may not think it was a good trade. I thought it was a great trade. Still do.’’
– Wide receiver Darrius Heyward-Bey still has the owner in his corner, although it’s notable Davis didn’t use the word “great’’ when evaluating him.
“He’s going to be good. (He has) explosion. He can catch, he’s getting better, and he’s a good guy. He’s going to be good.’’
More to come in a couple of hours . . .