By Steve Corkran
Wednesday, August 31st, 2011 at 3:11 pm in Oakland Raiders.
Raiders coach Hue Jackson has become well known for his sunny disposition, can-do attitude and boundless energy. He took a “mulligan” Wednesday, informing everyone that he was “pissed” and not in the mood to be crossed.
Jackson refused to divulge the source of his disconten, though he admitted that the time constraints of being an NFL coach have prevented him from working out as often as he likes and trading barbs with the fellas at the gym.
Being winless in his first three exhibition games isn’t helping matters, either, he said.
“I like to play to win and I haven’t won yet,” Jackson said. “It’s pissing me off. That might be why I’m pissed.”
Ultimately, something set off Jackson, and he wasn’t about to hide his displeasure. No amount of prodding prompted him to say whether it was the way his team practiced, the number of injuries or what.
“He was fired up today,” wide receiver Jacoby Ford said. “I just kind of laid back and just let him be, let him just kind of go off. I stayed away from him. Kind of scared me a little bit.”
Cornerback Stanford Routt said he sensed during practice that Jackson wasn’t his usual bubbly self, saying, “We all have those days. It’s the dog days. We all have to fight through it.”
*Jackson gained a measure of satisfaction in seeing veteran wide receiver Chaz Schilens return, even it it was in a limited capacity.
Schilens worked out with a team trainer while his teammates went through position and full-team drills. He was on the field for the entire two hours and didn’t show any lingering effects from the injury he suffered against the Arizona Cardinals on Aug. 11.
That helped brighten Jackson’s mood, he said.
“It definitely helps,” Jackson said. “It helps me because, as I told (everyone), my thoughts about when these guys were going to be back and being healthy and being on the field was probably about right.
“These guys have been back and they’re out and about. Not totally, but enough to have me know and feel that by next week we’ll have these guys all healthy and in the mix.”
Schilens was not available for comment in the locker room afterward. He has been spotted working out on the field only twice since he got injured.
*Jackson has expressed his concern about his team’s run defense, pass defense and lack of quarterback pressure, at times, throughout camp. Yet, he said, he still isn’t sure what to make of his defense.
“This is how I assess our defense,” Jackson said. “This is a defense that has not had 11 starters playing together on the field yet. And we still won’t. I can’t truly where we are or what we are until we go play a game where all 11 defensive starters are on the football field, playing together, walked out there together and competing together.”
All 11 starters should be healthy for the Denver Broncos game Sept. 12. At that time, Jackson expects to get an accurate gauge of where his defense stands.
For now, he said, he is confident that he has the proper talent on the defensive side of the ball for the Raiders to have a great defense.
*Rookie quarterback Terrelle Pryor worked on his footwork and dropback with offensive coordinator Al Saunders after practice. He, too, was unavailable for comment afterward.
Jackson said it’s possible that Pryor will play Friday night, but only if he feels as if Pryor is ready.
“Do I think he wants to play and compete?” Jackson said. “Yeah, any competitor wants to do that but not at the risk of him not having success or him not being sure or anything like that. I would never want to do that. That could be just as bad as (him) going out and doing something really good.”
*Jackson isn’t backing down from his Build A Bully mantra.
The process won’t begin until the Denver game, when he can turn loose his defense and take the wraps off his offense, he said.
“We’re going to build it,” Jackson said. “Trust me when I tell you. I’m going to build this bully. I know people don’t see it yet but that’s OK. I am going to build a bully, we’re going to be a bully, we have the ingredients to be a bully and I expect this team to be a bully.”
*Long-time sportswriter Bob McGinn reported today that Pryor scored a 7 on the Wonderlic test administered to college players with NFL aspirations.
Now comes word from ESPN’s John Clayton that Pittsburgh Steelers general manager Kevin Colbert administered the test on Pryor and confirmed that Pryor scored “significantly higher” than what McGinn reported.
*Ford has not played in any of Oakland’s exhibition games because of the broken left hand he suffered early in camp. Jackson said he isn’t sure if he is going to let Ford play Friday.
“I’m prepared enough where I can actually go out there and just kind of hit the ground running,” Ford said. “That’s something me and Darren (McFadden) have both talked about, just because we both know what it’s like to be out there and play. As far as missing this game, I’d be fine, but if I have to play a little bit, I don’t mind at all.”
*Speaking of Ford, Jackson said Ford is going to return kicks this season and might even be on the field for punt returns in certain situations.
“I got one guy in my mind, and he’s the best in football. His name is Jacoby Ford,” Jackson said, when asked about who is his kick returner.
Ford said he appreciates the confidence Jackson has in his return ability.
“He’s giving me the kudos, I’ll accept it,” Ford said. “That’s the just the kind of confidence he has in me. I’ve got his back and he’s got mine. We just kind of complement each other that way.”
*Starting tight end Kevin Boss said he suffered a sprained knee ligament against the 49ers.
He is doing some light jogging these days and hopes to be healthy enough to play in the opener.
“Right now, we’re just focusing on getting back as soon as possible,” Boss said. “We haven’t talked about it but that’s my plan, to be back for that.”
Boss said he feels blessed to have come away from the helmet-to-knee shot with only a sprained medial collateral ligament.
“It’s definitely frustrating, but I’m trying to look at the bright side of it,” Boss said. “It could have been a lot worse. Luckily my leg wasn’t planted. So I’m trying to look at it that way, but it definitely has been frustrating, but I’m going to be back soon and be ready.”
*Some coaches tend to sit on players who are in danger of being cut for fear of exposing them to other teams, who might claim them off waivers based on an impressive showing in an exhibition game.
“I don’t subscribe to that,” Jackson said. “We’re going to play our players who are supposed to play in this game based on our organization’s view of what we think is best for our team.”
The Raiders play their final exhibition game Friday night against the Seattle Seahawks. That leaves ample time for a player to change the coaches’ mind before the final roster cutdown less than 24 hours later.
“It can change,” Jackson said. “As you know, a lot of stuff can happen in the last preseason game, things that are very unfortunate. Somebody could get nicked or whatever all that is. You never know.
“We’re just going to keep working it. When it’s all said and done the guys that are here after this preseason game are the guys we think can help this organization win a championship. That’s all that we’re after.”