441

WR/KR Ford, S Mitchell return to practice; Murphy, C.J. out

Wide receiver/kick returner Jacoby Ford is at practice today, as is backup safety Mike Mitchell. That gives the Raiders two players they haven’t seen much of this season, both in training camp and games.
Ford played in the regular-season opener, but he missed the past two games with a hamstring injury. He said Monday that he is making solid progress and expects to play against the New England Patriots on Sunday.
For Mitchell, he is on the field with his teammates for the first time since early in training camp. He has been recovering from a knee injury that he suffered in a camp drill July 31.
That means Mitchell has been out of action for almost two months. It’s likely that he will need this week and, perhaps, next to get into football shape. It’s conceivable, though, that he will get limited action against the Patriots.
Free safety Michael Huff is at practice, too, which means he passed the requisite tests for players who suffer a concussion. That was the case with Huff against the New York Jets on Sunday.
Cornerback Chris Johnson is not at practice. He strained a hamstring against the Jets on the Raiders’ first defensive series and missed the rest of the game. He had a surgery on his groin midway through camp.
The only other players who missed practice are: receiver Louis Murphy (groin/hamstring), fullback Marcel Reece (ankle) and defensive end Matt Shaughnessy (shoulder).
Shaughnessy was in uniform, but he was not participating in drills. Murphy and Reece weren’t on the field at all. Rookie tight end Richard Gordon is working at fullback today in Reece’s absence.
Defensive back Ron Parker made his Raiders debut at practice today, two days after being signed to the team’s practice squad. He is wearing No. 36.
Nick Miller is returning punts in practice today, as is rookie Denarius Moore. Coach Hue Jackson replaced Miller with Moore against the Jets. No word yet on whether Jackson is going to stick with Moore or go back to Miller.

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199

Raiders strong play validates coach Jackson’s big talk

Raiders coach Hue Jackson is big on catchphrases, slogans and brash talk. He also spreads his message through signs posted around the facility, including in the locker room.
Yet, he realizes that none of it resonates with the players unless they see their hard word and dedication manifest itself in victories on the field.
To that end, Sunday’s convincing 34-24 victory over the New York Jets counts as more than one tick in the win column. It’s one of those victories that transcends the standings.
“That’s what validates it all,” Jackson said. “That’s where your credibility comes from, when the things you talk about and the things that you stress start to show up in games and start to show up on video. Once upon a time, I am sure players liked to do it their way, what they thought was the best way.
“And now we’re doing it the way that coach Jackson sees it, and it’s getting to be fun. Because I truly believe it gives them a chance to have success. And they have to see that. They have to see the realism in that, and they are.”
The Raiders beat a team that played in the AFC Championship Game each of the past two seasons. Now it’s on to a Patriots team that went 14-2 last season and is in the midst of a sustained run of excellence over the past decade or so.
Some teams might complain about playing the Jets and Patriots in back-to-back games. Not Jackson. He embraces the challenge and is eager to see how his players respond.
“This team has the best quarterback in football, they have the best coach, they’ve been the Super Bowl champion,” Jackson said of the Patriots. “It’s going to be tremendous challenge for this football team. But that’s what this is all about, every week to go out and compete against the best. This is the best of the best week in and week out. There are no easy opportunities in this deal. And, again, if we’re going to become the team that we can become, these are the challenges you want.”

MCFADDEN GETS HIGH PRAISE
Blocking for running back Darren McFadden is something that rookie left guard Stefen Wisniewski finds much to his liking.
“Yeah, it’s fun,” Wisniewski said. “Shoot, you block a guy for 2 seconds and you look, and he’s 50 yards downfield. It makes our job easy. Sometimes we make him look good, we open a big hole, and other times we miss a couple of people but he makes us look good anyway. So it works out well for everybody.”
The wide receivers play a huge part in McFadden’s success, too. Against the Jets, receivers Derek Hagan and Chaz Schilens delivered key blocks downfield on McFadden’s 70-yard touchdown run.
Blocking is something that is emphasized among Raiders receivers, Hagan said, and it’s something that the receivers take pride in doing.
“Darren’s a dynamic playmaker and, whenever the ball is in his hand, our job is pretty much just to block for him,” Hagan said. “If the receivers are out there blocking and the O-line is out there blocking, it’s just going to spring longer runs for us. That’s what happened yesterday.”
Hagan said he and his receiver mates are conscious of making sure that McFadden is free to do his thing once he reaches the secondary.
“We figure that our man, a (defensive back) should not be tackling a running back,” Hagan said. “A running back should not have to worry about the DBs tackling them because, most of the time, when a safety or a corner wants to tackle a running back, they’re trying to hit him below his kneecaps. That’s something we definitely don’t want to happen. So, we just try and stay on our man and make sure Darren doesn’t have to worry about that.”
Tight end Kevin Boss sealed off the Jets defender on the left edge on the 70-yard run. That enabled McFadden to turn the corner and find daylight.
Boss said he gets more satisfaction out of blocking than he does receiving, especially since he wasn’t regarded as a good blocker coming out of college.
“He’s one of the best backs that I’ve seen play,” Boss said. “He’s fast, he runs hard, he runs extremely hard. He punishes the tacklers. They’re coming in and they’re going to get punished just the way he runs. He’s exciting. He’s fun to block for. You know he’s going to hit the hole and he’s going to be out the other side before you know it.”

MCFADDEN INJURY UPDATE
Speaking of McFadden, Jackson said he isn’t concerned about the tight groin that bothered McFadden late in the game and prevented him from finishing.
McFadden wasn’t available in the locker room Monday. He dismissed the injury after the game, though, and said he’ll be fine.
Jackson seemed to be of the same belief.
“You had to mention that name,” Jackson said, knowing it was coming at some point. “No, I think he’ll be fine. I really do. It tightened up on him moreso than anything. I’m going to be very cautious with him to make sure he’s OK, but he’ll be fine.”

BROWN HAS INSIDE SCOOP ON PATRIOTS
Raiders backup linebacker Ricky Brown spent a few weeks with the Patriots during training camp before he was released.
He came away from the brief experience quite impressed by what he saw from coach Bill Belichick, quarterback Tom Brady and the rest of the well-run operation.
“They’re an extremely hard-working team,” Brown said. “I’ve seen them practice. They’re out there conditioning. They’re out there practicing at a high tempo. And that’s all stuff, that’s a recipe for success in the NFL and, obviously, they’ve had success in the past.
“Tom Brady is a phenomenal player. He’s one of those special guys in the league and, for as hard as he plays on Sunday, he also plays that hard throughout the week.”

FORD READY FOR TEST DRIVE
Wide receiver Jacoby Ford has not played since he injured his hamstring against the Denver Broncos in the regular-season opener.
If all goes according to plan, he will be back on the field against the Patriots.
“Right now, it’s day to day,” Ford said. “This week definitely is day to day. I ran today, and that was the best I’ve felt. So far, it’s looking good for playing this week.”
Ford said he has not been cleared by trainers to turn it loose yet. The goal is to build up throughout the week and be ready to cut loose Sunday.
He added that it has been difficult watching from the sidelines the past two games. Just the same, he is finding ways to stay involved.
“Oh, yeah, most definitely, but I’m becoming the biggest fan on the sideline,” Ford said. “I always want them to do well.”

CHEKWA READY FOR STARRING ROLE
Rookie cornerback Chimdi Chekwa held up well against the Jets when called upon in a pinch. For that, he credits the talented receivers the Raiders have on their roster.
“I don’t think it helped me answer anything,” Chekwa said of his breakout game. “I do think it helped me gain some experience and feel comfortable out on the field. Practice is tough here. Going against DHB, Denarius (Moore) and Chaz (Schilens), all of them. That makes the game a little bit easier.”
Chekwa said he gained more confidence by holding up well against Jets receiver Plaxico Burress. Now, he’s ready to build upon the solid performance.
“The biggest adjustment is just getting comfortable,” Chekwa said. “In college, you’re better than a lot of the players. Now in the NFL, everybody is good. So, you have to compete on every snap. That’s the biggest adjustment. That’s what I am getting used to.”

JONES MAKES LOFTY PROMISE
Rookie running back Taiwan Jones returned three kicks for 52 yards against the Jets. Twice, the Jets prevented Jones from reaching his own 20-yard line.
That won’t happen again, Jones said. Ever.
Jones said he promised his teammates that he will reach at least the 20-yard line on every return from here on out.
“Yeah, because after some of the returns, I saw how it’s difficult on our offense to start with such bad field position,” Jones said. “So, that’s just a commitment I’m making to the team to put them in better field position.”
Jones still found other ways to contribute. His biggest contribution came when he recovered a fumbled kick return by Antonio Cromartie just after the Raiders took a 24-17 lead. The Raiders scored a touchdown two plays later for an insurmountable lead.
“You definitely never know and you just always got to be ready for anything,” Jones said. “I wasn’t expecting to be on kickoff. It was my first time on it. The coaches put me in the right spot. It was just my job to make a play on the ball.”
And, just what was Jones thinking when he saw the ball come loose?
“I was thinking ‘that’s mine. This is my time to contribute to the team,’ ” Jones said. “I was just excited to get the opportunity.”

AVOID THE RED DOT AT ALL COSTS
Wisniewski said it’s not difficult for he and his teammates to find motivation in wanting to finish plays. No one wants to be hit with the dreaded red dot.
The man wielding the red dot belongs to coach Jackson in team meetings.
“We watch the film every day together and anytime there’s somebody not finishing, he’s putting the red dot up there on you, and he’s calling you out on it. Guys aren’t wanting to take a play off. They’re not wanting to take one off because they know their teammates will see it, and it’s part of being accountable to each other.”
Jackson said he has noticed a reduction in the amount of plays that failed to meet his requirements.
“Yes, it is,” Jackson said. “It has to. Again, if we’re going to get to where we want to go, that’s one of the main goals. And I laugh at that because I’m probably the one’s that screaming all the time. I believe in that.
“I just think, we didn’t have an offseason like you would have had. So, the process is speeded up. Everything is speeded up. Players are probably hearing my voice a little bit more than they like to hear, but that’s OK. The result is what we’re after. The result is winning and losing.”

DROPPING THE U-WORD ON DENARIUS
Jackson was rather measured in his praise of rookie receiver Denarius Moore last week, saying he wasn’t surprised and that Moore simply is doing what good football players do.
Well, after another eye-opening performance from Moore on Sunday, even Jackson is finding it difficult to avoid throwing around adjectives.
“Unbelievable,” Jackson said. “He’s a guy that has grown on me like you haven’t seen. A year ago, with Jacoby, I kind of probably slowed Jacoby down a little bit a year ago by not putting him in there because I wasn’t very familiar with everyone here, and he was a rookie.
“(Moore) is a rookie and from day one through yesterday, the guy just continues to make plays. The first catch that he had on the screen and there he goes. He’s a game-changing football player who likes to play. When you have guys like that you just let them play and watch them play and watch them grow and that’s what he’s doing right before all of our eyes. I’m not going to stop him, that’s for sure. I’m just going to keep letting him do what he does.”

OTHER INJURY UPDATES
Jackson didn’t have much in terms of updates for the injuries suffered by Johnson (hamstring), free safety Michael Huff (concussion) and fullback Marcel Reece (ankle).
He said it will take a couple of days to see how the players respond to treatment. In other words, don’t count on much word from Jackson before Friday, at the earliest.

MOORE NOT SO STERLING
The Raiders released rookie cornerback Sterling Moore from their practice squad and signed defensive back Ron Parker to their practice squad.
The move comes as a bit of surprise, given how well Moore played in training camp and Oakland’s four exhibition games. It wouldn’t be surprising to see Moore signed back at some point if he isn’t signed by another team first.
Parker spent time with the Seattle Seahawks earlier this season. He played safety at Newberry College and was clocked as fast as 4.28 seconds in the 40-yard dash in a pre-draft workout.

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1,074

Raiders come of age in coming-out party against Jets

Raiders coach Hue Jackson was eager to see just how far along he was in the process of building a bully and whether his players were up for the challenge.
There had to be some concern on Jackson’s part in light of the Raiders second-half meltdown against the Buffalo Bills a week earlier in a 38-35 loss.
All the questions were answered and the worries allayed by the end of the day Sunday, as the Raiders rallied from a 10-point deficit for a 34-24 victory over the New York Jets.
“Are you kidding me?” Jackson said, when asked what the victory meant. “This is one of the greatest victories I’ve ever been a part of, and I played in the AFC championship game. But it was nothing like today because this is our fans, this is Raider Nation, this is us at our finest, the best we could be today, which is win a game. Our fans were there for us. Hopefully, they’ll continue to be there for us.”
The Raiders opened the game with a long drive that culminated with the first of running back Darren McFadden’s two touchdowns. Midway through the second quarter, they trailed 17-7 and seemed on the verge of getting blown out.
The Raiders tied the game by halftime, thanks to a 54-yard field goal by Sebastian Janikowski on the final play of the second quarter.
The tide turned when the Raiders stopped the Jets on a fourth-and-two play late the third quarter and the score still tied at 17.
Six plays later, the Raiders led 31-17 on the strength of a 23-yard run by rookie wide receiver Denarious Moore and a 1-yard run by Michael Bush.
“Last week, we didn’t dig when we were in Buffalo and we dug today,” Jackson said. “Talk about priming a pump. We were going to pump this thing out. We got to it, and our guys were believing. We’re not where we want to be yet, but I promise you this team is getting there. They’re learning how to fight in my image, my vision, my thought.”
As a result, the Raiders improved to 2-1 and kept pace with the San Diego Chargers in the AFC West.
Quarterback Jason Campbell said this was a game he and his teammates eyed as a barometer.
“I just felt like, this early in the season, this was a statement game, because of the way that we lost last week,” Campbell said. “To see a rebound this week against a tough opponent and make a statement and win a game like this, it is a statement game for our team, to let us know how far we’ve matured and how far we’ve come in trying to turn this thing around.”

MORE MOORE YIELDS MORE RESULTS
Jackson promised more playing time for Moore on the heels of his five-catch, 146-yard performance against the Bills on Sept. 18.
Sure enough, Jackson called Moore’s number on the second and third plays of the game. The first play netted 13 yards, the second 25 as a result of a pass interference penalty.
Moore remained a focal point of the offense the rest of the game. He finished with four receptions for 34 yards and turned the back end of a double reverse into a tiebreaking touchdown run late in the third quarter.
“Same thing I saw in training camp,” Campbell said. “Now we’re just seeing it on Sundays. He’s a guy that’s always been making plays and his opportunity, but he’s the same guy. It’s no surprise to us. To the outside world, it is, but we got a chance to see it first-hand in training camp, making plays and being as quick as he is.”
Moore also replaced Nick Miller on punt returns for the first time. He averaged only 5 yards on his three returns. More important, he fielded the ball cleanly and didn’t do anything to hurt his team.
“Give it to 17, Denarius Moore,” Jackson said. “Let your players make plays. That’s what I’m trying to create here. I’m going to create an environment where our great players can do something special. … (Moore) is becoming a really, really fine football player.”

MCFADDEN SHINES ONCE AGAIN
McFadden came into his own last season, when he rushed for a career-high 1,157 yards. The things he does with the ball is of no surprise to anyone.
Against the Jets, McFadden ran past, through, around and over defenders to the tune of 171 yards and the two touchdowns.
He might have piled up even more yardage were it not for a tight groin that sidelined him late in the game.
McFadden said his groin tightened up but that he expects to be fine. He has 393 yards rushing through three games and is well on his way to shattering the total he reached last season.
“It just shows what our team can do,” McFadden said. “If we come out here and play week in and week out, we can play with anybody in the league.”

NOT QUITE MILLER TIME
Seven days ago, Nick Miller was the Raiders kick returner, punt returner and backup wide receiver. On Sunday, he was a spectator.
Jackson used Moore on punt returns and fellow rookie Taiwan Jones on kick returns. That doesn’t bode well for Miller, given his value to the Raiders lies with his return ability.
It’s likely that Jackson kept Miller on the 53-man roster for today’s game just in case Moore or Jones got injured and to make sure that he liked what he saw from Moore and Jones in a game.
It wouldn’t be surprising to see Miller released at some point next week, with cornerback Sterling Moore signed from the practice squad.

PROGRESS ON PENALTIES FRONT
The Raiders aren’t quite where Jackson wants them to be in terms of penalties. However, they made progress in that department for the second straight game.
In the opener, the Raiders committed 15 penalties for 131 yards. They cut that figure to eight for 85 against the Bills. On Sunday, the Raiders were penalized seven times for 55 yards.

WHAT’S IN A NUMBER?
The Raiders failed to convert into a first down any of their eight third-down plays against the Jets.
Jackson certainly will be concerned by that alarming stat, but he won’t be alarmed, given the Raiders still managed 383 yards offense and cobbled together six scoring drives.
For the record, the Jets converted six of their 14 third-down plays into first downs. Guess which stat Jets coach Rex Ryan would have preferred today?

OFFENSIVE LINE GETTING HIGH PRAISE
Campbell attempted 27 passes against the Jets, but he was sacked only once. Overall, he has been sacked twice in three games.
That’s a pretty impressive stat, when you consider the left tackle, Jared Veldheer, is a second-year player, left guard Stefen Wisniewski is a rookie and Khalif Barnes is starting at right tackle for the first time in his seven-year NFL career.
Add to that, Jackson wasn’t sure who his five starters were going to be until late in training camp.
“You guys jumped me every day about who was going to be on the offensive line,” Jackson said in a told-you-so moment after the game. “Remember that in training camp? Oh yeah, oh yeah. Who’s the line? Who’s the line? Well, hold on. You guys were laughing at me half the time. I told you these guys were working. I give a lot of respect and kudos to our line coaches, Bob Wylie, Steve Wisniewski. Are you kidding me? Those guys do a tremendous job with that group.”
Campbell is thankful for the way his offensive linemen have kept him upright and given him ample time to make his reads as he awaits an open receiver.
“The guys came out, set the tempo,” Campbell said. “You see the block that Sammy (Satele, center) made on the reverse that sprung Denarius to score? The guys are taking that approach and having the right attitude of being a physical bunch. They take pride in working together and protecting the quarterback and protecting the run game, and it’s going to pay off for us.”
Satele delivered a punishing block on Moore’s scoring run. Wisniewski opened a huge hole for Bush on his 1-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter.

X MARKS THE SPOT, SENDS THE SIGNAL
When Raiders defensive tackle Richard Seymour was announced in the pre-game introductions, he issued a signal to those in attendance and those viewing on TV.
“When I throw up the ‘X,’ that means it’s time to put the kids to bed,” Seymour said. “It’s X-rated out there. That means if you’re 13 and under, don’t watch this.”
Not sure what Seymour means by this one. Just go with it and take him at his words. He has more Super Bowl rings and Pro Bowl berths than us, so we work with him on this one.
For the PG crowd, Seymour said he’s thrilled to be with the Raiders.
“I’ve said ever since I came here that my teammates and the coaching staff and the organization has always welcomed me with open arms, and I want to be where I’m welcomed and where I’m wanted,” Seymour said. “I know I can play football. That’s not a question. But it’s good to have it on both sides, where you’re wanted, and the team wants you and the organizations wants you, you’re well respected and you’re playing well. So it’s a great combination.”
Seymour had a hand in one of the Raiders’ four sacks of Mark Sanchez.

MOSS GETS FAT ON JETS O-LINE
Raiders backup defensive end Jarvis Moss posted two of his team’s four sacks. He also batted down a pass, had a tackle behind the line of scrimmage and recorded four tackles.

QUOTE OF THE DAY
“This ain’t the same old Raiders of the last five or six years. We made big stops when we needed to.” — defensive tackle Tommy Kelly on what today’s victory should tell the rest of the league

CHEKWA TO THE RESCUE
Rookie Chimdi Chekwa looked lost most of the time during training camp and Oakland’s four exhibition games. On Sunday, he looked like he belongs on the field in place of Chris Johnson at cornerback.
Who saw this one coming? If so, get in that short line over there.
Chekwa was pressed into duty when Chris Johnson went down with a hamstring injury early in the first quarter. The Jets noticed the change and went right after Chekwa.
Time and again, Chekwa responded to the challenge, and he looked nothing like the player who struggled so much in camp.
Veteran wide receiver Plaxico Burress caught two long passes on Chekwa, including one for a touchdown. However, Chekwa had tight coverage on both plays.
“We have some talented young guys, and once we all get healthy we have a chance to have a real talented secondary, from top to bottom,” cornerback Stanford Routt said. “(Chekwa and Joe Porter) can play. They may have had their hiccups or bumps in the road in the preseason, but keep fighting and we don’t worry about them.”
Chekwa said he was prepared to play and no longer feels overwhelmed.
“I got the nerves out in preseason,” Chekwa said. “I’m not nervous anymore. I’m just trying to gout there and attack and play football.”
Chekwa admits that covering the 6-foot-5 Burress isn’t something he is accustomed to doing. Just the same, he used the same approach that helped him succeed at Ohio State.
“Usually the guys I go against are about half his size,” Chekwa said. “But I watched him on film, knew he was a big receiver, and prepared for it. I figured if I went in, I’d go in on the right side, so I’d be matched up against him. So I
prepared for it and just went out there and tried to play.”
The play of Chekwa and Porter in a pinch validates Jackson’s next-man-up philosophy.
“Next man up,” Jackson said. “They competed. That’s what we talk about. … The next group of guys went in there and kept fighting. Our whole thing is, play like a Raider. If you’ll compete, we gave up some plays and there’s things we’ll get better at, but let me tell you something. Those guys went out there and they kept playing. You could see it in their eyes. We’re going to become something here.”

RANDOM THOUGHTS FROM REX RYAN
“First off, you’ve got to give the Raiders a ton of credit. They played a great game today, both sides of the ball. I thought they played really well. Obviously (Darren) McFadden had a huge game. They made plays, we didn’t.”

On McFadden: “Against a kid like that, you’d better set the edges. He outran us and made some great plays.”

On the Raiders game plan: “Hue Jackson had his team better prepared than I did, obviously. So, I tip my hat to him.”

On what this loss means: “This thing stings, there’s no question. You have 439 yards on offense and you lose the game. It’s unbelievable.”

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184

McFadden has groin injury, Huff a concussion, Johnson a hamstring

Raiders coach Hue Jackson just revealed that star running back Darren McFadden left the game late in the fourth quarter with a groin injury.
Jackson didn’t provide a timetable for how long McFadden might be sidelined or the severity of the injury. However, a short time later McFadden said that his groin just tightened up on him and that he expects to be fine.
That’s welcome news to the Raiders faithful, who are growing accustomed to McFadden dominating games and realize his value to the team’s overall success.
Against the New York Jets on Sunday, McFadden rushed for a game-high 171 yards and two touchdowns. He also caught three passes for 7 yards.
If McFadden can’t play against the New England Patriots next Sunday, rookie Taiwan Jones and veteran Michael Bush would get added work.
In other news, Jackson said that free safety Michael Huff suffered a concussion and cornerback Chris Johnson hurt a hamstring. Both players left the game early on and never returned.
Off to write a lengthy post off the Raiders’ impressive 34-24 victory before a sold-out crowd in the home-opener at the Coliseum.

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774

Hue Jackson wants what Rex Ryan has

Raiders coach Hue Jackson makes it clear that he and New York Jets coach Rex Ryan are two different people who just happen to be friends who once worked together.
Ryan has made a name for himself as an NFL head coach. Jackson wants to do the same. At the same time, Jackson admits that he is envious of what Ryan has accomplished in two short seasons as the Jets coach.
“He went there with a mentality that they were going to be a really good football team,” Jackson said of Ryan. “They were going to be the bullies of the east, and they are.”
By now, everyone has heard Jackson talk about his goal of “building a bully” in Oakland. When he steps on the field Sunday for the Raiders regular-season opener against the Jets, he will see, in many ways, what he envisions the Raiders becoming at some point.
Ryan talks the talk and walks the walk, as the players say. He talks big and he gets his players to back it up through their play.
Ryan’s Jets run the ball well, they stop the run well, they impose their will upon the opponent and back down from nobody, inluding the mighty Patriots.
Who can’t forget the Jets getting pounded by the Patriots 45-3 last season, only to knock out the Patriots in the playoffs?
Jackson realizes there’s plenty at stake Sunday. A victory not only would send notice to the rest of the league that the Raiders are capable of beating an elite team, it would get his players to believe that they are farther along in the process of becoming bullies than they might believe.
“I’m not Rex, and Rex is not Hue, but I’m sure we have a lot of similarities,” Jackson said. “We believe in violent, physical, tough aggressive football teams. And I’m going to build it here. I didn’t tell you it was going to happen overnight, but I’m going to build it.
“That’s what I truly believe in, and that’s what I want our football team to be. I didn’t say the Jets. It’s what Hue Jackson wants his football team to be. And we got some work to do, I understand that, we all do, but I tell you what, we’re going to work at it. And eventually we’re going to get this thing done that way.”
Ryan succeeded right away, getting the Jets to the AFC Championship Game in his first season in 2009. They returned there again last season. He keeps up the pressure by promising a Super Bowl victory each season.
He knows he can’t get reach that goal unless he has the proper players in place. To that end, an inordinate amount of time is spent searching for the proper players that fit the blueprint for what makes a Jets-type player.
“There’s some players that can play in the league, but they might not be able to play for us,” Ryan said. “There’s a lot of good players, maybe playing for other teams, that may not, quite honestly, weren’t guys that fit our mentality, whether it was their study habits, whether it was their commitment to the team, whether it was building each other up.
“Maybe there was something there that we weren’t happy with and we let them move on. And there’s other cases where we lost players we wish we could have kept. … But we’re a team. When we come out there, we have 53 players we feel strong about that they understand what we want, the team commitment and the unselfishness. So, we feel good about our team.”
Jackson said he feels good about the players he has assembled in his first season as the Raiders head coach. Sunday’s game will provide a measuring stick as to where Jackson is at in the process of building that bully.
“What Rex does is, Rex collects his kind of guys, the guys that believe what he sells,” Jackson said. “That’s what it’s truly all about. He believes in winning. He’s there because he wants to win. The guys that are there, I guarantee you, they’re there because they want to win. He believes in the system. He has a way of putting guys in position to make plays. I truly respect that.
“That’s what we’re trying to create here for our team. We’re trying to put guys in the best position to be all they can be, offense, defense, special teams. Not that we’re modeling after the Jets or Baltimore or any of that. That’s just my philosophy. I truly believe it and I’ve been around some men who do it that way that have had success.”
Jackson is like Ryan in that he arrived with a vision, is sticking to it and is confident that it will reap dividends in a timely fashion.
For Ryan, he said the process wasn’t difficult. In fact, it came naturally.
“I was just myself when I came here, and we’re fortunate, I’m fortunate, to have a lot of excellent coaches with me,” Ryan said. “It’s just something that we believed. It’s a style. I have one shot to be a head coach in this league and I was going to build it a certain way.
“Whether it’s building a bully or playing like a Jet, whatever it is, this is who’s coming in. This is our football team and this is how we play, and I guess that’s kind of our trademark of how we play. We’re a passionate football team, play snap to whistle, play 60 minutes and that’s the type of team we have and the type of character we have in our room.”
So, it sounds as if we are certain to see at least one bully Sunday. If Jackson has his way, the bully that is the Jets is going to meet his match in the new bully on the block.

Follow me on Twitter: @corkonthenfl

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