By Jerry McDonald - NFL Writer
Monday, December 19th, 2011 at 6:28 pm in Oakland Raiders.
Here’s a transcript of Hue Jackson’s weekly press briefing today:
Opening statement: Obviously after watching the tape my feelings from yesterday didn’t change. Obviously it was a tough loss. That was probably as tough a loss as I’ve been involved with in a long time. We did some really good things and obviously at the end didn’t do enough good things to win the game. Obviously when you go back and look at a game like that, there’s plays you wish you had back, there’s calls you wish you had back but at the end of the day you lost 28-27, you don’t get those back so umm…tough. And we’ve got to keep learning and growing from it. We have a big game in Kansas City. We’re not out of this thing yet, I still feel that way. This team’s going to fight. I think heading into this game everyone was concerned if the team would even show up, so one thing we know-they’ll show up. Now all we need to do is show up and go win because I think we can. Again we have some work to do and by no means are we a finished product, I think we understand that. Three weeks ago we were 7-4 and feeling pretty good about ourselves and now all of a sudden we’ve gotten to 500, so that’s not where we want to be but I think we understand the predicament that WE have put ourselves in. So what we need to do is get the ship riding and go to Kansas City and play well.
Q: Does this loss take more out of you than the previous two?
Jackson: It was a tough one, it was. When you say take more out of you, I think I probably didn’t sleep as much as you probably normally would have over the other two because thaty one was here at home in front of your fans and everybody. And I know how hard this team worked last week to put themselves in position to go win that game and how much it meant to them. So, to not walk away with it, it was tough. But one thing I know about this group, they’ll rise up tomorrow at practice and get themselves ready to go. We’re playing against a really good Kansas City team, that’s really come on and they’ll be ready.
Q: Given the disappointment in the locker room, how do you get the team to focus on getting back in it?
Jackson: At the end of the day, the urgency they showed last week is what gave them a chance to go play the way they played. And we got to do it better than we did last week, I mean obviously, to go finish the opportunity to win a game is the most important thing we do. Last week just gave us an opportunity to win, now what we’ve got to do is just put the finishing touches on so we can finish at the end to win a game. And that’s what this is all about, I mean this has gone on all year. There’s been some opportunities like this earlier in the year, so this is not a new record or anything like that. We know what the situation is and for some reason, some how, we have to get it solved and we haven’t. And it starts with me, down to our coaches, down to our players. We have to find a way to finish games, it’s not the first time we’ve had this conversation so hopefully we can get out of this taking about this business of finishing and make it a reality and win some games that way
Q: Did you think about going for two instead of the extra-point folloinwg your last touchdown?
Jackson: Honestly, I looked at it and at that time we were up by 13 and I thought you know 13, seven minutes, we’ve got a chance to get the ball. I figured there’s no way this team’s going to score 13 points. You know you look back at it now, maybe that’s a decision you could of did differently. But at the time, it wasn’t, I felt very comfortable where our team was being 13 up. Let’s kick it, let’s go in. I think the rhythm, the team was excited, the Special teams unit was out there. I was talking to the defensive coaches to get a stop, make sure we slow this team down, that’s where my head was. Not that I wasn’t into the game, or thinking about well should we be up 14, should we be up 13. I just felt very comfortable if we kick it, let’s go play defense, get this ball back three and out, let’s go.
Q: Are you doing everything you want in your own way with full autonomy, or are your hands tied in some way?
Jackson: No, I’m doing things as far as that’s concerned, the way I see it. I have great respect for ownership. Me and Mark (Davis), we have great conversations. Mark says, hey, let’s go and win the game. I know there was a question about the fourth down call, early in the game, I mean, was the guy wide open, or not? At the end of the day, if we hit that play you guys are all saying, boy, what a great call, and when you miss it, it’s three more points you could have had. Well, I understand that, and that’s part of this deal, the good coaches that make those calls and they get ‘em and sometimes you come up the wrong way and it doesn’t happen that way. I understand where we all are, but at the end of the day, there’s not just one play or two plays that wins or loses a game, and I think we all understand that. This is a team game _ this is offense, defense and special teams _ and you gotta play that way to win.
Q: Is part of having Carson as as quarterback making those kinds of calls, fourth-and-1 you got to think he’s going to put it in there, same with third-and-3 . . . if he’s not your quarterback, maybe you don’t make those calls?
Jackson: That’s not true, because I think even the third and three, I think everybody thought, and it was a long three, everybody thought that that was a go route, that’s not a go route, that’s a slant and go. If I’m not mistaken we were one of seven at that point in third downs. They had packed the box. Everybody was standing up there. The one thing this team had been biting on, and if you studied the tape, was slants, so that’s why Chaz was so wide open. It goes back to the same thing, you hit it, we’re not having this conversation. It’s not, well, we’re trying to throw the ball long. That’s not the design of the play. That’s not where it is. But I think, like I said, when you hit ‘em, it’s great, when you don’t, then you leave yourself open for questioning. It had nothing to do with Carson. I’ve made those calls with Jason Campbell at quarterback. I made a fourth-and-1 call on our side of the field against Cleveland if we can all remember, with Kyle Boller being the quarterback. Some of those things are there, and when they’re there, you have to make those plays. If you make ‘em, we all feel good, if you don’t, that’s what happens.
Q: That wasn’t the same play Louis Murphy ran against the Bears?
Jackson: No, Murphy, that was a three-by-1 set, this was a 2-by-2 set. Much different set. You can think it has some of the same elements, but it really doesn’t, a little different there than that one.
Q: Do you weigh running Bush instead, using some clock?
Jackson: You weigh running Bush, but if you go back, they had put a linebacker over the tight end, they took the safety, they had no safety help if you go back and he was four yards from the line of scrimmage, behind the linebacker, so, in their opinion they were going to stop us from running the ball. Can you say, boy, you run it, you don’t make the first down, you bleed more clock, or do you throw it and you end the game. Because you knew the play was there. You knew it was set up. That play was as there as the fourth-and-1 call was. I mean, excellent looks at ‘em both. What you have to do is execute those plays. As I’ve said before, I believe in those players, I think they can make those plays, I’ve seen ‘em in practice. We just didn’t make ‘em yesterday when they counted m ost.
Q: With no Chris Johnson, Michael Huff, all hands on deck and using Cover 2s and Cover 3s, did you think you had the personnel to execute the scheme you were calling?
Jackson: I think we do. I think playing zone, whether it’s Cover 2 or Cover 3, should in my opinion, be simple. Playing man coverage, is when it’s tough, because there’s a possibility for someone to get beat pretty quickly. I thought we wasn’t short-handed that way. If you go back to the first half, we made those plays, some of them, in order to give ourselves an opportunity to win. We just didn’t make ‘em when they count the most. You have to make plays down the stretch. As you guys know, the last two minutes of a football game is probably the most important part of the game. You make a first down, you probably win. You score, you win. You stop a team from scoring, you win. Throw all the other first 58 minutes out. Those last two minutes, you have to do the things that it takes to win, whether you make it third-and-4, whether you stop someone from getting in the end zone, or you make a play to create a turnover for the defense, whatever that is, you have to make those plays, and that’s what we have not had the ability to do this year.
Q: Looked like man to man coverage was working better than zone . . was there confusion . . .
Jackson: On what one . .
Q: The first touchdown play . . .
Jackson: The big post across the middle. Yeah, the safety didn’t get over the top. That’s true, he didn’t get over the top. The backside corner didn’t squeeze. I’m not going to say there was confusion, they beat us. The guy beat us down the middle of the field and they made a heck of a throw and play. I don’t think there’s mass confusion like everybody thinks there is. I think what’s happened is guys are in position to make plays. I mean, like I said, I said yesterday, the ball was floating up there in the air, and you would think that you’ve got a chance or they’ve got a chance to make a play and they made the play and we didn’t make the play. It’s not about who’s fault it is or this that and the other. When you have an opportunity to make a play as a player, you have make those plays, and that’s how your team wins. The players have to make plays, and at the end of the day that’s what this is all about.
Q: Was there any confusion on last touchdown play? Mitchell in the right spot?
Jackson: What happened on the last touchdown play, they checked to a … they went to empty. We made a check and the check was trying to get communicated. And Mitchell was not wrong. Mitchell was trying to get somebody moved, and they just didn’t get moved. When nobody was particularly wrong, we just didn’t get some information echoed out. It wasn’t Mitchell for sure, the safety was trying to get over and didn’t get there fast enough.
Q: Why not have Routt covering Johnson as much on the last drive?
Jackson: When you’re playing Cover-2, you’re hoping to get a re-route by someone else because you really have two guys possibly on the guy he runs through. We had him on him for the majority of the day, and obviously this guy 81 is a really good player, beat our players. And when it comes down to it, you can’t have that happen. Their good player can’t make as many plays as he made in the game like that in order for you to win.
Q: Were you happy with the defensive scheme?
Jackson: You know, obviously when you lose you’re never happy. I am not happy with what we did on offense. I am not happy with what we did on defense or special teams. I am not going to just single out the defense. We have to score more points on offense too to not put those guys in that situation. We have to make the third-down and 4 so that we’re not having this conversation. That being said, we also have to make those plays on defense too. I think some guys had some chances, we just didn’t make them. I know that’s hard to believe, because guys had chances to make plays. When you don’t make them, everything gets magnified. We need to do a better job all the way around.
Q: What happened on the blocked kick. Any errors or simply agood play on their part?
Jackson: He jumped liked you wouldn’t believe. His thumb hit the ball. Amazing. Very unfortunate.
Q: Who are the vocal leaders on defense?
Jackson: Richard, McClain, Tyvon. Richard Seymour played extremely well, played like the Richard we all know and love. I think our guys fought very hard, we just didn’t make enough plays at the end to get it done.
Q: Still holding out for Darren?
Jackson: I am holding out hope, yeah. I sure am. Until somenody tells me that he’s not, I am going to keep on holding out hope. Tomorrow we go to practice and we’ll see where he is. I know he is moving around a lot better than he has been, he’s in the building, he’s here, we’ll see where he is tomorrow.
Q: He still day-to-day in your mind?
Jackson: Yeah, he is. Until someone tells me differently, I am going to continue to proceed that way.
Q: How aware are you of playoff scenarios and what needs to happen?
Jackson: This is what I know, we just need to win. All that other stuff, I can’t worry about it. We have lost three games in a row … Miami, we didn’t play well, Green Bay, we didn’t play well, yesterday, we fought hard and lost a game that we all know we had an opportunity to win. We got two games to play, but we have to take it one game at a time. We can’t worry about anything else that could happen, might happen or any of that. We need to win.
Q: Thoughts on Kansas City, good on defense?
Jackson: That’s what I see. They slowed a very high-powered offense in Green Bay so they’re playing really good defensively. Obviously Kyle Orton playing quarterback for them gives them a spark on offense. It’s going to be a great challenge. Then again it’s these type of challenges that are really going to redefine this team. We have to go out and meet these demands and go play well. For whatever it was 57 minutes yesterday or 56 minutes, it looked pretty good for the Raiders yesterday. The Raiders were doing some good things and then we let one slip through the cracks. That’s what we have to quit doing here. We can’t do that and be the type of football team that we want to be.
Q: Wasn’t so long ago you were talking about being in control of your own destiny, now KC could catch you and leave you at the bottom. Is that motivation or something to negative to dwell on?
Jackson: To me it’s too negative to even dwell on. The way we have to approach it is we just need to go win, within our division, we know how to do it, we’ve been there before. They came down here the first time and they got after us. So we get a chance to go to their home stadium go play football the way we know how to play and play better than we’ve played and that’s what we need to do.
Q: Chris Johnson placed on non-football injury/illness list. Was it too tough emotionally for him to return?
Johnson: It’s a non-football related injury and I’d rather not get into it. Chris is moving fine and we’ll move forward from there.
Q: Updates on Jacoby Ford?
Jackson: Nothing yet. It’s going to be day to day and we’ll see where he is tomorrow. It was good to get Denarius back out there. He made a couple of plays for us. He’ll continue to get more as we move forward. Boy we’d love to have all those guys back if we can.
Q: Do you need to bring in another kick returner after concussion to McCann, or can you go with Denarius and Tyvon Branch?
Jackson: I think we’ll be OK. We got a chance to be OK. We’ll see where McCann is. It was good to see Tyvon take off like that. Gosh can he run with the ball. I was shocked when I see him back there and all of a sudden hwere comes this guy down the sideline. I’m going, ‘Are you kidding me?’ Let’s leave him back there. This guy has some skill.
Q: Is DHB destined to be up and down?
Jackson: No I hope not. What we’re going to see is a guy who is a star. I keep talking about the plays you have to make and he made some spectacular plays but again there are a couple of plays he wish he had back too which would have changed the whole dynamics of this game. There’s several players that I can point out that probably feel that way today. That’s what makes it tough. I know these guys. They work hard at it. He’s not trying to fumble the ball but you have to do everything you can to make sure you don’t. He was not trying to drop the ball but you have to make sure you do everything you can to catch it or knock the ball down or whatever that is or don’t get a penalty or whatever those things are. That’s what you have to do. That’s what really good winning football teams do and that’s what we need to become. We have to continue to work at it.
Q: Did you have enough time to spike the ball after DHB’s late drop with no time outs?
Jackson: I think so. It was going to be close. There was eight seconds after that play had happened. I think it takes you six seconds to get up there and snap the ball. We’ve done it before. And boom. Probably would have been seven, probably would have had one second left and we would have kicked it and won the game. That’s what I truly believe. It would have been tight but I really believe we had a chance at it.
Q: Do you do that scenario often in practice?
Jackson: Oh yeah we’ve done that before. You go through all that. That’s training camp work. You do it so much that you feel comfortable when that time happens that you can get your team out there and you have a sense of urgency. You’ve guys seen us work the 2 minute right before the half in the same scenario before we kicked the field goal to go up 17-14. You kjust keep working it, working it down and you know what you have to do to go clock the ball to attempt the kick.
Q: Was DHB primary receiver on that play?
Jackson: Darrius? The read took the quarterback there.
Q: Any thoughts on using Pryor in wildcat?
Jackson: No. Because at this time probably the guy who is playing quarterback probably needs as much time as he can get with his teammates. It was hard to get so many guys ready to play. Then when you have injuries then whoever the next guy is needs that extra practice time with Carson. It’s been tough but he’s worked extremely hard and he’s getting better every day. He’s got a bright future ahead of him.
Q: How much did Moore open up offense?
Jackson: Tremendous. He’s a play maker. When people know that he’s out there playing he’s someone you have to look for. It stretches the defense a little bit more than what we have been stretching them because he gives you that kind of versatility. Hopefully he can get back there and start returning kicks and do what he does in that area of our football team as well.
Q: This week?
Jackson: I sure hope so.
Q: Why not more Reece in second half?
Jackson: We end up going into our three wide receiver set. That’s why we were able to move the ball so frequently. Marcel is a really, really good player as you know. Certain packages defenses are going to defense in certain ways. SO when those things happen you have to go and do the other thing that gives you the chance to win. We had him slated to play a little more tailback than what he did. Because obviously we were down in numbers that way and he got in there a couple of times but he just didn’t carry it as much. But he was in there in the second half as a tailback.