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Hue Jackson Conference Call Transcript - 9/28/2011
Q: Let's start out with the win against the Jets last week. You guys put together a good second half, it looked like, to come out with the win there.
HJ: Thank you.
Q: Other than Darren McFadden, was that the key for the win there for you guys, just getting things going in the run game?
HJ: No, just playing and winning the football game. I mean, I don't know if it was just the run game. I think it was just our whole team. I think we played [well]. Today being Wednesday, that game is so far in the rearview mirror now. We've got a big one coming up this week.
Q: So we will look ahead then. What do you see from the Patriots? We'll start with the offense first. What do you see from the offense?
HJ: Tom Brady, Tom Brady, Wes Welker, [Rob] Gronkowski. I see them all. They are a really good offensive football team - very explosive. Best quarterback in the league and it's going to be a tremendous challenge.
Q: What has Richard Seymour meant to changing the culture of that franchise in the time he has been there?
HJ: Everything. Obviously he came from there and has done a great job here of one: being a pro. Number two: mentoring our players and making them understand what it takes to be the best they can be. He's been tremendous to our staff because he is a leader of men and he understands what it takes to get this job done week-in-and-week-out, so he has been unbelievable for the organization.
Q: On the field, what are his skills like at this point in his career? He still seems to be very disruptive.
HJ: Yes, yes he is. Richard Seymour is everything we thought he would be and a little bit more. Obviously, he is still playing [well]. I tell everybody - he was our first round draft pick this past year. I'm very happy about, you know, what happened as far as the trade to here. He is playing well for us.
Q: How do you go 0-for-8 on third downs and still put up 34 points?
HJ: You just do it. That's the way it happens sometimes. Sometimes on third down, it's just not your day. Obviously that's a huge situation in a football game, being third down. For some reason that day it wasn't about the third down, makes or missed. It was really about finding a way to score points when we needed it most.
Q: How does your offense's ability to have big plays affect the play calling? I am asking because there are some times when maybe two or three, maybe one-yard runs happen, but you guys keep calling them. Is that basically because you know that Darren McFadden could go off at any time?
HJ: No, I don't know if that's that. I just have a true belief in our team. When you're calling those runs, it's because of something you see and something you feel you can execute and do. You just kind of stay after it - sometimes you just have to give a lineman a chance to really see it another time. Sometimes you've got to give a [running] back another chance to see it. It's just something that I truly believe in and is something that's ingrained here.
Q: How much potency do you see from the Patriots running game right now?
HJ: I think they're potent in the passing game and the running game. I think when they want to run the football, they can run the football. Obviously we know what they can do throwing the football. They're one of the best offenses in football - there's no getting around that. We have a tall task ahead of us.
Q: You had an opportunity to coach Chad Johnson in Cincinnati, correct?
HJ: Yes, I did. Chad Johnson is my son.
HJ: Yes, I know you guys probably have a hard time with him. He is kind of colorful, but he is a tremendous young man. I really adore him, but I won't on Sunday.
Q: It's funny, I am rolling through my head…Jackson, Johnson, Johnson, Jackson, did I miss this? I have been covering the league for a while.
HJ: Well, I helped raise that young man in Cincinnati and he played for me [and] did wonders for me and he is a tremendous competitor and doggone good football player. Like I said, on Sunday, I will look across and look at him, but he knows that this is about winning and he understands that.
Q: Why do you say he is like your son? What was the relationship like when you first met him? What where some of the things he taught you and you taught him and how did it evolve?
HJ: I think we grew. When I came to Cincinnati, he was real early in his career, I think into his second or third year. He was right on the cusp of becoming a great player. What I tried to do was push him and take him to where he truly wanted to go. He wanted to be one of the best in the league and at that time, his time with me, there was no question in my mind he was. He really worked at it - the way he studied video tape [and] the way he prepared. I let him have his own personality, because that's Chad. You have to allow him to be him to get the most out of him. That's what we were able to do and we forged a bond that's been the same since my time in Cincinnati. I always check on him. I haven't checked on him much this year because I'm so busy, but I do have a lot of respect for the player.
Q: He hasn't had a really easy transition here. It seems like he is trying to assimilate to a certain way of doing things here in New England where he might not necessarily be ‘Chad' just as much and it seems like he is fighting the football a little bit and is a little out of his comfort zone. Is he a guy who tends to get emotionally down on himself if things go badly that way?
HJ: I think a lot of players are that way. When you are used to having success and things have gone for you the way his career has gone up to this point, it's hard when you don't see the light at the end of the tunnel. But one thing I know about him - he's going to continue to work hard and he will do everything that is asked of him. He is a tremendous pro and I'm sure he is working at it. Eventually, it will come up right for him - I just don't want it to happen this week.
Q: If we can go back to Richard Seymour - Brian Waters said that if Seymour had been in the attacking 4-3 system you guys play for his whole career, we might be talking him about him as one of the best defensive tackles ever. Can you make that kind of assessment on him?
HJ: There is no question that I can. I think he is one of the best defensive tackles ever. I'm not just saying that because I'm his coach. I've competed against him when he was at the Patriots on other teams I've been on. This guy is as good as there is in football. Like I said, I'm just so excited that he's here playing for us and we don't have to play against him.
Q: Do you think he didn't get the credit that he might have deserved then because the system is different in New England and his numbers weren't as high as they are in Oakland?
HJ: Well, one thing I know about Richard, I don't think he worries about that because the one thing he did do there is win championships. Truly, that's what this is all about. I think sometimes you trade some of the personal satisfaction for winning. That's what we're trying to do here now. It's not about numbers or personal goals; it's really about team.
Q: In your short time in Oakland, what is the craziest or most intense thing you seen from some of your fans in the intense stadium atmosphere?
HJ: It's ‘Raider Nation.' There's nothing like it. They are intense; they're on the edge of their seats. They're very passionate about their football team. They don't like the other fans, which I truly believe too, I don't either. I think its fun. They are really a group of people and a group of fans that are very into football, very into their team and will do everything and anything they can to help us attain a goal which is winning.
Q: How good does it feel to be able to be putting a team on the field for those fans that has a legitimate shot of winning week in and week out now?
HJ: That's what it's truly all about. I don't know any other way to do it. That's all I've known since I've been here. Last year, we were better and I think we're still working at it and still trying to get better. That's the goal - to put a product on the field that our fans can truly be proud of and put a product on the field that we expect to have an opportunity to win each and every game.
Q: Last week, the Jets were able to pick up some substantial yards after catch. Traditionally, the Patriots are one of the better teams in the league at picking up yards after catches. Other than the obvious stuff - the physical nature, wrapping up and taking guys down - is there a way to defend that?
HJ: I mean, it's like anything else, you have to have some things go your way - whether it's a tipped ball or whether it's a guy slipping down or whatever that is. It's tough, because the quarterback and the receivers that they have there, they're very, very skilled and very good at what they do. We have to be on our Ps and Qs and cross all our Ts and dot our Is in order to get this offense slowed down.
Q: How would you sum up what Darren McFadden has done to this point in the season?
HJ: I think Darren McFadden is one of the best players in football. I've said that and I'll go on record saying that. He's one of the finest football players and running backs in this league, bar none, and I stand behind that as his head coach and as his coordinator. He is as good as there is in football.
Q: How will you handle him this week, just knowing with the groin, how will you handle his practice? Is there a chance you keep him down all week just to have him ready to go?
HJ: No, we don't do that here. We get our guys - our guys practice and they get ready to play. He won't be down all week, I guarantee that. That's just not him. He likes to compete, he likes to practice and prepare to get ready. We'll do whatever we need to do to make sure he's fine. I think he's fine for the most part. He'll go out and practice and get ready to play.
Q: This is your first opportunity to coach against Bill Belichick. Can you talk about the possible matchup with coaching against him and how well you know him?
HJ: I don't know him personally that well. Just like probably every coach in the league, I've watched him from afar and the guy is phenomenal at what he does. I've never looked at it about me and him. It's more, it's our team. I'm not playing against him. It's going to be the Raiders against the Patriots. My job is to make sure that this team is ready to play and I'm sure he'll make sure his team is ready to play and here we go.
Q: You were talking about the fan atmosphere coming back to Oakland, how have you had an opportunity to get the players to embrace that ‘Black Hole' mentality this year?
HJ: I think it's the attitude of expectation. I mean, the Raiders have been great, just like the Patriots have done it, just recently Super Bowls and winning. The Raiders at times was that team too - year in and year out, in the playoffs, challenging for the Super Bowl. It's all about making our players understand the rich tradition and history that has been here. It's time to get that back. It's time to work back into that mode. That's what this is truly all about - it's about winning. And the players have to understand the men that have played here before them now and understand what the expectation is.