Raiders notebook: Jackson Q&A at combine

Raiders notebook: Jackson Q&A at combine


New Raiders coach Hue Jackson spoke today at the NFL Combine in Indianapolis and CSN Bay Area comrade Matt Maiocco was there for Jacksons quick and dirty meeting with the media. Jackson spoke on several topics, including the potential for a lockout with the expiration of the current Collective Bargaining Agreement, the latest on a defensive coordinator, Stefan Wisniewski and working for Al Davis. Some highlights, then, of the Jackson transcript, courtesy of, and thanks to, a fast-typing MaioccoQuestion: Will you expand Jacoby Fords role?Answer: You better know I am. The guy is fast, and he scores touchdowns. So theres no question any time I can get the ball in his hands, I want to do that. I mean, hes a tremendous talent. Obviously we seen him last year at the combine run as fast as anybody in a long time, and obviously he came to the Raiders and proved that to be true. The guys a tremendous specialteam player and ended up being our starting Z receiver and had a tremendous first year.Q: How much did last years combine performance weigh in taking Ford in the draft?A: Well, I think we knew he was very talented. You can see some of those characteristics on videotape. But you never know as a young player coming into the league just how fast a guy can make that process happen. But he worked every day extremely hard. Sanjay Lal was our receivers coach and did a terrific job, took our time, took him through a progression to about the fifth game of the year you could tell this guy was really ready to play. And you look up and this guy is making plays like hes a veteran in the league.Q: Is there a concern over not being able to get the team together over the next couple of months (lockout)?A: I know everybodys talking about that, I dont, I cant think about it. One thing Ive learned in this profession is you cant worry about something that you know nothing about, so my biggest goal is making sure that the next step for our team is in place which is getting ready for our offseason program, and if somebody tells us we cant, then we cant, and then we go to Plan B. I think the most important thing is to keep going through the process. Obviously were here at the combine to see the most talented players in the world here to see who we can draft, as we move forward and I think thats the most important thing we have going at this time.Q: What about your transition from offensive coordinator to head coach?A: The biggest thing for me is finding time so I can work out. Its amazing. You just dont have any time. You look up, and you want to go work out and you dont have the time to do it. I think the biggest thing for me has been just, the fun part for me has been hiring our staff. Were putting together what I think is one of the best staffs in football. Im proud of the men that I was able to hire and able to get to come to the Raiders, and No. 2, for me, just making sure you allow enough time to get all the things done you want to get done because as the head coach you wear a lot of different hats. And Im going to call the offensive plays on offense and truth be told, Im the defensive coordinator and Im the special teams coordinator too. Thats just part of it. Thats kind of what you do in this position. So youve just got to make sure that you manage your time the right way so you have the best opportunity to be what you need to be in all three phases.Q: What will you take from what Tom Cable did as you become head coach?A: I think what Tom did a great job at was communicating with our players. I think its very important that our players have an avenue to talk to you and Ive always believed in that. I think its very important that your players do have an opportunity to voice their concerns, their feelings, because theyre the guys who are playing. But then on top of that I thought he did a great job of saying, Im leading and as all of us, all 32 of these head coaches who lead these organizations will tell you, the No. 1 job is leading, leading men and preparing guys to play the best they can play.Q: Where are you with a defensive coordinator?A: Youre looking at him (Jackson laughs). No, its still a process that were going through. Theres so many different phases that you go through as you put this team together and as you start to put your staff together. I think the most important thing, I dont want to rush to any decision. I dont have to right now. Obviously we have a very good staff right now. There are still some guys I talk to from time to time. But I also feel comfortable with where we are. When I decide that that the process needs to be over, itll be over, but right now thats not theNo. 1 thing thats on my mind.Q: Might you be talking to some guys for the DC position that are here?A: You never know.Q: Will it come from your staff, outside staff?A: You never know. I mean, again, when I go to bed at night I feel very good about where we are. I know theres some very talented individuals around the league still to talk to and I have, but I think the most important thing is thats not whats important for the Raiders right now. The most important thing is signing players back, getting our players, getting our players acclimated to whoevers on staff right now and then beginning to prepare for our offseason program.Q: The Raiders were a zone-blocking team when you arrived, showed more gap-power last year, so will you continue the transition that way, or still some zone?A: The zone game will always be a part of my game, theres no question, but I am a power running type of guy. I like to block down, kick out and lead somebody on through. Thats kind of who I am, and I like to do that. But I like to do a lot of different things because I thinkdefensive coordinators in this league are very, very good. So I think you have to be multiple in your ability to run the football and I think we will continue to do that. So were not going to totally go away from the zone game because its been very good to our football team, but wealso want to keep incorporating more things so we can be a very good running team and we have a chance to be.Q: What are the strengths of new offensive line coach Bob Wylie?A: He is one of the most incredible teachers Ive ever been around. I mean, he can really teach fundamentals and technique, and obviously coach (Steve) Wisniewski, hes one of the toughest human beings Ive ever been around and an outstanding motivator. So I was very lucky in getting those two guys to come here and coach for me and I think well do a great job with the line.Q: Being a head coach for Al Davis, some people say its the worst job you can have in NFL?A: Thats not true. I cant speak for the men before me. My relationship with coach Davis is probably different than everybody elses. I dont see it that way. I mean, again, theres 32 of these jobs and the owners are the owners, and this is their football team, and I have great respect for that, and the thing thats different about coach Davis is he is a resource for me, not just talking about who we want to draft and all that, this guy knows football. I can actually sit down and have a conversation about the power play, about the gap play, about the zone play, a pass play, and thats different. And thats not putting down any of the other owners I ever worked for, but he was a coach in this league. I mean, he coached football in this league and understands the daily grind, the daily in and out that our players go through week in and week out, trying to prepare to win a football game. Again, hes a resource in the building for me to talk about, and all the stories that hear about this and that and the other, I havent experienced that yet. If its coming, when it does come then Ill deal with it, but I dont see it.Q: What about Jason Campbells transition, being in the same offense for a second straight season?A: I am looking forward to Jason leading our offensive football team to winning this AFC West championship and the playoffs. Jason Campbell came in last year and, in my opinion, did a tremendous job. Obviously, we all know of the situation where he was taken out and Bruce played. But I think the young man was becoming accustomed to his environment, to his teammates, with myself. And I think you go through that process. You hate to say that, but thats the truth. Sometimes it takes a little bit longer than what you wish for a guy to get acclimated to the environment and the surroundings, and he did. I thought over the last half of the season he did a tremendous job of leading our team, leading our team and making the plays that big-time players have to make in this league and thats what he did. So Im expecting him to take that next jump. Were an 8-8 football team, which we were .500 this past year, but I dont anticipate or do I look for that to happen this year. I expect him to take us where we want to go.Q: What about Chad Ochocinco, if he became available?A: Ah, man, I knew that (question) was going to be thrown out there. You guys know I cannot comment on players who are on other teams, and obviously the player you just mentioned I know extremely well, but he plays for the Bengals right now and Im sure Marvin (Lewis), who is agood friend of mine would probably get upset if I started talking about his players.Q: Wide receiver is a young position for you so are you looking to add a veteran?A: You know what, I get asked that question a lot, and I really like the players that we have. Darrius Heyward-Bey, I think, is coming on. You look at Louis Murphy, Louis Murphy has had two good, solid seasons in the league. Chaz Schilens, if we can keep him injury free, I think isgoing to be one of the best players in this league. Obviously Jacoby Ford hit the scene running this year. We have a nucleus of really good, young players that I am very excited about coaching. Obviously we want to get better at every position. Theres not a position, other than quarterback, that I feel like I want to look at to draft and say, We dont need anybody. Obviously we want to find the best players that we can. I really feel like that position is a strong one because its young, its talented, its fast, theyre great workers, and I think those guys will only just get better.Q: You familiar with Stefan Wisniewski yet?A: Yes, I am. I know exactly who he is. Hes 6-3, 316 pounds, and hell hit you, theres no doubt. No, I am excited about watching him perform here in the Combine. Hes a very talented young man, obviously plays center and guard, I think hes got a bright future ahead, so its going to be fun to watch him and go through this process.Q: Will you be a 4-3 defensive team?A: I think we will, yes. But well be a multiple team. We need to be a team that can take our players on defense, because weve got some very good talent over there and give those guys an opportunity to make plays. So were going to do whatever we think we need to do toshowcase that talent we have over there on defense.

Dolphins owner explains why he voted against Raiders' move to Vegas

Dolphins owner explains why he voted against Raiders' move to Vegas

PHOENIX – An overwhelming majority approved the Raiders’ relocation application Monday morning. They were given permission to move from Oakland to Las Vegas by a 31-1 vote at the league owners meetings, a massive show of support for the Silver and Black.

While the stadium and finance committees recommended Raiders relocation and the final meeting went smooth leading up to a vote, there was one voice of dissent.

Miami Dolphins owner Stephen Ross didn’t let his vote do the talking. He explained his rationale to reporters on Monday afternoon.

“I just don’t think everything was done to try and stay in Oakland,” Ross told reporters, via a video posted on San Diego-based 1090-AM’s website. “I was more or less interested in the thought that Oakland deserved…that a deal could’ve been done there.”

Ross said Raiders owner Mark Davis should’ve engaged with Oakland more in trying to find a long-term stadium solution in the East Bay.

“You can only make a deal when the owner wants to make a deal,” Ross said. “Who are you going to negotiate with? How’s it going to happen? The owner has to be a driving force.”

After some difficult negotiations with Oakland, Davis focused his efforts on Las Vegas, where he received $750 million in public funds for stadium construction, with an additional chunk earmarked for infrastructure improvements around a stadium site just off the Las Vegas Strip.

While Ross spent roughly $500 million in private funds to renovate Hard Rock Stadium, his dissent was rooted in part on ideological grounds. He believes stadiums should be largely financed privately.

“I think so,” Ross said. “You get a look around, and there’s very little public money available for teams today. I think owners have to have, when you own a team, you should have the deep pockets to deliver. Now, you need some public money for infrastructure and things like that but, with the cost of stadiums today, our country can’t afford to put all that money in that kind of place.”

Ross said he didn’t vote no to grandstand.

“That doesn’t do me any good. I didn’t do it for that,” Ross said. “I voted how I voted and I voted what I believed. You talk about the fans, and that’s what the National Football League is all about.”


Raiders to Vegas: So much disingenuous, silly or just plain idiotic rhetoric

Raiders to Vegas: So much disingenuous, silly or just plain idiotic rhetoric

The torrential nonsense that was emitted with the announcement of the NFL owners’ vote on the fate of the Mark Davis Raiders was as embarrassing as it was predictable. It’s as though everyone involved and watching had forgotten what this was about from the start, and became a chase for rabbits that didn’t exist.

But that’s what you get when the National Football League and politics commingle – a cavalcade of lies, half-truths, shaded half-facts and nitwit hysteria that . . . well, that explains everything we need to know about what passes for entertainment in America in 2017.

So let’s do a random tour on everything that was said Monday, so that we can see that nobody cornered the market in disingenuous, silly or just plain idiotic.

[RATTO: Raiders fans got remarkably little bang for their bucks, or for their hearts]

- Mark Davis, thanking Sheldon Adelson for his “vision.” What he meant to do was thank Adelson for shaking down three quarters of a billion dollars from the State of Nevada. Adelson didn’t thank him back for finding out that his power play to get a potentially controlling chunk of the franchise was dead on arrival in the league offices after he’d gotten the money committed, and that he’d been used, no doubt the way he’s used plenty of others.

- Roger Goodell: “We’re all disappointed for Oakland and their fans.” No he isn’t. He’s mad that they elected someone who wouldn’t cave in to the league the way those good citizens in other cities and states do. 

- City councilman Larry Reid, in full snittery, said he not only would never wear any form of Raider gear again (and who cares?) but would talk to the Oakland city attorney about forcing the Raiders out of their two years of lease options and make them play in Santa Clara. Fine, except that any lawyer will tell him that would probably die in court for 2017 and 2018, and would be at best a coin flip to 2019, and not only that, the 49ers don’t want the Raiders any more than the Raiders have wanted them. Dead issue, Lar’. Political posturing. Don’t bring it up again.

- Davis, saying his father would be proud of him for taking the team to “the entertainment capital of the world.” He would have been much prouder of the fact that his son showed a single-minded devotion to getting out of Oakland to the point of being embarrassed several times before he got what he wanted. The old man almost surely didn’t think the boy had it in him.  

- Miami Dolphins owner Steve Ross, the only dissenting vote, saying “My position today was that we as owners and as a League owe it to fans to do everything we can to stay in the communities that have supported us until all options have been exhausted. I want to wish Mark Davis and the Raiders organization the best in Las Vegas.” Ross voted for the Rams’ move to Los Angeles a year earlier, and he couldn’t be less interested in “the best” for Davis or the Raiders.

- Everyone who mentioned how Oakland would never help Davis build a stadium. Oakland didn’t have a spare $750M, then or now, and neither did Davis, which is why other people scared up almost all the money for the Vegas project for him. Plus, it isn’t a city’s job to help a private company scare up financing, it’s the guy who runs the private company. Davis’ problem was that getting money costs money, and the only thing he had was the team, with which he didn’t want to part. 

[RELATED: Schaaf proud Oakland did not capitulate to Raiders' unreasonable demand]

- Schaaf: “I am glad we stood firm in refusing to use public money to subsidize stadium construction and that we did not capitulate to their unreasonable and unwarranted demand that we choose between our baseball and football franchises.” The first part is what she can proud of. The second is a red herring, a merely ancillary part of what the league actually wanted – control of the stadium and land surrounding it. Schaaf decided not to do business with people she didn’t trust and came to loathe, and the league decided not to do business with a city that didn’t have money and wouldn’t knuckle under to any and all extortionate demands. 

- Schaaf continually describing the Oakland plan as “viable,” when viability depends in considerable part on another party being interested in what your definition of “viable” is. Neither the team nor the league wanted any part of the “viable” plan because they defined “viable” as “give us everything you have, and we’ll work out the rest of your stuff later.” The plan was affordable, but it was never actually viable. 

- Schaaf saying (“Our fans) deserved better.” In the world of cutthroat money-hunting, nobody “deserves” anything. It’s what you can carve from the flesh of your opponent. Oakland didn’t own the Raiders and neither did their fans. When you call a team “we,” you really mean “they,” and let this be the reminder your parents should have provided for you 35 years ago. 

- A’s president Dave Kaval saying how disappointed the baseball team was to learn that the Raiders were leaving. A baldfaced lie, this. The A’s are absolutely giddy about the prospect, and have been waiting for it to happen for nearly a decade. If they could get the permits, they’d have a parade down Broadway tomorrow.

- The NFL moving three franchises in 15 months as some sort of horrifying development that will destroy the traditions that made the league powerful. Please. These guys had no problem with moving the Rams or the Raiders, and only objected to the Chargers leaving for L.A. because they’d done their good pal Dean Spanos a favor by giving him an option to move and were floored when he took them up on it. No good deed goes without a knife in the ribs, and all that -- especially after the Rams killed L.A.’s buzz for football in less than a year. The league goes where they think money is, and woe betide the team that is looking to relocate if the league every finds out there is money on the sun.

- Vegas as the massive vice farm that will lead players down a path of perdition, but nobody mentions that a player can get into trouble in new York or Chicago or Los Angeles or San Francisco or Boston or Indianapolis. Ian Rapoport of tweeted, “Coaches are already discussing how they'll handle their travel when they're on the road in Las Vegas. Likely staying away from The Strip.” How far away? Laughlin? Henderson? Bisbee? El Paso? By that logic, coaches facing a road game in Miami ought to house their teams in Muscle Shoals, Alabama.

- 49ers’ general manager John Lynch getting his swing at the piñata by saying Monday, “Raider fans, we're open for business. “Come and jump on our train.” Whispering in a graveyard is always a bad look, especially so soon after reminding us all that the Raider fan base is “too special” to ever feel comfortable tailgating at The Louvre . . . err, Levi’s Stadium. The 49ers no more want the Raiders than the Raiders want them, which is part of how this escalated even before Al Davis died.

- And finally, anyone who used the word “bittersweet” about any step in the process of taking a rich legacy’s property and taking it somewhere else. If you’re a player, you know the business requires accepting movement. If you’re a fan, you know the business requires understanding that your team is never actually yours. And if you are a media member, you got to spend a whole day passing on myths and nonsense and calling it wisdom . . . and that’s nice work if you stomach it.