Raiders notebook: Jackson Q&A at combine

Raiders notebook: Jackson Q&A at combine

Feb. 24, 2011GUTIERREZ ARCHIVERAIDERS PAGE RAIDERSVIDEOPaul Gutierrez
CSNCalifornia.com

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.

Carr plans to spread new wealth after Raiders contract extension

Carr plans to spread new wealth after Raiders contract extension

ALAMEDA – Derek Carr isn’t one for extravagance. The low-key Raiders quarterback already has some nice cars, a house and some luxury items to his name, but signing a $125 million contract extension Friday morning won't prompt a spending spree.

Cornerback Sean Smith suggested he get a Bugatti. That’s a $1 million car.

“Yeah,” Carr said with a smirk. “That’s not going to happen.”

That isn’t the 26-year old’s style. Carr had a his own plan after signing on the dotted line.

“I’ve been eating clean,” Carr said. “I’ll probably get Chick-fil-A.”

That makes sense. This is a guy who celebrated his first NFL victory with a trip through a Carl’s Jr. drive-in.

There will be other purchases. His wife Heather will get something nice in the near future. His family, especially Heather and sons Dallas and Deker, will be taken care of for life.

After all that, Carr plans to spread the wealth.

“The exciting thing for me moneywise, honestly, is this money is going to help a lot of people,” Carr said. “I’m very thankful to have it, that it’s in our hands because it’s going to help people. Not only in this country, but in a lot of countries around the world. That’s what’s exciting to me.”

Carr and former Raiders running back Latavius Murray took a missionary trip to Haiti, an impoverished nation had a profound impact on the star quarterback.

“I’ve been down to Haiti and I’ve seen some of those struggles that they have and the kids there, and my heart just… I cry sometimes thinking about it,” Carr said. “So, just knowing that we can go down there and make a difference and help, those are the kind of things that the money makes me kind of like, ‘Oh my gosh.’ Because now we can really do some things to help a lot of people.”

He plans to support those in that area, in addition to global and domestic charities he has been involved with over the years. Don’t expect a press release accompanying every donation. Carr would rather keep those decisions private.

“I’m going to do my best to make sure no one knows what we do with it,” Carr said. “I’ll just say this, I can assure you that it’s going to help a lot of people. I’m not stingy. My business manager will probably be on me saying, ‘Hey man, that’s enough.’ I won’t get into when, how or why. It’s not all about that for me. It’s about making a difference. That’s what’s exciting for me is that we’ll be able to do that.”

Carr didn't want to 'take every single dime,' handcuff Raiders long-term

Carr didn't want to 'take every single dime,' handcuff Raiders long-term

ALAMEDA – Raiders quarterback Derek Carr signed a five-year contract extension Friday morning that will pay him $25 million in 2017 and $125 million over the life of the deal.

That’s a lot of scratch. Could’ve been more.

Carr received life-changing money. He didn’t want to handcuff the Raiders front office in the process.

“I just wanted to be a Raider,” Carr said Friday in a press conference. “It’s more than just a team to me. It’s family. The way it went down, it was easy. Both sides wanted it to get done, and it was about family members figuring out to get along. We figured out a way to do it so that we have the opportunity to sign other guys who are important to this organization. That was really important to me, not to just take every single dime that we could”

That list is long but it starts with homegrown talents Gabe Jackson and Khalil Mack. Jackson is up next, and could get locked up before the regular season starts. The Raiders have some time on Mack – his contract doesn’t expire until after 2018 – and Amari Cooper should be a keeper on down the road.

“The bottom line is we’re able to continue to move forward with it, keep all the players that we need to keep in the correct timing,” Raiders general manager Reggie McKenzie said. “This affords us to do that. We’re going to start on that ASAP.”

Carr got the deal he wanted. The 26-year old found market value and upped the ante for NFL quarterbacks a smidge while deferring some cash payouts – his big-time bonuses are broken up over two years -- to create windows of financial flexibility to sign other players. Carr’s percentage of the salary cap should decrease over time and won’t become an insurmountable burden to his employers. His deal won’t prevent the Raiders from keeping Jackson, Mack, Amari Cooper in time, or other vital veterans in house.

With Carr locked up, the McKenzie can work deals and the timing of them around his centerpiece.

Carr understands the NFL business and his role in the market, but he wants to maintain a competitive window as best he can and understands other guys will draw huge paychecks in the near future.

He’s scheduled to draw the NFL’s largest sum next season. A record $25 million is headed his way, though that total will decrease a bit in time and will certainly he surpassed by Matthew Stafford and possibly Kirk Cousins in the near future.

“I don’t care if they all do. We got our contract done, that’s all that matters to me,” Carr said. “The other thing that was important to me is that we didn’t worry about what other people were going to do or doing. I just wanted to get mine done and make sure that the team had, again like we talked about, flexibility to make sure my friends stay around.”

Carr was intimately involved in the negotiation process. Both sides said it was easy, wrapped up well before Carr’s training-camp contract deadline. Common ground was found in short shrift once talks warmed up – preliminary talks started months ago -- and a deal was ironed out that produced smiles on both sides once the deal was formally done.

Even after taking a relatively soft-line stance on dollars and the timing of payments – Carr could’ve been difficult all year and eventually forced a franchise tag – he’s still the league’s highest-paid player. His salary will now be compared with his stats. He was a second-round draft steal before. Now he’s a big-money player. In short, expectations will rise.

Carr insists it won’t add pressure to next year’s proceedings.

“You could give me a dollar, you could give me $25 million, it doesn’t matter,” Carr said. “To me, my No. 1 goal is to make sure that I give everything that I have to this organization. There’s no pressure. There’s no we’ll be on the 1-yard line and I won’t give it to Marshawn (Lynch), I’ll throw it. None of that stuff. I don’t care about the stats. That’s not my No. 1 objective. I don’t care if I throw 10 touchdowns next year. If we win every game, that’s all I care about.”