As a courtesy to our readers at Raider Rants, we’ll be posting Tom Cable’s day after the game Q&A a day and a half later from here on out.
You may be asking yourself as to why we’ve decided to hold onto the Q&A for that long. The work that goes into creating the transcript is spread among several Raiders beat writers and these quotes are used in the stories that they write for two days–in this case Monday and Tuesday.
This courtesy is to shed light on ALL the quotes so that you, as a Raiders fan, can get a clearer picture of what the coach is saying after each game.
OK, quick injury update for us here. Chaz Schilens will be day to day. He has made very good progress. We’ll see if we can get him into the mix and take it day by day. Luke Lawton with an ankle sprain. He’ll be day by day, the MRI was negative. Darren McFadden would be a no this week. Oren O’Neal would be day to day with his ankle sprain. Gallery will be day to day, had a good day in his workout this morning, and we’ll see if we can get him back out there, see how much he can handle. Cornell Green would be a no this week. Mario Henderson got a stinger in the game, MRI was negative, he’s fine. Jon Alston got a concussion in the latter part of the game, has some symptoms from that, that will be day to day, make sure he passes all the tests. Kirk Morrison strained a knee, somewhere in the second half of the game, do not know what’s come of that. Greg Ellis, drained a knee today, just some arthritis, some soreness, Hiram Eugene has a sore back today.
The film kind of showed what I talked about yesterday. It’s not an effort issue with this football team. It’s simply just a matter of execution. Offensively, it’s again, the fourth game in a row where there’s no production in terms of points, yards, staying on the field, on third down. The one positive I took from it, there were some run seams there, we seem to be in more manageable third downs, but at the same time did not execute ‘em or convert very well in that situation. Defensively, too many explosive plays. We gave up 14 explosive plays, we’re not able to get out on third down, I think they were 50 percent, and a lot of that, those explosive plays came in the run game as well as the pass game, so that’s why you see the large number of rushing yards. Special teams-wise, tremendous effort, in all those teams. I still think we have got to get over being hesitant as a return man in both punt and kickoff returns and be more hit it, and get it up-field as quickly as we can.
So where are we at as a football team? I think quite simply, this reminds me of last year, the first few weeks of taking over, playing hard but not playing well, and as I spoke to them, there were really three things that we have to do. We have to be able to raise our standard individually, coaches, players, everyone alike. We have to practice better, that doesn’t mean practice harder, we work hard in practice, but it’s got to be more efficient, it’s got to be better than what it is, and the third thing, just making sure that we eliminate the distractions that we allow to come into us, whether it’s prior to the game or during the game. What I mean by that is handling adversity early in the game, the best example, there was a 16-play drive by New York to start the game on defense. We’ve got to handle those things better and not let the next three drives become touchdown drives like they were.
That’s the focus this week is getting better, handling the adversity, and raising our individual standard. It has to be better than what it is. Our effort is fine. But we’ve got to play better.
How distressing is it for you that the team has apparently reverted back to when you first took over?
That’s really kind of what my key is this week, is trying to really figure that out. My belief is confidence. I think that’s first and foremost. I think when you’re kind of riding that rail of having a breakthrough and going backwards, you can’t allow like what just happened to us to keep pushing you backwards. I think you have to keep fighting through it. As I mentioned to you before, I think it takes three wins in a row to really get faith and a belief in what you’re trying to do, and we’re just not there yet.
What’s the status on Ricky Brown?
There’ll be some decision made here in the next few days as to whether that’s a surgical procedure. If it is, that would put him out for the year. Or if it can be fixed through casting or booting it and rehabbing it, which would be somewhere around the four-week mark.
What’s Brown’s injury?
It’s like an ankle sprain. I don’t know the medical term for it. It’s outside ligaments that keep the foot in line and let it more out. I’m not a doctor. I don’t know that term.
With Alston’s concussion and Brown out, who is next in line?
You’d have to get Sam Williams and Ike and those guys ready to go.
Do you think that you might drop the offensive playcalling to shake things up?
I don’t know that. I really look at it as, is the play you call, does that have anything to do with executing it? Does it have anything to do with being in a manageable third down? Those kinds of things probably weigh heavier on my mind that what play’s being called.
On ESPN, they broke down a passing play where Russell was in the shotgun and him taking a five-step drop. Was that by design?
No. A quarterback should drop three steps out of the shotgun.
Is there a way to teach pocket presence?
Well sure and you work on that and you can actually see him feeling it. It’s just a matter of when you do feel it, is having the good ball security. I guessing that’s the point you’re making. To put in those seven and eight man protections like that then have an individual break down here or there is very frustrating, but it’s something that believe we have to do to help the situation.
Are you worried about Russell’s confidence by playing him through his troubles?
Well I think that’s team-wide. I don’t know that you say, ‘Well, it affects this guy and not this guy.’ That’s team-wide. The best example I would give you is look at how we played defensively a week ago, particularly in the second half, against a very good offense and to come out and have that kind of performance defensively. There’s really no explanation for it other than just believing that you can go out and play good defense.
Do you anticipate any lineup changes this week?
Too early to tell. Wednesday, maybe that’s something to talk about. I think right now, the biggest thing is getting this thing evaluated. I think I have. I mentioned those three points to you. I really feel like that’s where we’re at and that’s what’s gotta’ change for us to turn the corner and to start to win.
Would you consider changing quarterbacks this week?
You know, for right now, that’s the least of my concern, although it is a concern. I just think getting blocking better, getting tackling better, staying in gaps, defending gaps, finding a returner, you know, to hit it up the field. I think those are all little things that collectively are becoming a big thing and they are the reason we are not succeeding right now.
How soon before Nick Miller returns from injury?
We’re looking at probably after the bye.
Is it possible that Khalif Barnes will get some playing time?
Well I think anyone is right now, just in terms of trying to solidify that group. You gotta’ find the right combination while we those guys out as to what will give us our best chance to succeed.
Can you pinpoint the offensive line problems to when Robert Gallery went down due to injury?
Respectfully, if I was a casual fan maybe I could say yeah it’s that because he’s such a good player, but because of my background and what I believe in about offensive line play, if you train the group the right way you have to be able to plug in whoever’s next and they have to be able to perform at an expected level, and we’re just not doing that part. To me, I don’t want to lose anybody and Robert’s certainly a big part of it, but we’ve got to find the answer that allows us to plug a guy in and move forward the right way.
So you don’t believe the offensive line needs time to gel and get acclimated to playing together?
In the NFL it’s different than in college. You usually only have 13 or 14 guys, so they’ve spent a lot of time together through all the camp, four preseason games. You’ve probably mixed and matched some of your combinations, whether it’s in practice or in games. So to me that’s kind of a way out if you will. That’s just me pridefully being a line coach, too, that I believe if you train ‘em right, you can plug in you and you can go to left guard and we can win with it. That’s what I believe.
How frustrating has it been to start the season off like this?
It is frustrating but the thing I reminded them, my faith is not lessened, it’s not broke down, it’s not anything other than what I believe in, and that is we can be a good football team. There’s a certain way that we have to do it in order to become that good football team. With that being said, it’s very frustrating because my faith and belief in this team is very high.
Do the offensive line injuries take plays away from you on offense?
don’t know that it necessarily takes it away but it may limit some of it. You have to create some things a little differently because of all the pressure and those things that are coming from Philadelphia. I wouldn’t say you eliminate anything. I just think you want to cut it and paste it a little different because of the situation.
Has the whole Randy Hanson affair been a distraction for you in coaching this team?
You know, I don’t believe it is. I would never believe that because, as I’ve said, I know the truth and I trust in the system, the process and I just know that what’s supposed to happen will happen. I’ve not let it become and issue, I’ve not put a lot into it, and, quite frankly, haven’t brought it to the team because it’s not their issue; it’s mine. But at the same time, like I said, I just trust that what the whole system is built on is right.
With Hanson taking interviews, does that make it harder for you to not say anything about it?
Sure. That’s a fair question. Sure.
What do you do to keep the team motivated?
Well, there’s two things to me. First of all, whether you’re a coach or a player, you’re an athlete and you’re a competitor. So that’s No. 1. And No. 2, it’s what we do in our job. And so, if you can’t be motivated about taking care of your family and feeding your kids, and those kinds of things, you’re probably wrong, built wrong, wired wrong, all of that. If you don’t just absolutely love the game, then you shouldn’t be here anyway. So, I think those two things really answer that.
To me, it’s not about motivation. It’s about finding success, and to do that, you have to find confidence and to do that, you have to earn it. And that’s where we’re at right now, trying to earn that confidence that we can go out and play. We haven’t had a week where we haven’t had a coach tell me, ‘You never know which team we’re going to get from you guys – you’re so darn talented.’ But, we’ve got to put it together as a football team and play like it.
Are defenses taking Darrius Heyward-Bey out of the offense with coverage?
They’re not taking him away. They’re not taking him away.
So what’s preventing DHB from being more involved in the offense?
You know, I just think depending on where the quarterback, where his read takes him, based on coverage and all those things. But I have not felt like they have taken the receivers away. The other day we ran the post and it was clearly wide open. You know, just didn’t quite get it out there far enough.
How close is Chaz Schilens to returning?
Very close. We expect to have that decision to make this week so that’s a good thing.
What do you do to prepare for the Eagles?
It’s all those things I just talked about. The problem is not who we’re playing, the problem is us. First you have to accept that which I think we have. Then you have to come to grips with it, how you get these things straightened out, how you become a better football team, how you move forward. That’s really what the issue is. It shouldn’t be so much about the Giants, who are a tremendous team, or Philly, who is a tremendous team. It has to be about us. We are the issue.
Are you concerned about getting fan support this weekend?
Not really. I think based on how we played fans have a right to have their judgment. Hell, they’re paying for tickets. They’re spending their hard-earned money to do it. At the same time, this has always been a very loyal group and all they want is to see a team go out there and put out the kind of effort they can be proud of as a fan. We owe that to them.
Are you looking into making any trades before the deadline?
Not right now. Really we typically work on those sort of roster things in the next two days, or day and a half. Today is about getting through the last game and starting on the next one.