A little late posting this week, but we’ll more than make up for it from here on out.
Tom Cable was adamant on Monday that JaMarcus Russell is still his guy, despite replacing the young quarterback on Sunday. Issues continue to arise with the Raiders supposed franchise quarterback, and his grasp on the starting spot may be slipping–even though his coach isn’t admitting to it.
As we do here on Tuesday nights, the Monday press conference transcript is posted after all those reporters who helped transcribe it have had enough time to get good use out of it.
You may have seen many of these quotes already, but you might find some you haven’t.
OK quick injury update for the week. Nick Miller is making some progress. He’s in and out of the boot now so now we’ll start to a little bit more action in terms of his rehab. Schilens, we’ll see. He’s still pretty sore today. Murphy as I mentioned got nicked, dinged in the game and came back and finished. We’ll make sure he’s OK. McFadden is improving, Gallery is improving, Cornell Green is improving. Their status in terms of this game probably we’ll have a pretty good idea come Wednesday, Thursday at the latest on those three guys. Ricky Brown still in the cast. Ike Ekejiuba has come down with that same stomach illness that everybody’s had, so about a 24-hour flu it looks like. Ellis seems to be fine. Sore in the knee. Kelly sore elbow, Richardson sore calf, Warren sore ribs but nothing that should keep them out of work.
After looking at the film, it really looked exactly like what we talked about after the game. We had a number of mental errors and misalignment’s on defense, 15 missed tackles on defense. Offensively, turned the ball over three times early in the football game. I thought two of the three could have done something about it and didn’t. Then had a chance to run the ball, ran it decently, but just not enough once you get that far behind and then were not able to get back in the game. Too many drops as the game went on. So very disappointing but again keep moving forward and try to find a way to win, and we’ll try to find a way to go to San Diego this weekend and put forth a better effort.
JaMarcus thought he played fine. Is that a concern?
Well sure but I think today in talking with him he’s pretty clear on what went on. It’s just something that you have to have a little bit better control and it’s not something that you like to do, in terms of pulling him and all that, I’ve been pretty strong against it. I want to push him to give him every opportunity to succeed but now looking at the tape it’s pretty clear what went on.
With Jenkins going down the week before, were you trying to catch the Jets off-guard by passing on the firs play of the game?
Just maybe the first two or three. The first play of the game though, as I said yesterday, we line up in the wrong formation, we motion into it, those are things that have to be controlled. You wouldn’t expect to have that kind of mental error on the first play of the game.
Which of the three turnovers were out of your control?
The first one arguably, you say, well the right tackle got run over and the ball got knocked out of his hand. But certainly the first interception, there wasn’t anybody there to throw the ball to, and then the second one in the end zone, the post, just keep the ball in the middle of the field and it’ll be fine. And we threw it behind him and that’s a great corner. You throw the ball behind where a corner can come up and make that play, a guy like that will.
On the interception in the end zone, Russell thought the receiver had a 50-50 chance of coming down with it. Is that good enough on a play like that?
No, you know, it’s not up for the coach and the quarterback to debate this in the media, obviously, but when you see it on film it’s pretty obvious that would have been a tough play for Superman and you’ve to give him a ball that he can catch over the middle of the field. He had him beat which was a great move by Todd Watkins, a great move, and you want a ball there where we can make that play, and if we through that play in there on Sunday on San Diego, JaMarcus will make that throw. That’s what I believe.
Are you still convinced that Russell gives you the best chance to win?
Russell won’t admit when things are going bad. Is that a defense mechanism? Do you think that he believes he’s playing well when he’s not?
He and I talk all the time. One thing, you’ve heard him say this, two people who take it when they should and when they shouldn’t and that’s the quarterback and the head coach. He’s a strong young man and I applaud him for that, and I want to keep him that way, I want to help him where he can get to where he has more success as a quarterback and I think that’s my goal. I terms of how he handles it and all that, I think he’s trying to bear it and be strong with it.
Do you think he’ll use getting benched as motivation?
You hope so. If a guy’s wired right, that’s exactly how they’ll use it.
Do you see Russell as a player that will fight through this adversity?
Yeah, if I know JaMarcus, he’ll learn from this, and he’ll grow, and he’ll have a good week and he’ll go out and play like he’s supposed to and capable of on Sunday.
Is it unfair to blame JaMarcus for all of the problems on offense?
Sure it is.
What else needs to be done for the offense to get better?
Maybe I shouldn’t put the offense in that situation on the 10-yard line to start the game, you know, trying to throw four verticals. But I want to be more aggressive, I think that’s an important part of it. I think the fact that – and these aren’t excuses, it’s just facts – the fact that we’re missing two very good offensive linemen, a good running back, a good wide receiver, all those things kind of make this a tough deal. But the point is, whoever’s in there, we’ve got to find ways to do it. And we have not been able to do that yet. And so when I look at it, I look at it as we’ve got enough players, we’ve got enough scheme, now it’s getting ‘em that confidence I think it takes. There’s a real small thing we’re talking about here that’s a huge thing, maybe the most important thing. And I just think we struggled to have the confidence it takes to be successful.
How do you think Khalif Barnes responded after letting up the costly sack on the first play?
I thought there was one other play I was disappointed in, and other than that he was pretty solid the rest of the game.
What is it that convinces you that starting two rookie wide receivers is the right thing to do?
I guess probably what happened to us last year. By playing Johnnie Lee and Chaz there at the end, they were able to have their breakthrough and it kind of happened about the same time JaMarcus had his, in terms of improvement. So you know that’s where your future is and you want to go at it with the same mentality. That’s where we came from, we just went through that and it worked in that manner. But this one I believe will do the same thing. And I thought Darrius had the best week of preparation. It showed. If he had caught the fade there at the end, it would have been a heck of a game for him. Blocked very, very well, caught the opportunities that were there for him to make. So there’s some real progress in terms of his individual position. At the same time, you want the other guy to catch more balls and get lined up right and those kind of things. So it goes back and forth. It’s seven weeks into the season, there’s a lot of football left. I still know that this team’s gonna succeed this year. To what degree, that will be decided in the next nine weeks, 10 weeks. And I’m not gonna lose faith in it. I haven’t. And so we’ll just keep moving forward. And I just think the biggest issue for us right now is making sure we take care of each other on this football team.
You mentioned Johnnie Lee Higgins’ breakout last year. How come we aren’t seeing more of him at receiver?
We’ve talked about it ever since he got hurt. He still really has not responded well from that. He still is hesitant in there and you want to get him over that and again that’s another emotional or mental issue of confidence, knowing I can go in there and take a shot.
Are the drops by the rookies a matter of confidence or technique?
I think that’s focus and confidence. Really, the majority of those balls have been somewhere where they can get two hands on them, not always right on them or anything like that but I think we kind of have a saying here: If you can touch it, you can catch it. Sometimes it’s going to be a tough catch but if you can get two hands on it you ought to make catch it. It’s just a matter to me of concentration and then confidence.
What was the reason for the run defense showing so poorly against the Jets?
Really, that many missed tackles and alignment issues, it’s pretty easy to see why. When you’re playing a single-gap defense, that’s like you sitting in that chair. That’s all you have to do right now, just keep your butt in that chair and everything will be fine. And we just didn’t do a very good job of that. It’s not like we’re a two-gap scheme or anything like that where you can get knocked out of it and can’t respond and can’t get back into it. You’ve got one to line up and play so it’s up to each man to do his job and do that and we didn’t do a very good of it.
Why do you think your defense was unable to stop the run when they knew it was coming?
To me, it’s just having a trust in each other and belief in each other. Again that gets back to the same thing I just said, and that’s confidence. When you believe in each other and know what you can do, great things will happen. It just comes down to the big word accountability. I’ll be accountable to and you take care of me and that’s team, that’s football.
Are the run defense problems team-wide?
It was. I don’t know if you would single out any one individual or two individuals or any one position – 316 is 316.
Have you spoken with Russell about his benching Sunday and what was his reaction?
Just what I would expect it to be. Very clear, precise, as to why. No arguing or anything like that. He’s a big boy. His job is to win games and execute this offense.
What is the difference in the Chargers from week one?
Don’t know. I have not looked at them.
Can you talk about Justin Fargas’ contributions on Sunday?
That’s the shame of yesterday. We had a chance to run the ball like they ran it on us and then we got behind and weren’t able to do that. There was some good stuff going on up front and the runners were hitting seams, all three of them really. Even the one carry that Gary Russell had, made the right cut and converted second-and-two. Michael (Bush) was good, ran some nickel runs out of shotgun pretty well. We had our opportunity, but we turn it over too much. We have 14 turnovers in seven games, so that’s two a game, and that’s not going to win in this league, and that’s got to be addressed immediately. We talk about it all the time, but we’ve got to make an even bigger deal out of it. I thought we had a chance yesterday, and certainly Justin, he was ready to go, and unfortunately we didn’t get to see it through.
How surprised are you that your secondary only has one interception since the opener?
We’re turning it over too much, we’re not getting any turnovers, team-wide. We talk about getting the ball out, picking the ball out of the air on defense every day and talk about putting it away and making good decisions with it throwing it. But at the same time, when it has become such an issue for you you’ve got to put more attention than ever to it.
Are there any changes you can do to your return units to get more productivity?
You know there are some things we will take about that falls in line with the thing the asked about Jonnie [Higgins], his confidence as a punt returner, we know he is good at it, but we have not got him to put his foot in the ground and go right at the defense or the coverage team. You know we just have to get him over this, get him through it, and with kick off return Johnnie just either has to start hitting it or we will have to find someone who will.
Even though you haven’t had many penalties, the penalties you’ve had have hurt.
Yes there were three that really hurt, there was a defensive holding that gave them a first, one , a personal foul that got out of a drive on third down, kept it going and then the one to start the game on the kickoff return. There was one other call but they declined it. That is something we are excited about, we are not giving away yards, but its just one area and we have to improve in a few areas.
From the outside looking in, it seems that Javon isn’t good enough to play on your team. Accurate?
No not accurate, good enough yes, but his position needs to bring some special teams value and he really hasn’t done any of that. He is not a coverage guy, with Chaz coming back that role will shrink even more. Wish he had some of those things to bring to the table, he has gotten some opportunities we used him specifically against Philadelphia for some things and was just not able to find his way to make those plays.
If Walker is not good enough now, when?
Good question. I think its good to have him on his team with how things go with the young guys as far as injuries. Its just the role he has on this football team.
Does Walker lack burst?
Well again in the Philadelphia game we had some specific things for him and it just did not work out.
Do you regret releasing Jeff Garcia?
No. Some of that was his desire to be on this football team too. I don’t know if I at all follow the point you’re making.
Are you aware that the fans are unhappy judging by your attendance on Sunday?
I think for us we need to find some consistency in our play where we can win a game, a big game like Philadelphia, and come back the next week and do it again. If we want the fans to be here, don’t have such an up-and-down flow. Have some more consistency and I think that they’ll come. Certainly with the economic times the way they are, that has part of it to do with it too. When it comes down to being a fan, a loyal fan and all that, you want to see a good team.
Do you have a committee of leaders on your team?
I do. I think they’re doing a good job with it. We do have that here, it’s called a players council, and there’s 11 players on it. Very in tuned to this team. But at the end of the day it still comes down to one thing, just being accountable every day and every way you can for your team. I think collectively we have to be better there.
At times like this, wouldn’t you rather that Russell spoke with the media rather than letting the story grow up through Thursday?
I think when he’s comfortable enough to do that, mature enough to do that, he feels good about where he’s at as a quarterback, I think that will happen. I think it comes with the development at that position. Probably being scrutinized isn’t anybody’s favorite thing to do but it’s part of our job. You can’t run away from it necessarily but I think you have t be at a place where you can handle it. OK. Thank you.