In the 212 days that Hue Jackson has been offensive coordinator, but not talked to the media, I think he has been in training for the day he would. The guy is a walking Raider sound-byte. There was no better way for the Raiders to close the curtain on training camp 2010 then to have Hue Jackson stoke the fires of hope.
In the end, words are cheap. We are all hungry for victories, but in a time where hope is abundant and the season is a blank highlight reel, let us reflect on the positive vibes of change surrounding this team, which is summarized and taken to even new levels by the words of the new offensive coordinator.
Here is the transcript of his inaugural media session. Then here are my favorite sound-bytes from the sound-bytes from the mouth of Action Jackson:
Honestly, we’re trying to build a bully here. We want to go back and take our football team and understand what the Raiders’ tradition is. And I think every player that wears that helmet understands what we’re trying to build here each and every day, and it’s about competing.... This is a different time in Raider football, and I’m excited about it, and we all are.
Our guys have really embraced my attitude and the things that I’m looking for because the bottom line is we want to win, and we expect to win here. And that’s the difference. There is an expectation here. The Raiders are supposed to win. And that is our expectation and that’s what we are going to do.
We do whatever it takes to win football games. That’s the most important thing that I’ve stressed from our coaches to our players that whatever it takes to win that’s what we’re going to do.
We have some prime time football players and we’re tailoring our style of offense around those players to give them the best opportunity to have success.
I love it. He speaks of the transition of the culture while bringing it back to the roots of the glorious franchise we have come to love. He then goes on to show he is ready to be flexible. That he wants to build an offense that plays to the strength of the talent he has.
Many coaches clutch their systems like security blankets and force square players into round holes. Hue has been around virtually every offense during his coaching tenure. I am excited to see this coaching staff tweak and run systems that play to their strengths.
Hue also knows who is signing his checks. He mentioned Al Davis in glowing terms many times. In Hue's case, I think it can be seen as more than just blowing smoke up places no man would want to go. He did, after all, choose to come here over the Bears. He speaks with reverance when speaking of Davis and his football knowledge.
He didn't ignore the fact that Davis likes to have input on how things are run on this here football team.
Because, again, let’s make no bones about it, this is his football team, and I have a great respect for that.
Jackson also makes it clear that while others will have input--in the end, it is his offense.
...there’s got to be one leader as you move forward. I do take a little bit from everyone.
For what it's worth, I think this is the way to work with Al Davis. Don't fight his want to be involved. Accept his input and convince him that some things will need to be done your way. Outline a vision towards success for him and he will give you more space to operate. It is the blueprint to success that Gruden used and the one this staff seems to be following.
Other items to emerge from the last day of camp:
- Bruce Gradkowski has the QB competition that he has been asking for. Except it is for the back-up role.
- There was no mention how the snaps would be divided between Kyle Boller and Grad on Saturday. Cable did say that the starters would play into the third quarter.
- Out for Saturday are: Chris Johnson, Alex Daniels, Samson Satele, Jay Richardson and Chaz Schilens
- Jason Campbell was reported to have had a good day of practice. He was 5 for 7 in redzone drills, with all 5 completions going for TD's.
- DHB was sharp again at practice and showing no signs of fatigue.
Marcel Reece seems to be winning the FB war as he is apparently improving his blocking skills.
- All in all, good camp I say. The coaches were pleased, but what else would they say. Injuries (knocking on wood) were limited and the team seems further ahead than when they came in. The biggest area of regret may be the lack of repetitions that Campbell had with his WR's. Chaz, DHB and Louis Murphy were only on the field together for four days of camp.
- When asked, Cable pointed towards the elusive perpetual forward motion his team has now found as the highlight of camp:
We came with our plan, we got through everything, we installed everything that we wanted to. The mission was to try and get better every day, not have those days where you’re really disgusted or disappointed as a coaching staff, that, ‘Man, we really went backward today.’ We didn’t have any of those days.
- Never one afraid to speak his mind, Nnam pointed out the difference in the work ethic as one of his favorite aspects of this new Raiders squad:
And every camp you guys have been here, that’s been the thing — work after practice, work after practice. And now, there’s like, you know you’re seeing like seven, eight guys, nine, ten guys doing it, and you’re like, ‘well this is new,’ and it’s great.