Oakland Raiders head coach Hue Jackson was back flexing his vocal muscles for an interview with NFL.com's Steve Wyche and Bucky Brooks. Nodey Crim posted a link to the podcast here. As with any time Action Jackson speaks I am left pounding my chest, tackling my couch and drooling for the 2011 season to start.
"There's going to be one way to do business, and that's the Raider way. We're not expecting to win two years from now three years from now we are expecting to win now." Hue certainly got the message that 8-8 was not a desirable outcome. "We have an expectation to win. That's what I expect we are going to do. We are committed to excellence. We are going to chase perfection this season, and we are going to get it."
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Jackson was asked about returning the Raiders to their mystique and hiring former Raiders like Greg Biekert and Steve Wisniewski to his staff.
"The biggest thing that I am able to do is talk to these men about the history of the Raiders. Of the great Raider players and teams, and people that have played way before them. And then I am going to go out and create an environment for our players to be just that. And what you said it is a mystique. Its the Raiders mystique. We believe we have it. We believe we were close a year ago. There's no question it's about creating an environment for these players to be the best that they can be and pushing them and driving them, but they want to be great."
A recurring theme with Jackson is focus on putting players in the best position for them to succeed. That is truly the foundation of any good coach, and coaching is not something Jackson just fell into. It is something he has always coveted and feels supremely equipped to do.
"There are going to be some difference," Jackson told Wyche and Brooks when asked about making the switch to head coach. "and I am going to have to deal with them as I move into them, from managing the game from both sides of the ball, but I have very good coaches that I will lean on and depend on. ...My expectations are through the roof. This is all I think about each and every day. It's what I dream about. It's what I've always wanted to do is have an opportunity to lead a group of men and an organization towards a common goal, which is winning a championship. I think I can get men to follow me, and create an environment for them to be all that they can be, and that's what this is truly about."
Jackson was asked about the tremendous speed on the Raiders and Al Davis' love for speed. He quickly lets everyone know that while speed is coveted it is useless without the football skills to go with it.
"You know what's amazing is that the first thing you mentioned is that coach Davis loves speed, but I like speed, too. ...also show the skill level that we're looking for and the tenacity to play this game at a high level. ...When it's all said and done you gotta go play football. You gotta be able to take that helmet and go put it on somebody and that's what we are going to do."
This is another recurring theme with Jackson. He wants playmakers on his team, but above everything he wants football players—guys that aren't afraid to get physical.
Jackson was asked what he thought about the player workouts:
"It tells me that the message I've been sending since the day I became head coach, that players are buying in—that there is an expectation here again in Oakland. We got a taste of it a year ago at 8-8. They know it's all in working. There's no magic to this at all. This thing is called hard work. ...It's about team camaraderie, chemistry, guys knowing each other, feeding off each other, feeding off enthusiasm, pushing each other.
"For Richard [Seymour], who is one of the best players in this league bar none at his position, to take this team—along with Jason Campbell, who's our quarterback—and say guys we need to start working towards our championship season said to me that our leaders are stepping up grabbing these players, pulling this train by the horn, and not just waiting for coach Jackson to do it 'cause it is going to take more than me. It's going to take every last one of us to get this thing done."
He was then asked how he thought the adversity of the lockout and the shortened offseason would effect he and his team. It is safe to say that Hue is not worried about it. He is viewing this as a chance to get ahead and not fall behind.
"The real good coaches with the good staffs are going to rise to the top. ...I think the players have to take that responsibility, too. all across the league right now players are either working out, preparing, or they are slacking. And I can tell you, and I fully believe, our players are preparing because they know me. Our practices are going to be fast, it's going to be furious, it's going to be attacking."
Hue was then asked the obligatory Nnamdi question. And he gave the same answer he has before, which is about as good as he can do given the fact that coaches aren't allowed to comment on specific free agents. Jackson wants every player back, but that he realizes it is a business.
Then finally Hue dropped this little nugget regarding the name change of the team's home turf:
"We going to call that bad boy the 'O' and we are going to make that place rock."