The man sounds very upbeat for a head coach who’s suppose to be working for an unruly boss in Al Davis over in the black hole that is the Oakland Raiders. Hue Jackson recently saw that three of his players [Darren McFadden, Richard Seymour and Nnamdi Asomugha] were named in the NFL Network’s Top 100 players list and it comes as no surprise to the first year head coach. Jackson looks forward to the challenge of getting more out of his players like the high priced Darrius Heyward-Bey, who has never quite panned out as the top flight wide receiver he was touted be coming out of Maryland as the seventh overall pick in the 2009 draft.
A brand new coaching staff is now in place for the Raiders and the challenge for this first year group is not only weathering the current lockout in place, but also preparing for the inevitable, which is free agency, whenever that may begin. We would like to think that once the free agency light turns green bedlam will ensue. The stark reality for Oakland is the fact that cornerback, Nnamdi Asomugha, will command a hefty price in free agency as the top defense back in the NFL and from the looks of it he won’t wear the silver and black in the future. Jackson is doing his best to be prepared for whatever the circumstances may be if the lockout were to be lifted and from the sound of it “Raider Nation,” should feel at ease by the confidence that their new sheriff projects in the following interview with KNBR.
Hue Jackson joined KNBR in San Francisco with Murph and Mac to discuss his thoughts on the current progress of the NFL lockout and being optimistic, passing the time as a coaching staff during the NFL lockout, the future of Nnamdi Asomugha, his feelings on Al Davis and what Al Davis has been doing to pass the time during the NFL lockout.
Are you starting to get encouraged based on what you’re hearing on the labor front? What is your stance on the current progress of the collective bargaining negotiations?
“I am getting excited because it’s getting closer to July and that means training camp. I truly believe there is going to be football. I’m very excited about getting these players back here and moving towards our goals.”
How are you guys passing the time during the lockout since the NFL draft ended? How do you organize the time? How do you pass the days as a new coaching staff?
“Obviously there’s still a lot of work to be done. There’s still things to do and there’s no question about that as you continue to talk about the team you are going to play. There’s going to be at some point in time free agency. The landscape of the teams will change a little bit and you just try to guess where you think a team will be heading and you’re just making sure that you are prepared for everything that can happen, but as of this past week it probably would have been the last week you had your players anyway. The normal process of an NFL year the coaches right now would be getting ready to go on vacation, preparing for training camp. We’re almost in that mode even though we know it’s going to be a little bit different. I think guys are just so eager to see a player in the facility and we truly believe it’s going to happen soon rather then later, so I think we are getting really excited because again training camp is right around the corner.”
What are your thoughts on Nnamdi Asomugha? Are you planning to be with him or do you think he will go elsewhere in free agency? Are you planning to be without him?
“Obviously that answer I have for him will never change because until the league says exactly what they are doing I can’t really comment on that, but I will tell you that he is very deserving of being in the top 10 [NFL Network's Top 100 Players in the NFL List]. He’s a tremendous, tremendous, player and a tremendous Raider. No one knows exactly how it is all going to shake out. I’d love to have every one of our free agents back, but obviously there are things that are going to dictate how that all works out, but he is a tremendous player and a very great person just…he’s what you look for in a true professional.”
What are your thoughts on your boss Al Davis?
“I call him Coach Davis. Absolutely. It’s amazing just the other day I put up our Hall of Fame wall downstairs. He’s [Al Davis] in there because he was inducted, but this man was a coach. He was one of the best coaches in the league at one time and decided he wanted to go own a team. He’s done a great job of doing that. Coaches respect coaches and when I talk to fellow coaches I call them ‘Coach.’ I know he is the owner, but we talk about more than just all the different ins-and-outs of the league and what’s going on. We talk football. We talk about the power play. We talk about the sweep play. We talk about pass plays. We talk about what’s going to be the best defense for us to get a team stopped. To me there is no owner like him in this league that I’ve been associated with.”
What is Al Davis doing to pass the time during the lockout? He must be going crazy?
“Well he’s watching a lot of tape. I probably see that. He’s all fired up and ready to go just like we all are. Our whole organization is very excited when this thing is over, so we can go do what we do best, which is put this organization back on the map and go play football the way we know the Raiders can play ball.”