The Oakland Raiders have been one of the surprise teams of the NFL this season. Oakland really put a stamp on that last Sunday when they went out and beat the Houston Texans on the road in the wake of the death of owner Al Davis. Now the Raiders return home for the first time since Davis’ death, and the organization will commemorate him during their Week 6 home game against the Cleveland Browns.
That scenario has many believing that they could run into an emotional wall and suffer a setback against the Browns. Raiders coach Hue Jackson doesn’t believe that will be the case, saying his team understands the task at hand. With the San Diego Chargers off this week, Oakland has a chance to move within half a game of first place in the AFC West.
Hue Jackson joined KHTK in Sacramento with Grant Napear to discuss what the past week has been like, what Al Davis meant to him, what it’s like to be 3-2, what he was most happy about in beating the Texans, the most valuable players on his team up to this point, how the team will avoid an emotional letdown, the excitement brewing in the Raiders’ fanbase and the progression of Jason Campbell.
On what the last week or so has been like:
“It’s been some hard days, but they get better each and every day. As we continue to move forward and get a little bit more separation from losing coach, I think everything will get back to normal. … Obviously it was a tough weekend, but it was a fun weekend, too. We got another win under our belts against a very good team in Houston.”
What did Al Davis mean to you personally?:
“Coach Davis was a great boss. He taught me so much about the Raiders, the organization, how he put this team together, why certain things happen the way they do. He showed me a lot of the inner workings of the Raiders and I really thank him for that. And more so than that, he gave me the opportunity to be a head coach when nobody else would. So I can’t help but thank the man for all he’s done for me in my career and hopefully I can pay him back by winning a championship here.”
How happy are you that your team is 3-2, especially given the schedule that you have faced?:
“I’m OK. I wish we were 5-0, but I’ll take where we are because it’s what we’ve earned. … Obviously we have some work to do and we all understand that and respect that. But we feel like we also let some opportunities slip through our fingers. It was great this past weekend. We’ve been in that situation before: Fourth down, backed up with our defense on the field and wasn’t able to make the play in Buffalo and was able to make it the other day.”
What were you most happy about in beating the Texans?:
“We found a way to win. Sometimes it’s not about statistics or anything. The thing I was really impressed with in our football team is we kept fighting. Things wasn’t going great early, on offense especially. … I think that’s what you’ve got to do. There’s some games you’ve just got to grind it out and find a way to win.”
What has kicker Sebastian Janikowski meant to your football team?:
“He’s probably right up there with Darren McFadden and Shane Lechler as our MVPs. Those guys have made some tremendous plays for us as we started out the season. … We need them to continue to do what they’re doing.”
How do you avoid a letdown this weekend on what could be a very emotional day as the team returns home?:
“I just don’t think we have time for letdowns. We’re not in that situation. We’re a 3-2 football team, one game over .500 and we know what’s at stake here in our stadium against Cleveland and we need to go play well. … We’ve got to make sure our home games we take care of because we all know how tough it is to win on the road. … We must protect our house.”
Do you feel an increasing excitement brewing within the Raiders’ fan base?:
“I do and I really appreciate our fans and Raider Nation and the people who are becoming excited about our football team because it is something to get excited about. I think the time is now. I know everybody’s talking about a letdown, but I don’t think this team is going to let that happen.”
Talk about the development of quarterback Jason Campbell:
“I think he really truly has [developed]. He is the leader of our offense. He has the true command of it. Obviously the communication part, as we continue to move forward, needs to continue to grow, especially when we play in noisy environments. You’ve got to have poise in the noise. … But he’s done a great job. He understands the system. He understands how to distribute the ball to the different players on this team, how to get us out of bad situations. … But we’re chasing perfection here.”