Despite Leading the NFL in Penalties and a Late-Season Swoon, Hue Jackson’s Oakland Raiders still in Playoff Contention Heading into Week 17December 28, 2011 – 9:00 am by Steven Cuce
Richard Seymour saved the Oakland Raiders season last week by blocking two Ryan Succop field goals. The first field goal that Seymour blocked was a 49-yard attempt at the end of the first half, and the second one at the end of regulation was ironically also from 49-yards. On the first play of overtime, Carson Palmer hit Darrius Heyward-Bey for a 53-yard gain that helped seal a 16-13 victory when Sebastian Janikowski drilled a 36-yard field goal to improve Oakland to 8-7 and keep them in contention for either the AFC West crown or the sixth and final seed as a wild card.
Hue Jackson has constantly tried to reiterate to his team that the mental miscues and lack of discipline with penalties will cost the Raiders a playoff spot. Last week was almost the final nail in the coffin, but somehow the Raiders go into the final week of 2011 season with a chance at an AFC West title.
A win over the San Diego Chargers at home for the Raiders coupled with a Denver loss will get Oakland into the postseason.
Hue Jackson joined KNBR in San Francisco with Murph & Mac to discuss the overtime win over the Kansas City Chiefs being emotional, his fear that the penalty issues for the Oakland Raiders are going to cost his team a shot at the postseason, Richard Seymour putting the Raiders on his back by blocking two field goals against the Chiefs, the development of Darrius Heyward-Bey and his scouting report on the San Diego Chargers.
Was the win over the Kansas City Chiefs a particularly emotional experience for you?
“It was nerve racking. If we just didn’t have to constantly overcome our own screw ups I think we would be okay. We just continue to be the cardiac kids. Always at the end this thing can go one way or the other. I think we are better than that. We need to play better than that.”
I know penalties is something you want to fix. There were 15 penalties called on the Raiders in the game against the Chiefs. What can you do to get them more disciplined on the field and not shoot themselves in the foot?
“You just continue to bring it to their attention and continue to emphasize it, but at some point in time the men in that room have to make that choice and that decision. We haven’t done it as well as we can. Like I said I am never going to make excuses for what’s gone on. It is what it is. We’re a team that is the most penalized team in football. I don’t like it. I don’t think they like it. We gotta eliminate some of these stupid penalties because it is going to cost us. It’s going to cost us an opportunity to where we want to go. It almost cost us the other day. We don’t want that to be the reason why we are not having the opportunity to do the things we want to do.”
Two blocked field goals in one game for Richard Seymour. Can you comment on Richard Seymour and the effort that he put out there?
“I just think Richard [Seymour] is trying to put this team on his back and get us to where we want to go. He understands the situation that we are in. I think our whole team does and that was a heck of a play by him twice. He would not be denied and got in there and blocked those kicks that gave us an opportunity to win the game in overtime.
Can you tell us a little bit more on the development of Darrius Heyward-Bey this season?
“When I came here a year ago I watched Darrius [Heyward-Bey]. I knew Darrius had the tools to be a good player. The one thing he has above everything else is that he is a very hard worker. I think if you combine hard work with a guy who has talent eventually everything will work out for him. What I try to do is put him in situations where he can have success catching the ball a year ago and he did. He got better. Even though the numbers weren’t what everybody expected because of the draft status. He got better. This year he’s going through the roof because we’ve built on last year. I think he’s even taken his game to another level in how he prepares, how he goes about playing the game and it’s starting to show. Is there still an occasional drop here or there that we’d like to make sure we can get rid of? Yeah. But that’s the next phase for him. I just think his confidence is growing by leaps and bounds because I think he now sees himself and the potential of what he really is and he’s becoming that.”
What are some of the things that the San Diego Chargers excel at coming into this week’s game?
“Well they are a really good team contrary to what happened last week. They are very good on offense. He [Philip Rivers] – the quarterback – knows how to deliver the ball and get it to their playmakers and make big plays. On defense they are still very talented. They’ve been one of the better defenses in the league all year. They have very good players. They know how to make plays. Sometimes it just doesn’t happen for you on certain days and I think that is what happened to them last week, but they’ll be geared up and ready to play. Norv Turner will have those guys ready to come fight to play as hard as they can to give themselves an opportunity and what we have to do is play our best game of the year.”