Q&A with Bill Callahan

The Coach answers some difficult questions before the Jets game: <BR><BR> Q: How has Al Davis been doing with the season you have been having?

Callahan: I don't know. I couldn't tell you what he thinks or how he feels.

Q: You have not spoken to him?

Callahan: I speak to him but basically on a personal level and essentially on a schematic level. We will talk about different schemes and some other subjects whether it be personnel or philosophy. He and I do discuss a lot of things but I do not have an opinion on your question.

Q: What kind of year has it been for you going from playing in the Super Bowl to a 2-6 record?

Callahan: I think for the team it has been very frustrating for the fact that we have been in so many close games. Looking at the second quarter of our schedule, in this four game losing streak, we have been in some really tight ball games; with Chicago, losing by three, six to Cleveland, seven to Kansas City and ten by Detroit on Sunday. We have been in every game in the last four of the second quarter of our season, but we just have not found a way to close out a win yet.

Q: About off field comments?

Callahan: I had a good conversation with Charles Woodson today and I think, and I can't speak for him or tell the content of my conversation with him, but I felt very good about the conversation and I feel that it really comes down to winning. We are both highly motivated players and coaches that want to win in the worst way. It is all about winning here at the Raiders. That is what we are about and that is what we have been about. That is what is really frustrating to us that we have not put the wins together that we have shot for, that we have earmarked in terms of our goals.

Q: What kind of confidence do you have in Mirer?

Callahan: We have tremendous confidence or Rick would not be with us. He had an outstanding year when he played back there for you guys and he put up some good numbers. His completion percentage was right around 60% and he did some good things obviously. He has functioned very well on the run with this system.

Q: What are your plans for Rob Johnson?

Callahan: Rob is a guy that is a nine year vet and has been around the league and is proven in every respect. Here is another guy that is very sharp and has been playing and practicing this year and he has the familiarity with this system from John Gruden, who is a friend of mine, who is with Tampa Bay now, that he played for a year ago. So, he knows our terminology, he knows our system and he knows our nuances that allows him to step in and play the back up role.

Q: Do you feel that age has done something to your team?

Callahan: As long as we are productive, I really have no problem with the age of our players. I really feel that we have not been executing and capitalizing the way we have in the past and that is really the tell tale of our season. We have turned the ball over at inopportune times. We have penalized ourselves and put ourselves in some drastic down and distance situations that we can't get out of and couldn't get out of even if we tried. We have pushed ourselves back as much as third and 20 at times. It is so difficult to function in those down and distances. What I am saying is the turnovers and penalties compounded with every phase of our game that is not in sync this year. It has been very frustrating because we are a capable.

Q: How difficult has it been to prepare for this week?

Callahan: I really believe when you go through a portion of losing, everyone goes through it, there is a particular syndrome that you go through and part of that is losing your focus and giving in to distraction. It is important, and I mentioned this to the team and the coaches, that we remain focus and do everything we can to control what we can control. That is our preparation for the Jets. So, we have really isolated ourselves here this week and recommitted ourselves to this week. It is a great rivalry, as you know. We like playing the Jets. It has been competitive, fierce and it is everything that you look for in a rivalry. Herman has done a great job over the years. Just watching his career and what he has done with that team. Unfortunately for both teams, we are sitting on the other side of the ledger and I am sure it will be a hell of a contest on Sunday. We will be playing for that third win, you can believe that.

Q: How rusty is Rick?

Callahan: When you don't play, you don't play. You have to figure that into the equation. He has taken an abundance of repetitions throughout the week of practice. He continued to work with the scout team when he wasn't the starting quarterback. That was one of the ways that we manufactured his production. We tried to get him involved with the scout team. He is involved in all the meetings and he is well conditioned and well prepared for this challenge.

Q: Does it seem like the Jets are a part of your division now that you have played them a number of times?

Callahan: From what I have seen on film this year, the Jets have made tremendous improvements in their last two games. The strength of their pass offense and pass defense has been very good. Offensively, Martin is heating up in the running game again, Pennington is starting to get rhythm and Moss has had some big games. It looks like those two tight ends are really productive. We have our hands full this weekend no doubt.

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