The Oakland Raiders concluded their final day of training camp on Thursday morning, and the coaches and players opened up to the media to talk about how they think they fared.
Perhaps the biggest news from Thursday was the availability of first-year offensive coordinator Hue Jackson, who finally spoke to the media for the first time since his hiring on January 26th.
The Raiders have two more preseason games remaining before their season opener. They'll face off against the 49ers this Saturday, in what will probably be the best barometer of success for the upcoming season. They finish off the preseason against the Seahawks, in a game where the final few "bubble" players will have a chance to prove themselves to the coaching staff before the final cuts are made. The team opens the regular season on September 12th on the road against the Tennessee Titans.
Practice will resume on Monday. It will be closed to the media.
Quotes from coaches and players…
On who didn't practice today and who won't be available against the 49ers…
"We get four guys who didn't practice. Schilens, Satele, Alex Daniels, Jay Richardson. Chris Johnson continued to do more and more work. I would think all five of those guys will be out for this game."
Summarizing the 2010 training camp…
"Just what I told them just now – well done. We came with our plan and we got through everything. We installed everything that we wanted to. The mission was to try and get better everyday. Not have those days where you're really disgusted or disappointed as a coaching staff that, man, we really went backwards today. We didn't have any of those days. So, well done by this football team."
On what to accomplish between now and the season opener…
"Really, just stay the course. A, our number one goal has been to stay healthy, and B, to keep improving. You know, so Saturday is important to us in regards to both of those, and then next week will be the same thing."
On Darren McFadden and how much the starters will play on Saturday…
"He is full go. I can tell you right now, I would expect the starters to play through the first half and open the third quarter and then be out of the game at that point."
On what to watch for against the 49ers…
"I want to see us get better. I want to see us continue our development offensively with a nice start—fast start last week—and see if we can carry that through one series to the next. Defensively, obviously no big plays. You know, and the kicking game, we're really close now with our return game and I'd like to see us get a breakthrough there."
On Bruce Gradkowski…
"Bruce will play extensively."
"He has not been able to participate because of injury, so he's missed a lot and because of that, it created an opportunity for Kyle Boller to step up. Obviously, we've all seen it. We're very pleased with what he's been able to do in his time, so he definitely has got to compete his rear end off and go out and move the team."
On the number two quarterback…
"Well, that's yet to be determined. Obviously, Jason's our starter at this point and time. Obviously, Bruce is going to play in this game. Kyle's done a wonderful job, and I think we're just going to kind of let this thing sort itself out over the next couple of weeks."
On how different the offense will look this year…
"Well, I hope it's already looking different. The most important thing is we're striving for balance. We want to be a team that we can run the football when we need to run it and we can throw it when we need to throw it. Obviously, we're a multiple formation team. We have some no huddle. We do a little bit of everything. We do whatever it takes to win football games and I think that's the most important thing that I've stressed."
On what he has seen so far…
"I'm very excited about the progress that we've made. Obviously, from week one to week two there was improvement. We're looking for that same improvement from week two to week three. As we continue to move forward, our whole goal is to make sure that we're ready to hit the ground running when the regular season starts, and I think we're well on our way to that happening."
On Darrius Heyward-Bey…
"I think the sky's the limit for the young man. I just think he needs to go play and I think he will this week. Obviously, we've been in one game with him. He didn't play very much the first game, didn't make it to last week's game. I'm looking forward to watching him play. Again, that's why I'm saying. I'm excited about watching a lot of our pieces finally come out and play together for an extended period of time and see where we are."
On the quarterback's role as a leader…
"I think it's very important that the quarterback is able to take players and get those guy around him to follow him, to understand exactly what the message is that's being sent, not just on the field but also off the field. And I think we've got four very capable guys, and they're working at it each and everyday, and I feel good about the direction that we're going in."
On offensive coordinator Hue Jackson…
"He's brought so much to this team, especially offensively. His mindset. His attitude. He pushes everybody each and every play. There's not a day off, there's not a play off. In order to be a champion in life, you've got to work like one. That's what he preaches everyday, to work like a champion."
"San Francisco is a really good football team. They're well disciplined, they're well coached, and they don't beat themselves, so it's a great challenge for us heading into the regular season because you get to face an opponent in San Francisco that there's a lot of different things offensively. Defensively, they move around a lot, they bring different blitzes, so it will be good for us to get a lot of stuff on tape, see what we need to continue to work on and what we need to do."
On finally having some consistency in the coaching staff…
"You know, it's always a big impact when you don't have a coaching change because guys are used to the person who is calling the shots."
On being 2-0 in the preseason and what those wins mean…
"Just getting the wins, even though it's preseason, it's just getting those wins builds your confidence and gets you used to it."
Quotes from the Final Day of Training Camp
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