From Grant Napear
OAKLAND (CBS13) — Is all right with the Raiders and coach Hue Jackson again after a big divisional win over the San Diego Chargers last week that stopped a two-game slide?
Jackson was under criticism after Oakland was shut out by Kansas City 28-0 and then outscored by Denver 17-0 in the fourth quarter of a 38-24 loss in back-to-back divisional games, both at home. But the Raiders rebounded with a 24-17 win at San Diego and now sit alone atop the AFC West at 5-4, one game ahead of everyone else in the division.
“It was huge,” he said of the win while making his weekly radio appearance on KTHK’s Grant Napear Show. “But when I took this job, I knew all the pitfalls that go with. That pressure doesn’t bother me. That’s part of it.”
Asked what changed to get back to winning, Jackson said it was the Raiders’ physical approach to the game.
“I thought we came out and dominated both sides of the ball,” he said. “I thought we fought very hard.”
Several players had huge roles in the win, including quarterback Carson Palmer with 299 yards passing and Michael Bush with 242 combined yards, but fans selected Denarius Moore as their player of the game on the Raiders’ Facebook page. The rookie receiver had five catches for 123 yards receiving and two big-play TDs.
“I’m very excited about the young man, have been since we drafted him,” Jackson said of the fifth-round pick out of Tennessee. “He doesn’t have any fear. He doesn’t worry about how many catches he gets or how many balls get thrown his way. He’s really about the team winning.”
There were some media reports after the Raiders’ two-game slide that perhaps Jackson had assumed too much of an ego with his enhanced role in the organization after the passing of owner Al Davis. Jackson, however, says he continues to work on changing the culture of the team and that the Raiders’ are on the right track.
“I don’t think you lead anybody by fear,” he said of his coaching style. “If you have to do it by fear, this is the wrong profession. This is a team. We’re changing a lot of things here. I know the fans want it to happen overnight. So do I. I want to win every game. I want everything to go right. But the last time I checked, the teams we play, they get paid to play too.”
Up next on Sunday is a road game against the Minnesota Vikings. The team has struggled to a 2-7 record but still presents problems on offense with dynamic running back Adrian Peterson and on defense with high-motor defensive lineman Jared Allen, who leads the NFL in sacks with 13.5.
Jackson said stopping Allen will be a challenge.
“He’s as good as there is in football,” the coach said. “He’s the best pass rusher in football, obviously. We have to do everything we can to combat that. I guarantee we’re going to go there and we’re going to battle. Jared Veldheer and Khalif Barnes have done a great job, and we’ll do everything we can to help in pass protection to give our team the best chance to have success.”
There was a lot of second-guessing around the league after the Raiders gave up one first-round draft pick and a conditional second No. 1 to Cincinnati in the trade for Palmer, but after throwing three picks in his Raiders debut in the second half against Kansas City, Palmer has shown steady progress and the ability to make big-time throws.
But did Jackson expect the former Heisman Trophy winner to come on this fast, this quickly?
“Yes I did,” he told Napear. “That’s why we went and made the trade we made — because we truly believed over the course of a few weeks he’d get to up where he needed to be. He’s still not there yet, he’ll be the first to tell you, but I’m telling you this guy is working at it, his teammates are working at it with him. It’s starting to really show.”
Jackson said the Minnesota game starts a critical stretch run of the season where the Raiders can control their own destiny in the division.
“We understand we’ve crossed the halfway point, and now it’s time to finish,” he said.
Here the complete interview on KHTK The Fan: