Oakland Conference Calls

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Transcript of conference calls with Oakland head coach Tom Cable and rookie RB Darren McFadden on Wednesday afternoon:    

RB DARREN McFADDEN

On the mood of the team…

Not bad. For us, playing football, you have to have a short memory. Everybody comes out, and we put [the losses] behind us. Everyone's going forward. We're not looking at what happened last Sunday. We're trying to prepare for this Sunday coming up.

On what the past two weeks have been like…

It's something that happens in the game. In college I had to deal a lot with coaches and things like that. Change is part of the game so it's something that I have no control over and can't really get into.

On his health…

I've been trying to fight through it. Turf toe is a hard injury to overcome. Right now I'm just trying to fight through it and go out there and put forth the best effort that I can.

On if he hoped to be drafted by the Jets…

Going into the draft, wherever I ended up playing football I was to be going happy. I was ready to get somewhere, get on a team so I could get settled in and start playing football again.

On the Jets' run defense…

They have a great defensive line and great linebackers. They've been playing the run very well. It's just something that we have to go out there and do our best. We can't worry about how they are going to play, we just have to know how we're going to go out there and play.

On if he has taken any direct snaps…

We've done a few of them. I can't really say how many we've done, but we've done it a few times.

On if he likes taking direct snaps…

I love doing it. Growing up, I played quarterback a lot, so being able to go back and take a direct snap under center just makes you feel at home again.

On his nickname in college…

"The Wild Hog."

On if he is surprised that more NFL teams don't use the "Wildcat" formation…

It's hard to say. Some coaches won't go with it because they want to go old-fashioned, just put the quarterback there and let them run the offense. Then there are some that want to experiment and put running backs back there and see what kind of plays they can make. It's just how coaches look at it and how they want to use it. I can't really say if I'm surprised that more teams don't use it or do use it.

On the team's success running the ball…

Just going out there with a great work ethic and going out there working hard at it. Our offensive line is doing a great job getting a push off the ball. Those have to be the main things for us.

On the biggest adjustment he has had to make…

I would say just getting used to the speed of the game. It's more of an even playing field. In college you have some guys that aren't as fast as other guys. Right now it's just the speed of the game. You have to get your foot in the ground and get going north.

On if the adjustment to the NFL has been easier than he expected…

It's something that was kind of expected. You don't really get the full gist of it until you're out there playing and see it being done.

On if the last two weeks have been a circus…

For the players, it's something that has been bringing us closer together. Going out there, you have everybody saying all kinds of things about your coach and your organization. As players, it brings us closer together and makes us want to work harder.

On the mindset in the locker room…

We've been keeping a positive mindset about it and just try keep working and just trying to push through. We know that if you come on through the tunnel, there's light on the other end. Right now we're just trying to keep pushing through it.

On the atmosphere of playing in Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum…

It's been great. Coming out of the SEC, we had great home games and fans that were very supportive. Being in Oakland, it's pretty much the same way. The fans are great. They've always supported us. It's something I love to see coming out there on Sundays.

On if the level of commitment by the fans in terms of how they dress surprises him…

That's something that I love. They're very passionate about it. They get dressed up and come out and tailgate all day on Sundays. It's something that you love to see once you're a football player.

On what he needs to improve…

The main thing for me, besides the pass-blocking, it was something that coming out of school, pass-blocking was something that I needed to get better at. Something that I have been doing and getting better at is being more patient and not getting the ball and trying to take off running. Now I feel like I've been slowing down and letting it develop for me.

On if he thinks his patience will get better over time…

I'm just getting a feel of it. I've been doing a lot better job than I did when I first started off. I've been slowing down and reading my blocks. It's starting to get better now.

On having three running backs in the backfield…

It's something that you have to work with. If you have three backs back there who can all go in there and do a pretty good job of running the ball, you have to get used to it. It doesn't matter at all because you know the guy that is going in there for you or the guy you're going to go in there for, you know they're going to give it up too.

HEAD COACH TOM CABLE

On if he is still coaching the Raiders' offensive line…

I'm still coaching it.

On coaching under owner Al Davis…

The expectations are, I don't think, any different than anywhere else in the National Football League. You're here to win games, and as a head coach that's your job. It has really been an honor and a privilege to coach for Al Davis this last week and a half now. I have enjoyed it. I certainly didn't enjoy last Sunday very much. In and around that, I have enjoyed it. He has been very knowledgeable with me. He has given me a lot of insight and it has been a very positive experience thus far.

On how often Davis checks in with the team…

It's probably a couple of times a week. I think people need to understand he just wants to be aware of what's going on. He doesn't want to make decisions. He doesn't want to be involved in day-to-day planning. All of those things are not true in regards to Mr. Davis. Like I said, it's been great. We just need to get to winning football games.

On if the priority this year is developing QB JaMarcus Russell or winning…

I think both. I think they go hand in hand, quite honestly. I think you have to continue to develop him. He's the future of this organization, he's the future of this franchise for whatever success lies ahead. It's imperative that you continue to bring him along and get him up to speed. He had some struggles on Sunday, but you certainly look for him to grow from it this week and just be that much better this week.

On if Al Davis would allow him to replace Russell…

I don't think that's even necessary. That makes no sense.

On if Lane Kiffin being fired was a distraction…

Certainly, we were all aware of the conflict going on. What you do is you do your job. If you're the line coach, be the line coach. If you're coaching the receivers, coach the receivers, or the DBs. The more you put into that, sure, it'll affect you. You really have to discipline yourself to stay away from it, to stay out of it and just do your job.

On the challenges of facing the Jets' defensive line…

You have to protect your quarterback. You're right, they're very multiple and they do a ton of stuff. They're incredibly well-coached. They're doing so much and they do it well. They seem to just be getting better and better each week. This is going to be a tremendous challenge for us. First and foremost, you have to take care of the quarterback because they're going to come from all over the place.

On the challenge of running against the Jets…

They're third [in the NFL in rushing defense] for a reason. You just turn on the tape and you see how great [Kris] Jenkins is playing at nose guard, and [Shaun] Ellis and [Kenyon] Coleman are playing at defensive end. Their two outside linebackers are very, very physical players. There is a reason they are very good and they put them in a position to succeed. Those guys are playing very well.

For us right now, we just need to keep doing what we're trying to do to win games and keep developing our quarterback and that matchup, in terms of running the football and all that. It'll be interesting, but we have bigger fish to fry right now.

On the outside perception that the Raiders are dysfunctional right now…

I don't know. I'm not going to get into that. I know that I was a line coach a week and a half ago, and now I'm a head coach. I'm just trying to get us in a position where we can have success. If I worry about all that other stuff I'd probably coach the line poorly and be a head coach poorly. I don't want to do either one of those.

On the Jets' offensive line…

First of all, I liked all of those guys when they came out. I think the center [Nick Mangold] is a special, special guy. Obviously, [Alan] Faneca is a great player and has been for a long time. [D'Brickashaw] Ferguson, a good player. That right side I think doesn't get a lot of attention and yet they're very consistent, they're well-coached. Bill Callahan is a great line coach. They have a lot of tools and a lot of good players.

On the Jets' defensive line…

Jenkins was at Carolina when I was in Atlanta, so I know him pretty well. He's a dominant guy. I think, obviously, there is a real reason for how the defense has really stepped up versus the run. He's a huge part of that. Ellis and Coleman and those guys, they set the edge and they're very good with their hands. They play that style of defense very, very effectively. Like I told you, we have our hands full. This is a very good football team coming in here.

On if he has experience playing against Calvin Pace…

We do. He was in Arizona, so we saw him last season in the preseason here and we saw him out in Atlanta. Again, a very good football player. He reminds me a little bit of those guys in San Diego. He's active, he doesn't stay blocked very long and is a tremendous pass rusher. He can disrupt you in the run game. He can disrupt you in pass protection. You really have to do a great job with him. There's no question.

On the talent of the team and whether the chemistry just needs to get on the same page…

I think so. I said that to them on Monday. I believe in them, I have great faith in them, and the bottom line is that I think when you're in an environment where there has been a lot of losing, it can become your culture. I think we have to fight that. I don't think you can ever get used to losing. I think you have to keep pressing on.

I think the accountability issue to each other becomes your real cement. It becomes what is going to keep you together. Just stressing that to them and getting them to take responsibility to that, because all the talent in the world doesn't mean [anything]. It really doesn't mean [anything] if you don't play as a football team. The team concept, at whatever level in the game of football, is of the upmost importance.

On what went wrong Sunday…

In a nutshell, too many incompletions and not enough effort defensively.

On Darren McFadden…

He has played well but you have to remember he hasn't been healthy. He was healthy Weeks 1 and 2 and then got hurt in Week 2 at the end of the game. He really hasn't been healthy. Last week he was better. I think we can expect him to do more this week in terms of practice and preparation and all of that so we're all excited about that. He's a tremendous, tremendous talent. Getting him healthy is the most important thing.

On playing against Brett Favre this week after playing New Orleans QB Drew Brees…

[Laughs] I know, I know. He's tremendous and he's done it for a long, long time. He's done it to everybody. For us, we have to do the best we can and try to keep the ball in front of us and see if we can find a way to disrupt him.

On the most misunderstood thing about Al Davis…

I think people have to understand that he's passionate about football and about his football team. Regardless of the perception or whatever negative things have been said or written or whatever that is, I have had the fortune to really get to know him in the last week and a half. I think if people just understood his passion for the Oakland Raiders, his passion for winning, people would really sit back and say, "Wow this guy really isn't what he's perceived to be."

On if he allows himself a moment to enjoy being head coach…

I haven't been able to yet. I've had some other line coaches call and things like that, but really I haven't. I just believe so much in this football team. People say, "OK, well, then prove it if you believe so much, then let's see them play and win games." That's obviously the goal and what we're trying to do. I really haven't had time to think about all that. I'm honored by the opportunity and we'll just take it and see what we can do with it.

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