Conference Call with Raiders Head Coach Tom Cable:
What it's like having to prepare for Chris Johnson’s speed:
Obviously, he’s a huge challenge. You’ve got to prepare like you would every week, just know he’s a special player and you have to find ways to try and get him on the ground.
Being that it is the first time they’ve played Chris Johnson, does it make it harder to prepare for?
Well, coaching wise there are a lot of us here that are familiar with Chris because we had him in the Senior Bowl. So, we do know how fast he is, but we’re not the ones out there trying to tackle him. You can only explain that to your team, and try to play great team defense.
What did he see from Chris Johnson during Senior Bowl week?
Well you knew he was fast, there was no questioning that. He had a toughness about him and certainly played the game at a different speed—you knew that for sure.
What does QB Jason Campbell bring to the Raiders?
I think he has brought a professionalism to us. Kind of a spirit of work and a body of work that he has proven himself to be a starter in this league and he’s been through a lot of ups and downs himself, so I think he relates well with this football team. He’s fit in very well.
What his expectations are for Michael Bush:
I think we’ve got two good running backs. I expect good things from both guys, they both can run and catch and block. I think they give us something—both of them.
What Darren McFadden needs to do to take the next step:
I think when he’s been healthy he’s been very, very productive and very explosive. I think that’s really the key, the ability to keep him in the lineup and keep him on the field. If that happens for him, and us, this year I think if you look at the time he has played when he’s been healthy, he’s been very productive so it bodes well for us if he’s out there all the time.
On what WR Darrius Heyward-Bey needs to do to take the next step:
I think he’s doing it. He’s had a tremendous offseason. The season was over, he took care of his bod, and got himself rehabbed and ready to go and he went right to work. He’s really probably the most improved player on our football team.
How important is it for Jason Campbell to get a fresh start:
I think it’s important. It’s kind of what I hit on earlier; he’s had his own ups and downs, so I think he’s been a good fit for us and vice versa. He’s come into this thing with an open mind and really opened himself up to this team and you find out real quick what Jason Campbell is all about. He’s going to be about team, about hard work and wanting to achieve and I think that’s really important at the quarterback spot.
On what he expects to see out of John Henderson and what kind of leadership has he brought to the Raiders:
He’s definitely added leadership to this football team. He’s been through it, he’s played for quite some time now, and our expectations are for him to come in and be a part of our rotation on the defensive line and produce for us.
If having to travel across the country changes his approach to the game:
No, we’ve done this so much over the last couple years that it’s really not out of the norm for us. In fact, we’re kind of used to it. You look at our preseason, we went out to Dallas and out to Chicago in weeks one and two, so we’ve kind of already been there and done that.
What does having an elite cornerback, like Nnamdi Asomugha, do for his defense?
I think it helps. We certainly try to match him up when necessary and it does add to your football team. Where I think it really benefits us is I think it helps the other three guys in the secondary.
What does having an elite cornerback like Nnamdi Asomugha do for the rest of the Oakland secondary:
I think that you tend to be able to help other guys more. You tend to be able to play some different coverages and try to keep that quarterback on the other side guessing.
How he feels about rookie linebacker Rolando McClain:
I think he can be real good. I mentioned this when we got him, and then all through camp, the thing that jumps out at us is he’s well schooled. He’s been taught well; he’s got a lot of background in different offenses and understands route structures and what’s coming at him. He understands the run game; the thing that probably has us most excited is it’s been a constant and very steady improvement by him since he got here.
If he anticipates sticking with a 4-3 defensive alignment or if they will use more of a 3-4 scheme:
Now why would I tell you that?
On if that meant they will run a 3-4 on Sunday:
That means we’re going to play defense on Sunday.
How important getting off to a fast start to the season is:
I think it’s important for everyone. The month of September really kind of gets you going. It’s not just the first game, it’s the month of September. If you can get your season kicked off the right way and come out of September in a positive way, then you really set yourself up for October, and then you try to make a playoff run in November and December.
If there is increased optimism heading into the 2010 season then there has been in recent years:
I think we clearly understand who we are, and how we have to do things in order to succeed. I think that’s our focus more than anything. We have to have the right purpose, I think our mindset, I think our preparation, all of those things has been on the right path. I think the most important thing that has come out of it though is learning about who we are, and what it takes for us to succeed. We know what that is, and we have to play to that standard.
How Bruce Gradkowski took the news that the team had acquired Jason Campbell in the offseason:
Well Bruce is a competitor, he wants to play obviously, but Bruce is also a great teammate and he understands that that’s the reason Jason was brought in here. He understands his role, he’s accepted his role and the thing about Bruce Gradkowski is it’s just tell me when you need me and I’ll be there.
On how Daniel Loper has done since he’s been out there?
He’s made our team. He started off a little bit slow in camp, but certainly got himself going and had really a nice three weeks, the last three weeks of the preseason.