A day after getting fired by new Raiders general manager Reggie McKenzie, Hue Jackson surfaced on the NFL Network on Wednesday.In an on-set interview with Fran Charles in Los Angeles, Jackson was asked about his infamous final post-game media conference in which he said he was "pissed" at his team and threw players and, it seemed at the time, his defensive coaching staff, under the bus.Asked if he regretted saying some of the things he said following the season-ending 38-26 loss to San Diego, Jackson did not, well, blink."I wish I could take it back and say it differently so people could really understand what I was trying to say," Jackson said. "I wasn't trying to say that I wanted to take total control of everything."I think when you work for the Raiders, I think you understand that Al Davis is first and foremost -- you work for him. So I didn't get an opportunity to put everybody that I wanted on my staff, or run the team or the situation with football operations the way I see fit. I took the job, and I knew the parameters of the job, and I accepted that, and I think at the end, what was coming out of me was the emotion of a long season, being 8-8, losing to the Chargers with so much riding on the line. The opportunity to win the AFC West, to host a playoff game there at home, opportunity to have the first nine-win season since 2002."Jackson did raise eyebrows that day with how quickly he appeared for the presser."I normally go in and take a shower and put on my clothes before I go and see the media and I think I kind of carried some things with me and that's a lesson learned for me," Jackson said. "You think you need to settle down first and really think through what you're saying. But what I said is what I felt."Not that I was trying to say I wanted to run everything; I just wanted to be able to feel like I knew there were some changes that needed to be made and I wanted to be able to make them, and I was trying to voice that. Not take total control or anything like that."Jackson also broached several other topics:On if he was caught off guard by being relieved of his duties by new Raiders general manager Reggie McKenzie:"I was a little surprised, but I do understand the nature of pro football. Sometimes things that look like they should don't always end up like they should. So I understand. The Raiders did me a favor by giving me an opportunity, Al Davis did and I thank him for it. What a tremendous organization. My time there was awesome, the people at 1220 (Harbor Bay Parkway) who I worked with, they were tremendous; the staff was tremendous. I understand the nature of this business, but obviously I wish it would have went a different direction than it did."On how he found out that he would no longer be the head coach of the Raiders:"(Reggie McKenzie and I) didn't really get into too many of the details. Reggie was very forthcoming and just said, 'I'm going to make a change, I need to bring in my own guy,' which I understand. I knew that anytime a new GM comes in, they like to line themselves with their head coach, somebody that they want to bring in. At the end of the day, I can't fault him or anyone within the organization for feeling like they feel. I wish the situation was different but it's not."On any conversations he had with Mark Davis over the past couple of days:"I didn't talk to Mark (before the decision was made). I have not talked to Mark. Mark is a good man and I have spent a lot of time ever since the night that Coach (Al Davis) died; the person that told me was Mark -- he came to my room and informed me of what had happened to Coach. I haven't had an opportunity to speak to him. I did text him and tell him thank you for the opportunity and to thank him and his family, and I wish him well. But at the end of the day, like I said he's the owner and he's going to make the decision of which direction the franchise runs and I have to accept that."On the Raiders down the stretch of the regular season:"We didn't finish. It's a term that I've always used. We didn't play as well as we could have down the stretch, and again that's what I was feeling after that San Diego game. We had so many opportunities, whether it was going to Miami, going to Green Bay, finishing at home against Detroit, went to Kansas City and then here comes San Diego. We weren't able to get it done and I don't have an excuse for that. At the end of the day, that's my charge -- to make sure that we do (get it done), and we didn't. I know we played decently on offense, we didn't play as well as we could or should on defense and I think the players know that. I think they own up to that and they respect that. But at the end of the day we just didn't finish. When you don't finish, this is what happens -- you end up 8-8 and you end up out of the playoffs."On if he wants to coach in 2012:"There is no doubt I do. I love coaching, I love leading men and coaching guys. Whatever is going to happen is going to happen, but I'm going to take a couple of days to just relax and then let the chips fall where they may. There is a place out there for me someplace and I think I'll find it."
ALAMEDA – Raiders defensive coordinator Ken Norton Jr. has a good feel for Tom Brady. He faced New England’s legendary quarterback three times as Seattle’s linebackers coach, with some positive results. The Seahawks won two regular-season games and lost the Super Bowl at the last second.
He knows what worked then, and believes that should help prepare the Raiders defense for what’s coming Sunday in Mexico City.
“I played Brady a couple years ago in the Super Bowl with Seattle. We played very well against him,” Norton said Thursday afternoon. “I’ve had some success against him so I have a good feel for what can be done and what cannot be done. It’s just a matter of having the right emphasis and the ability to make the plays.
“Having a guy like (Brady) on the team who’s capable at any point of throwing a deep ball, capable at any point of getting it to the right players at the right time. He understands who is around him. He understands how to get the ball to the guys. He’s got a long resume of doing it well.”
Having success against Brady, however, is a relative term. He still produced against a loaded Seattle defense far better than this year’s Raiders unit. He will produce again Sunday, even if most goes right. Limitation, however, if key.
Norton believes certain things are essential when facing a Patriots team. Sure tackling. Impacting the quarterback.
The first is vital, something the Raiders have done well save a Week 9 win over Miami. The Raiders have to limit explosives and keep the ball in front of them, especially with the way Brady likes to play.
“The Patriots do a really good job of underneath coverage,” Norton said. “They have guys that catch and run really well. The backs, the tight ends, the matchups underneath, they catch and make people miss. They try to match up with your linebackers and safeties. They feel like their guys are pretty good. Tackling is something we’ve been really outstanding with all year but this last game against Miami we didn’t do so well and it kind of stands out, especially when it’s something we’ve taken a lot of pride in.
“I really feel like our emphasis and what we do well matches up well with that they try to do.”
There are some problem spots. One is limiting deep shots, something Brady has unleashed with startling efficiency. He’s 19-for47 for 410 yards and four touchdowns on passes of 20-plus yards, with speedsters Brandin Cooks and Phillip Dorsett able to haul them in. The Raiders have proven vulnerable to track-star receivers.
Impacting Brady is mandatory, but also difficult given his excellent pocket presence. He’s especially good at feeling pressure off the edge, where reigning defensive player of the year Khalil Mack typically lines up opposite Bruce Irvin.
Brady has proven vulnerable to interior pressure, which is why Mario Edwards Jr. will be an X-factor on passing downs. He has four sacks this season and needs to break free in the backfield to force difficult decisions or, at the very lest, disrupt New England’s timing.
Brady gets rid of the ball fast at times. Raiders rushers can’t get frustrated by that, especially Mack.
“If the quarterback is going to throw the ball in less than two seconds, it’s going to be tough to get there,” head coach Jack Del Rio said. “So when the quarterback is throwing the ball quick like that, we’ve got to tackle and have their punt team come out. They’ll get tired of punting or turning the ball over and they’ll sit and hold the ball a little bit and Khalil can get there. If they’re throwing the ball in two seconds or less, it’s going to be hard to get sacks.”
The Raiders only have 13 sacks this season, second worst in the NFL. Getting a few could swing a tight game. Norton’s Raiders believe they have a solid plan to mitigate somewhat the Patriots ferocious attack, that features versatile tight ends allowing them to do different things from one personnel package.
Don’t expect a shutout, or anything close. The Raiders understand that, but believe they can mitigate some damage.
“If you go back to the New England Patriots five, six, eight years ago they’re doing similar things,” Norton said. “They do what they do really well. They’re a fine-tuned machine. Everybody knows exactly what their role is. Guys know exactly what’s expected of them. Obviously the quarterback is the heart and soul and the one that makes that train run. Really, really good players that really understand what their role is and play well against leverage, run after catch, tough and they make plays.”
The Raiders gave quarterback Derek Carr a massive contract extension last June. Right guard Gabe Jackson got paid later that month.
Khalil Mack’s big deal is coming, likely this offseason. Raiders general manager Reggie McKenzie anticipates a deal getting done, and hopes Mack’s agent feels the same way.
Mack’s rep and Raiders contract folks will work out details of a massive contract extension. The reigning Defensive Player of the Year doesn’t have interest in all that. He has one preference above all.
Mack doesn’t want to go anywhere. He wants to stay with the Raiders long term.
“Of course. That’s not even a question,” Mack said in an exclusive interview with NBC Sports Bay Area’s Fallon Smith, which airs in this week's episode of "Raiders Central." “That’s a no-brainer for me, especially when you think about coming into this organization and try to build something special, that’s something you want to be a part of for a lifetime”
Mack has plenty of money, top-5 overall draft picks often do. The No. 5 selection in 2014 considered that first deal life-changing money, enough to help his family.
“That has been a treat for me so far,” Mack said.
He doesn’t daydream about signing a nine-figure contract. He doesn’t long to be the NFL’s highest-paid defensive player (although that might be in the cards, anyway).
“I’m not really even thinking about that,” Mack said. “I’m thinking about the Patriots, that’s just my focus that’s just my mindset – anybody who talked to me about that matter, whether it be my best friend, my mom, my dad, I tell them the same thing. I’m thinking about the Patriots and sacking Tom Brady.”
That, unlike signing a record contract, was a career a goal. Mack said in a post-draft press conference he wanted to sack legends. Peyton Manning and Brady topped the list.
Manning retired before Mack could check his box. Mack will have a second chance at Brady Sunday when the Raiders play New England in Mexico City. He had eight tackles and two quarterback hits against Brady’s Patriots in 2014, but didn’t bring the quarterback down.
Mack considered his third regular season game a welcome-to-the-NFL moment.
The University of Buffalo alum has accomplished a ton since then, with 34.5 sacks and last year’s top defensive honor to his credit. He’ll need a Herculean performance against the Patriots to help the Raiders win a pivotal game. A sack would certainly help, but Mack isn’t calling his shot.
“Yeah, I’m not one to talk,” Mack said. “I’ll express that when I get on the field, but I can’t wait, I can’t wait to play against him.”