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Raiders @ Saints: Scouting Report

Time once again to get a better look at the Saints upcoming opponent. This week its the Raiders. On the flip side you will find quotes, videos and links all discussing this Sundays battle in the Dome. See you on the flip side.

Transcript of press conference with Raiders interim coach Tom Cable from the New Orleans Saints' official website.

Q: How are you doing in your first game week preparation and how different has it been?

A: A little bit, but at the same time, the plan’s in place to kind of keep this team moving hopefully in the right direction. We’re just kind of taking it day by day and not really worrying about too much, just sticking to the plan.

Q: Are you a little bit surprised at everything that’s happened and to find yourself the head coach in week five?

A: I think everybody is surprised when something like this happens and as I mentioned, when it did happen, it’s the business, it’s unfortunate and you move on.

Q: With everything that has happened, are players wondering about things?

A: We talked initially about it a little bit and you’d have to ask them. They’ve been great. They’ve been great around practice. They’ve been great around the complex. We’re getting the work done that we need to get done and we’re just staying on course.

Q: What will be some of the differences now that you’re the head coach?

A: The bottom line is you hope to keep getting better. You hope to improve on 1-3 right now and that’s not good enough. You want to find the areas that have to be improved in order to give you the best chance to succeed. That’s really been the focus. It’s kind of dialing in on where we’re at, self-evaluation of this football team and addressing those issues.

Q: Is there anything specific that you can try changing at this point?

A: No, I really don’t think it’s about change. I think it’s improving where we’re at and evaluating if that’s the best thing to be doing in those circumstances and this situation and if it’s not, then you might tweak it. For us, it’s about getting better and executing better, staying the course.

Q: What pushed you to accept this head coaching job?

A: I think when Mr. Davis and I sat down and he approached me about it with his belief I was the right guy to do this under the circumstances at this time. I think he really convinced me who I am and what I try to do as a football coach is what this team needs right now. His really convincing me is what made me decide to do it.

Q: What are your feelings about the potential of JaMarcus Russell at this point?

A: I think for our football team, he’s quickly becoming a leader. For a young guy, his presence and how he carries himself, how he manages himself both on and off the field, how he works at practice, his work ethic has been really, really positive and I think his future is tremendous.

Q: What does he do that is better than everyone else that you think can make him an elite player?

A: First of all, I don’t know that there’s too many arms like JaMarcus has in this league. You have a big, tall strong guy that can really throw it. What he has to learn to do and continue to get better at is accuracy and making quicker decisions, things like that, which comes for a young quarterback, the more you play. You can already see it in how he develops. We’re obviously thinking we have a breakthrough coming sometime soon here and when that happens, I think that everything that kid was thought to be he’ll be.

Q: In terms of his role on the team going forward, is it going to be something where he’s the guy out there trying to make a play every time or are you going to focus a whole lot in terms of the running game? What do you think of his role?

A: I think in this league to win games, you have to play well at quarterback, but to say you’re going to rely on him to be the hero, I don’t believe in that, not in the game of football. I think it takes every guy that’s out there. Every guy’s got a job to do and a role to play, so it’s all of us. At the same time, you expect him as he grows and develops that there will be some times where he makes some of those wild throws and he does some of those things in the fourth quarter which will probably define him as a quarterback in this league.

Q: Is Reggie Bush looked at in the same light as Devin Hester these days in terms of returning punts?

A: I think so. I think if you don’t, you’re kidding yourself. He’s a special, special player. He changed the game the other night a couple times and really he’s fun to watch, but not really fun to get ready for. You have to do what you have to do.

Q: There’s been a lot of discussion with hits to the quarterback by defensive players and some of the fines. Do you think the league has taken away from some of the defense?

A: Obviously I haven’t really thought about something like that, so I won’t touch that.

Q: Is this the biggest game of your coaching career coming up?

A: They’re all big. It was big to me in high school. It was big in college. This is big, so it’s the biggest game this Sunday.

Q: Have you talked to Lane Kiffin since all this has gone down?

A: We spoke the day that it happened. He’s a good friend. It’s part of the business. I was kind of a weird day. A friend loses his job. Having been through that, you feel for him and his family. Lane’s good people and he’ll be fine.


Transcript of press conference with Raiders interim coach Tom Cable from the Oakland Raiders official website.

Q: This your first game and it is a hostile environment, but winnable considering what the Vikings did this past Monday. 

A: It's exciting. It is a hostile environment. With Atlanta I’ve been there before. It's an exciting place, a crazy place. Very good football fans. It’ll be a challenge that way, but that’s not going to decide the game. We’re going to decide how we play and how we do things.

Q: You talked about getting the offense more balanced, how important is it for the passing game to have Justin (Fargas) back there because what he does as that extra pass blocker?

A: I think its really important. Number one, because he is the consistent runner in our system and he’s proven that with the year he had last year and he was off to a good start before the injury. I think that gets their attention right away which only adds to the passing game. In terms of how you improve the passing game it's simple. You protect it and you be on time throwing the ball and you get completions. That’s the bottom line, good accuracy and good route running. Being on time and good protection all go into it.

Q: What makes him so good? Because, obviously he is the best blocking back you have.

A: I think what makes Justin so good is that he is a tough football player.  He understands football, he’s passionate about it, whether it be in the classroom or out here on the practice field. That’s a quality I think a lot of guys have but he takes it as far as you can.

Q: How much have you, since you became head coach, delved into the defensive side of things or are you leaving it completely in the hands of coach Rob Ryan?

A: We sit down every week and talk about what the opponents do well. How they run the ball and what they do throwing the football. Obviously I can help in terms of run scheme. What will hurt this combination or that read in the running game. Protections that can help break it down in terms of getting pressure on the quarterback with blitzes or whatever it may be. I’m very involved to the point  that they teach me what their plan is and what they expect and I can give them some feedback.

Q: The timing issue you were talking about, as far as the passing game goes, has that been a real focus this week and last week, particularly with the wide receivers?

A: I think it has. To me, the key to throwing the football is how fast you can do it. How fast you can run a route, how fast you can take a drop, how fast you can read a progression and get the ball out of your hands. At the same time, how fast and crisp you pick up pressure. To me, to throw the football it's got to be speed of play all the way.

Q: How good are the Saints at that?

A: Brees is probably as good as there is in football right now and statistically he’s the best guy. You have to look at them and say 'hey, that’s what you really want to become.' They are on time and do things very quickly. Receivers are tremendous route runners and they get good protection. I think they’re everything I just described.


From the Locker Room Wednesday

"I know this, Bush is a good football player and you have to respect that. At the same time, there are a bunch of good football players on this team. We’ll go play on Sunday,

-Tom Cable

"There is a great motivation for us to stop a guy that has three touchdowns on nine punt return attempts," said Fassel. "Our first thing is to put pressure on him with our kicking and our coverage. If we pinpoint our strengths and weaknesses and focus on what we can take advantage of, we will be in great shape."

-John Fassel, Raiders assistant coach

"I think our personnel match up as good with anyone in the NFL. We’ve got guys with speed, toughness, and passion for playing special teams. We know the guys we have are fast and they care about their positions."

-John Fassel

"Effort," said Coach Fassel. "That’s the motto of our special teams. We go full speed and full effort, we kind of branch out from there to blocking, tackling, coverage and schemes. No doubt, the biggest point is effort."

-John Fassel

"Our opponents this week scored two touchdowns in their last game and almost recovered a surprise onsides kick. Those are things you have to prevent from happening if you want to win the game," said Brown. The Boston College graduate knows that before analyzing an opponent, he must look at his own unit and how they can improve themselves. "We can get better coverage by flying down the field and also by finishing plays. Every guy on the field for us has to feel that each tackle is theirs to make,"

-LB Ricky Brown


No Gauntlet Here

"Let's put it this way," special teams coach Brian Schneider said. "We're going to try to not give him the ball and we're preparing that, if he gets the ball, we have to be ready to tackle him, so hopefully he has no punt returns."

--Brian Schneider


Raiders: Hall knows he must press to impress

"I'm probably not playing the way I think I should be right now, but it's a little bit of a learning curve," said Hall, who was traded to Oakland from Atlanta in March. "I'm not doing the same things I'm used to doing."

-DeAngelo Hall   

"You'll get the hang of it," said Hall, who has interceptions in consecutive games. "I'm just trying to learn exactly what this defense wants me to do."

-DeAngelo Hall   


Raiders Say They Won't Challenge Saints' Bush

"Let's put it this way," Schneider said. "We're going to try to not give him the ball and we're preparing that, if he gets the ball, we have to be ready to tackle him.

"Hopefully, he has no punt returns."

-Brian Schneider, on Reggie Bush

"Some of Reggie's best returns are when they're 4 yards and he makes eight guys miss," said Schneider, who, for all his talking, still isn't talking. "You can't tackle him one-on-one."    

-Brian Schneider

"If you as a coach don't have confidence in your players and 'We're going to kick it away,' it's going to affect your players' mentality," said Isaiah Ekejiuba, a core member of the special teams. "It's a big statement to make if you're going to kick to somebody like that."

-Isaiah Ekejiuba

"The whole world has seen what he can do," Ekejiuba said. "You don't want to be the next team that's on Reggie Bush's highlight."

- Isaiah Ekejiuba


Saints Host Raiders on Sunday - Preview from the New Orleans Saints official website

Key Matchups - New Orleans Saints official website

Scouting report: New Orleans Saints vs. Oakland Raiders    


CBS Sportsline Preview