Oakland coach Tom Cable talked at the NFL owners meetings on Tuesday.
Cable talked extensively about his competition at quarterback and running back. Here is some of what he had to say:
On quarterback JaMarcus Russell:
“He’s doing fine. The fact that he’s there working now with his teammates I think is very, very important. Gives him a chance now when we get practices going to compete for the job with the other quarterbacks so it should be very clear. He’s there, he’s working and that’s a huge step for him. You’ve got to give him his chance.”
On quarterback Bruce Gradkowski:
“I think your quarterback has to have some of that energy. He did a nice job of that when he was in there but, like JaMarcus and everyone else, he’s got to do better and there’s things specifically he has to improve on to be the quarterback of the Oakland Raiders. I think this will be a great competition.”
On if the quarterback battle is open:
“It’ll be a full wide-open competition.”
“Sure there is. Both of them have a chance to be the guy. Darren needs to stay healthy for longer periods of time.
Michael, I think, if he can get comfortable if he’s going to be an every down guy. We’ll move forward with those two guys. I think it will help both of them that they will get more work.
But definitely different one from the other so I think that helps us with what we’re trying to do. Looking at everything, let’s see if we can keep him healthy and see what he can do. I think it took all of that first year. What we got out of him was good and I think this last year we see a little bit of what he is capable of.
The question is can he be an every down back, and I think he can be.
On the importance of good quarterback play:
“Oh, in this league, I think that’s very true. You’ve got to be able to play significant defense but your quarterback, what you can do in terms of scoring and moving the ball and all that is basically what your quarterback can do, and what he’s capable of doing.
On Oakland owner Al Davis allowing him to switch quarterbacks last season:
“We were 100 yards better a game, we were 7-8 yards better in rushing, we were a touchdown better in scoring. That’s just throwing a guy in the middle of the season. I think for me that shows you if you can get that worked out, what you can potentially be.:
On talking with Russell about the mental aspect of the game:
“I have for a year. It’s like anything in life. You can bring that on yourself and if you want to not let that be who you are then do something about it so you change. The fact that he’s there working to me is very important right now.
On changing the attitude of the team:
“The next step is to be a playoff team. We have changed the attitude. I think we’ve cleaned up the locker room.
I think we’re all pulling for each other in the same direction now and we’ve become very competitive. OK? That’s
all we’ve done. We’re losing games that we shouldn’t, we’ve got to win a little more on the road, we’ve got to win
more period. Those things, if that’s what you accomplish next, then you become a playoff team. That’s the goal, period.
It has to be that way now. Now let’s work on how we do that, playing with confidence all the time, winning the turnover/takeaway battle, improving our passing game, stopping the big play on defense, there’s some things you can put your hands on there. The biggest thing now is it’s time to go."