ALAMEDA - Don't blame the players or the defensive coaches for what's gone wrong on defense.
Hue Jackson said he prefers to let his coaches coach. But he's being proactive when it comes to the defense, which ranks 29th in total defense and is near or at the bottom of several other categories through four weeks:
"Obviously my side of the ball is on offense, but I look at it all. I'm not going to sit up here and say I'm void of what's going on on defense, hey, I'm the biggest culprit too, I'm the head coach of this football team, so I've spent more time over there, I'll tell you that. And I plan on spending more. If that's what I got to do, that's what I got to do. Whatever it takes to get this team where it needs to be is what I'm going to do, and it starts with me and filters down to the rest of the coaches, but I mean, if anyone is going to point a finger, point it at me because I'm the one that spearheads it all and I've got to get it fixed."
Questions about the defense, particularly against the run, seem to come up every day at practice.
Jackson has been careful not to put the blame on any one player or coach. He is right - as head coach everything starts with him.
Run defense has been emphasized a lot in the last two practices with a game against Houston and last season's top rusher in the NFL, Arian Foster, coming up.
Thursday Jackson was asked was it a matter of discipline on defense. He started to say no before correcting himself:
"I think it's a matter of everything. I think it's a matter of going to get the guy with the ball, you know, get off blocks, go and get the guy with the ball and take the guy down and take the guy down hard. I think over the last two days, we've done a good job with that, getting better at it, and I told you, we're going to get it slowed down, and I promise you that. I can't tell you it's this week, next week, or when it's going to be, but it's gonna be. That much I do know. The players understand the message, it's crystal clear. We know what kind of team we're facing this week. They're going to run the ball, and deservingly so. That's what the numbers say to do is run the ball. So we'll see if we can get this thing slowed down."
*Wide receiver Louis Murphy (groin) remains limited in practice. Murphy said it would be up to the doctors to decide when he can fully participate or play in a game.
"It's not my decision," Murphy said. "It's up to the trainers and what they see in me. I've been taking limited reps in practice. See how the body feels. It will be a game-time decision most likely."
Murphy said he's at "90, 95" percent.
"It feels good," Murphy said. "I feel really good. I just have to get my legs up under me. That's all. Been doing a lot of rehab, a lot of running and stuff and it feels really good. So it's just a waiting game."
Jackson has shown he will be cautious with injuries. Think back to Kevin Boss, who practiced in the days leading up to the Week 2 loss at Buffalo and was still held out to be on the safe side.
So I wouldn't be shocked if Murphy makes his debut when the Raiders are back home Oct. 16 against Cleveland.
*Still waiting on the official injury report from the NFL. The only changes to the Raiders from yesterday was cornerback Chimdi Chekwa (hamstring) did not practice after practicing on a limited basis Wednesday and safety Tyvon Branch (undisclosed injury) being added.
I'll update that later this afternoon after I get out of traffic.