The Raiders added Marcus Robertson as one of two defensive backs coaches on the coaching staff. Robertson joins the Silver and Black after five seasons working with the secondary for the Tennessee Titans and two seasons with the defensive backs in Detroit.
Robertson is a 12-year NFL veteran safety, who played for Houston/Tennessee and Seattle, and totaled 851 tackles, 24 interceptions and 1.5 sacks, and was an All-Pro in 1993 and 1997.
|Coach Marcus Robertson. AP Photo|
He grew up a Raiders fan in Pasadena, Calif. Finally being a part of the Silver and Black is a dream come true for Robertson. “It’s awesome just for the simple fact that I grew up a Raiders fan,” said Robertson. “I’m originally from Pasadena, California, so I’ve always wanted to be a Raider and I’ve always been a Raider fan. For me to be finally a part of the Oakland Raiders organization it’s kind of like a dream come true. I had an opportunity to come here as a player in ’01, I think it was when [Coach Jon] Gruden was here, and I kind of missed my opportunity, so it’s finally nice to be back here in the Silver and Black.”
Robertson brings the skills of a player and the knowledge of a coach to the Raiders defensive backs room. He believes his playing days aid him in his ability to be successful as a coach. “I think it’s invaluable because the number one thing I want to do is I don’t want to put players in position that I myself was uncomfortable in,” said Robertson. “I have a good feel for the game, the speed of the game, and I know what is uncomfortable. I know the techniques. I know where your eyes should be. I know exactly what it feels like to fill the C-gap and then make a tackle on a big back or how you should tackle. There are times when I can use my playing experience and it proves to be invaluable for me as a coach.”
The transition to coaching took some adjusting, but Robertson is ready to work. “From a player’s perspective, your primary concern is taking care of your body physically and putting yourself in position to make plays and give yourself an opportunity to win,” he explained. “Whereas on the coaching side, it’s a little bit different. It’s a little bit more strategic and you’re trying to put guys in places to make plays to put us in position to win. That’s the primary difference. As a player you broke down offenses as well, but as a coach, you’ve got to not only break it down, but you have to be able to get a very clear understanding of how the offense is trying to attack the defense and put yourself in the best position to win as many plays as possible.”
Putting players in the best position to be successful is something Robertson prides himself on doing. “I’m tough but fair. My whole thing and what I’m trying to do is maximize the player’s God-given ability while he’s under my watch. I don’t want him to cheat himself. If I see something, I’m going to try to get it out of him. I’m not going to let him shortcut that. I think that will only make him a better player and of course it’ll make us a better defense down the line.”
Robertson will have the help of Head Coach Dennis Allen, who started his NFL coaching career as a defensive backs coach. “I think it helps because the number one thing is we’re all on the same page,” said Robertson. “In the long run, I think it’ll give us an opportunity to put together the right formula to put guys in position to make plays. The bottom line on the defensive side of the ball is to get the ball back for our offense, keep teams out of the end zone and create turnovers and that’s what we’re going to do. Hopefully this will be a start of a dominant Raider defense.”
The Iowa State alum is looking forward to working with Coach Allen, Defensive Coordinator Jason Tarver and defensive backs coach Joe Woods. Robertson is confident knowing he has learned from some of the best defensive minds in the game.
“I think I got my biggest coaching experience in 1993 when I was a player and Buddy Ryan came over from Philadelphia and became our defensive coordinator,” said Robertson. “And then I’ve had so many great coaches outside of that. I had Jeff Fisher for seven years of my career and then I coached under Jeff Fisher. Then I had guys like Gregg Williams and then I had Jim Schwartz and then I also had Gunther Cunningham. I feel like I got a pretty good tree of some football traditions that are pretty sound and some pretty good defensive coordinators and head coaches along the way. I feel like I have a vast knowledge of the game, but I know at the same time I can learn tons more.”
Robertson brings the knowledge he’s gained over the course of his career to the Raiders. He wants to start preparing for the season now. “This offseason I hope to gain some continuity in our secondary which means that we’ll be able to play smart, fast, and physical and minimize mistakes, eliminate the deep ball and keep guys out of the end zone,” he said. “So the number one thing I want to try to do is get our guys to be able to do that on a consistent basis as well as to always be ready, always stay ready.”
He hopes to give Raider Nation, of which he has always been a member, something to cheer about on Sundays. “I love it. I can’t wait to experience it and I’m excited to be a part of it,” said Robertson. “For me, this really is a dream come true. Growing up in Pasadena, like I said, I used to drive down the 110 and I used to see Lester Hayes hanging over the freeway outside the Coliseum and you’ve got Lester Hayes, Marcus Allen, Mike Haynes, that’s all I know is Silver and Black. I’m excited to be a part of it.”
Robertson has experienced the dominant Raiders defenses of the past and that’s what he expects from his secondary in the future. “I want [Raider Nation] to know that I’m going to try to do everything I possibly can to bring the Commitment to Excellence back to the Oakland Raiders.”