“Now, it’s our turn,” Smith told Haberman & Middlekauff Friday morning on 95.7 The Game. “It’s time for us [to] add some pieces and put some things together.”
The former University of Utah Ute has been a Raider for just over a week, and since he officially inked his deal to become a member of the Silver and Black, he’s been impressed with the outpouring of support from Raider Nation.
“It’s been great,” Smith said when asked about the fan response to his signing. “Raider Nation has welcomed me with open arms. I couldn’t be happier. [The fans] were in my head before I even signed, telling me to hurry up and sign already. They had little pictures and memes of guys waiting for hours. It was crazy to me. It was funny.”
Lol I'm not really into social media but Raider Nation was good! I appreciate the support, holla at the kid ... https://t.co/UHVOXItIW9— Sean Smith (@SeanSMITH24) March 10, 2016
Heading into the offseason, it was no secret that the Raiders had to address their talent in the secondary – the team allowed an unimpressive 258.8 passing yards per game in 2015 – and Smith certainly has the pedigree to be that talented, shutdown corner the team has been searching for.
Throughout his career, Smith has widely been considered a press coverage cornerback, but the rangy defender doesn’t believe he’s a one-trick pony, and knows that he can be successful playing a variety of ways.
“Yes I do like playing press, but you have more fun playing off,” Smith explained. “I know when you prepare the way I do, and you watch film, there’s no point in pressing. It’s time to play off and try to make a play on the ball now, because if you already know where the guy is going to be, you might as well play off and keep your eyes on the quarterback and try to beat your man to the spot.”
When Smith hit the free agent market, he had multiple teams vying for his services, but in the end, the coaching staff and the young core that General Manager Reggie McKenzie had built tipped the scales in the favor of the Silver and Black.
“The Oakland Raiders have such an amazing coaching staff with [Defensive Backs Coach] Marcus Robertson and [Assistant Defensive Backs Coach] Rod Woodson in the secondary,” Smith said. “I thought that would be big for myself and the rest of the secondary moving forward.”
The offensive firepower the team possesses didn’t hurt either.
“First of all, they’re young and they’re explosive, and I think that’s something that will help take this team a long way, when we’re talking about the playoffs and championships and things of that nature,” Smith said. “You definitely need a quarterback to have stability in that position first and foremost. I believe Carr is that guy.”
He continued, “Most importantly, if the guys can buy in to the system and the scheme, and just believe in one another and be accountable, we’re going to be alright, because we definitely have some talent over here too.”