Assistant Head Coach - Defense John Pagano
During the offseason, the Oakland Raiders added Assistant Head Coach – Defense John Pagano to the coaching staff, and hired him after serving the majority of his career for the division rival Los Angeles Chargers. The Silver and Black have been working on enhancing the line of communication on defense, and with Pagano alongside Defensive Coordinator Ken Norton, Jr., the group is looking to improve in 2017. Following practice Wednesday afternoon, Pagano met with the media to talk shop.
Here are the quick hits from his media session:
Pagano shared what goes into the process of preparing for a game, as opposed to practice.
"You always try to keep it real simple so that they can play fast. There's always that evaluation process that we go through as coaches. So, you're trying to really limit those calls so they can get the call, play fast and communicate. Can our communication be better? Yes. It's got to still improve and we're working on those things every day and as long as we get all 11 out there on the same page, that's the most important thing."
He praised veteran safety Reggie Nelson for serving as an integral leader and communicator on the team.
"Well, you know it always starts with our veteran leadership. He's somebody that's played a lot of football, understands the game, always eager to learn. He's always asking questions, he's somebody that's just a student of the game and a true professional. Being around a guy like that who's always got questions, always wants to understand why, how are we doing these things, his leadership, his veteran leadership and his understanding of the defense helps the younger players around him. It helps everybody in that back end."
After going up against quarterback Derek Carr the last three years, Pagano discussed No.4's competitive fire.
"You see the competitiveness, you see a guy that loves to win each and every play he's in there and each and every down. It's weird seeing those plays that you've had to defense for the last couple years, but then you see it out here and you kind of go back to some of the things we did and you try to just be able to, you know, if they ask a question if it's something you saw or something you see that we did against…But you see a great competitor and how explosive that offense is."
He broke down what he's seen from rookie defensive tackle Eddie Vanderdoes.
"Explosion. Power. Guy that can get vertical against the run that creates a lot of havoc inside. Coach [Jethro] Franklin has done a heck of a job with him of really getting him up to speed. There's a guy that because of the rule wasn't able to be there for OTAs. I think he was only there for rookie minicamp. As fast as he's learned it, what a great job that Jethro has done with him to be able to get him to do those things right now. He's still a rookie, he's got a lot to learn. They all make those rookie mistakes."
Pagano provided some encouraging words for cornerback Sean Smith.
"I think he's growing every day. There's always highs and lows in this game. You don't want to make it, as we term, inconsistent. We're always looking for the consistency. It's how you build. It's how you learn. It's how you come off those things. There's always room for improvement in the backend, in the front, all across our defense. There's guys we're asking them to go out there and make plays. Has he been improving at practice? Yeah. Then our job is to take that practice stuff and take it to the game field and have that consistency and that carry over to those types of games."