The Oakland Raiders decided to part ways with former Defensive Coordinator Ken Norton, Jr., and have given play calling duties to Assistant Head Coach – Defense John Pagano. The former San Diego Chargers Defensive Coordinator served as the team's defensive play caller for five years, and joined the Silver and Black this offseason. Thursday, Pagano met with the media to discuss the move, and share how the team is preparing for the Denver Broncos this Sunday.
Here are the quick hits from his press conference:
Pagano talked about how he plans to help the defense play faster.
"I think the one thing we're trying to truly establish, I think the main thing is you've got to play with confidence. You have to have that ability of going out there and knowing your assignment, and playing faster. Not to say there's been times that we've simplified things, but taking the thinking out of the game and making them react is the important thing."
He spoke about facing Broncos Offensive Coordinator Bill Musgrave.
"I think you're human to the fact we've gone against each other before, there's certain things, you've always got to understand what he's about, and what little things pop in my head from seeing him. You still have to go based off of what you're seeing right now, the film you're seeing, the plays you're going off of. You've got to be prepared for everything, he does a great job, and he always have his players ready to play."
Pagano touched on how the players have dealt with the departure of Norton.
"It's tough in this business. I told the guys the one thing about this business is, as I've always felt, and some coaches a long time ago told me, we're all on one day contracts. You live every day, and you coach every day, and you play hard. Certain things like that are tough, there's a human element to this. We are family, and it's sad any time a member of your family gets dismissed, or something, but at the end of the day we've got the Broncos coming in here on Sunday."
He discussed the defense's communication thus far.
"I think any time, I'd love to look at our numbers from the… explosive plays are down from last year around this time. I think that's still more important at not letting the ball get over your head. We're communicating, it's just how fast can we play out there now on the field. The things that we need to do, the attention to detail, the little things, but communication is always key."
Pagano broke down why the pass rush hasn't been able to capitalize on its opportunities.
"Opportunities, again. We've had ample opportunities, it comes down to finishing. We talk about it all week, any time you have the opportunity to get the quarterback, it's a guy fell here, it's a guy missed here, had an opportunity to get him down. It's the same thing with our turnovers, the ball is on the ground last week, we got three guys standing over it, we got to jump on it. It changes the game."