Head Coach Jack Del Rio with Raiders Legend Raymond Chester. Photo by Tony Gonzales
Head Coach Jack Del Rio spoke with 95.7 The GAME as they broadcasted live from the Biletnikoff Golf Classic at Ruby Hill Golf Club in Pleasanton, Calif.
Coach Del Rio has been anxiously awaiting the return of the players the past several months. "We've been busy at work, changing the culture, changing the way we do things, the way we operate at every level of the organization," said Coach Del Rio.
And about two weeks ago, a majority of the roster arrived at the Raiders facility for Phase 1 of the offseason program, which focuses mostly on strength and conditioning. "They've had a couple of weeks of kind of being exposed to some of the things we're going to do with the strength and conditioning staff," Coach Del Rio explained. "They've been meeting with the coaches and we've sought to change some of the things we're doing with dieting and how we schedule and how we do things. All those things have begun, but tomorrow we get on the grass."
Tomorrow marks the coaches' first opportunity to work with the players on the field, as they begin the voluntary veteran mini-camp. "It's the first day to get out there on the field with the staff and the players and we expect 100 percent participation and we'll get to work. We'll begin," Coach Del Rio told John Lund and Greg Papa. "We've been two weeks now with just about everybody in attendance, working hard and getting themselves ready."
The goals through the first phases of the offseason program are to get everyone mentally prepared (learning the new playbook and building camaraderie) and physically (conditioning) for the grind of the season.
"We're looking for every position to be better going forward and we're going to demand more," said the Raiders Head Coach. "It will start with the conditioning aspect of it, the mental preparation of it. Regardless, you've got to be able to play fast and you've got to be able to put consecutive plays together to be any good at this game. We're going to work hard at that aspect of it and that should not be an issue."
There is a lot to glean from the Raiders veteran mini-camp as many players take the field together for the first time. It will also be Coach Del Rio's first chance to see his men in action.
And as the on-field work gets underway, the 2015 NFL Draft approaches quickly. Coach Del Rio has been heavily involved in the draft preparation. "Watched a lot of tape. Very involved in meetings," he told 95.7 The GAME. "We'll continue that process. It's been my experience, the more inclusive the better. I think [General Manager] Reggie [McKenzie] does a great job of bringing the guys together, all the scouts spend a lot of time putting the information together, coaches, getting their opinion and gathering all that information so we can make good decisions for the Raiders."
Coach Del Rio has been busy this offseason preparing for what's to come over the next few weeks. Make sure to stay tuned to Raiders.com for complete coverage of the veteran mini-camp and the upcoming draft.