Veteran LB Curtis Lofton joined the Raiders in free agency this offseason after four years in Atlanta and three years in New Orleans. Lofton was unable to participate fully in practice for the first OTAs sessions, but was back on the field "full-go" for Tuesday's practice.
Here are the highlights from Lofton's media session:
Defense Feeds Off Coach Norton
Defensive Coordinator Ken Norton, Jr. is known for being vocal and high energy and Lofton says the defense feeds off of what he brings on a daily basis.
"We take the personality of our defensive coordinator. He has a ton of energy. We're going to be stingy. We're going to dictate the offenses…You think sometimes that this is going to be the day that he doesn't have it but he brings it to us every single day and we love it. We feed off of it."
Coaches' Playing Experience a Helpful Tool
The Raiders coaching staff has over 100 years of NFL player experience between them. It provides them with a greater understanding of what the players need.
"The number one thing that we have to do is listen. You've got to open up and absorb the information. Be a sponge. Those guys have been in your position. They've done everything and seen everything. When they're telling you something, it's not just 'coach talk.' It's players that have played that are now coaches. That helps you out just that much more. Even when you're watching film."
Preparation is Everything
"You know your defense, so you're not thinking. It's just second nature. You're out there balling. We've been practicing and practicing. So then, it's just like we have to go out there and do what we've been doing in practice and execute."
Khalil Mack is the Real Deal**
Lofton has only been around LB Khalil Mack for a few months now, but the veteran is very impressed.
"Monster. He's young. He's got so much more. I'm really impressed with him. He comes every day to work. He studies and goes out there and executes it on the football field. Some guys, if they have a good year that first year as rookies, they are Mr. Joe Cool and that's not him. He comes to work every single day."
Building Confidence Through Practice
Lofton can feel the confidence building throughout the team as practices continue and he believes that will translate onto the field when the season arrives.
"The confidence comes when you know it and then you're not really thinking. You're just going out there and playing. Guys are starting to do that. It's starting to be fun. It's a lot of competition at each position that pushes you to get to the next level. It's OK to strain right now. That's what we've been doing."
Practice Makes Perfect…or at Least Makes You Better
"I think practice is where you get better. We're practicing against that big offensive line, those running backs and that's only going to make us better. At the same time, it's going to make them better, too. Because they're going against fast, strong linebackers as well. Right now, we just have to take care of each other and keep pushing each other to get better."