Head Coach Del Rio's Combine Press Conference

On off-field player issues: "I think each organization has to handle their business in the way that suits them. You're dealing with human beings and things happen. You just want to make sure you're thorough in the research that you do and the work that you put in. Being here now, that's a part of that process to get a feel for some of these young men. But it goes a lot deeper than that. You do the best you can to gather information. When you look at it as a whole, and you look at the league in its totality, I think it's a pretty good example of guys doing things the right way. I think it's probably not said enough how a really high percentage of the people that are part of this league are doing things the right way a large percentage of the time. We will be thorough in terms of determining whether or not a person is a good fit for our organization."

On Maurice Jones-Drew: "I would say that that's something we'll continue to look at in terms of who's going to be on the roster, who is going to be challenging for spots on the roster and who's going to earn what particular role. I think that's all way too early in the process to start getting into that. It's all being evaluated. Certainly, this is a fine young man that played great for me in our time together in Jacksonville. He's a special young man and I have a lot of respect for him. We just need to find out. He came to see me and wanted to welcome me and say hello and that was one of my questions – hey man, can you be explosive again? We need to know whether that can happen again. We'll find out, but obviously I have a lot of respect for him. That's part of the process as we go through this to make sure we're putting out the best product we can on the field."

On why Raiders have struggled for so many years: "I'm really not spending a whole lot of time worrying about what was. I'm really focused on what needs to be going forward. I'm very excited about what I think was a very strong staff that I was able to put together. I'm thankful that we were able to go get good people and that they were excited to be a part of our effort there. I think it starts there. We brought in guys that are great teachers with a lot of energy.  I think that's what we need. So going forward, what I'm looking to do, is assemble a strong staff – we've done that – and evaluate the roster - that is continuous. We're here because this basically begins the new year. You come here, you begin your draft preparations and you really begin to bring the coaches in and close your draft preparations as you prepare for that day. Then you acquire that talent and then you go out there and compete. We're going to have a very competitive mentality throughout our organization in everything we're doing. I want to make sure we're competing to be the very best and the goal from day one is to win the division."

On what makes him a better head coach this time around: "I think you grow from all those experiences you have as a coach, certainly spent three tremendous years in Denver. I'd like to think the last three years have been very beneficial, that we were able to do some superior things there on the field. You take that experience, and actually being the interim head coach when John [Fox] was battling his heart issues, and as I told you then, it was good to be back on the bike and it was a really good bike. We're looking to make this a good bike where we are now."

On bringing in free agents with a lot of cap space: "It's very important. That's why I think it's important that prospective players out there understand that things have changed. Our fields are all being redone; our practice fields are all being redone. Our weight room is being expanded. We have a steam room going in. There's a freshness going on. So those are things that I talked about in the interview process that were important and they followed up with actual commitment of capital, which I'm excited about. So as you go into this phase of free agency and acquiring players, we have cap space and we have cash and we have a new staff full of teachers and we have a good young quarterback and we have a good, young man off the edge in Khalil Mack and we have a good left tackle. So the things that we need to get started, we have. We're going to start adding good quality people that are fired up to be part of the Raiders. I'm excited about part of that process that we're just getting in to."

On ability to put defensive players in best position to be successful: "Coach [Fox] and I share a common philosophy in terms of making sure that you get your players in position to do the things they do well. You want to minimize the exposure they have of being asked to do things they can't do well. That's one of the fundamentals of coaching is being able to relate to players and understand what they can and can't do and make sure that you're creating opportunities to do the things they do well. We're looking for things we can do, things that guys can do. We're not worried about the things they can't do. It's our job to make sure we don't put them in those situations. That's basically the way I've always looked at it and that's the way Kenny Norton [Defensive Coordinator Ken Norton Jr.], that's the way he looks at it. We're looking for things guys can do. We're excited about coaching these young men and teaching and developing these guys."

On Coach Fox's greatest strengths: "It was my second time being with Coach Fox. I think he's a great people person. He trusts his coordinators to do their jobs and he builds great relationships with his players. I think those are basic hallmarks of what he brings. Good man to work for."

On concerns about Raiders future location during interview process: "Yeah, I asked point blank what Mark Davis...what his thoughts were on potential for relocation and he indicated to me that it is his desire to keep the team in Oakland and they're working hard to do that. That's his commitment. To look at it that way, I'm from the area. Obviously, I can coach anywhere, but I'm from there and it would be great to keep them right there so hopefully we get that done."

On if Derek Carr is the Raiders starting QB in 2015: "I certainly would hope so. You're not trying to jinx me, are you?"

On if he gave Carr that commitment: "I don't think that's a kind of thing that needs to be talked about. I think most everybody out here would understand that right now."

On decision to hire Rod Woodson as assistant DBs coach: "We're excited to have Rod. Rod was a player in Baltimore when I was coaching as part of the Ravens team that won the Super Bowl. I've seen Rod first hand. He interned for us last year in Denver. He has coached before, was in Oakland once before. He has a passion for the game. He's a Hall of Fame player, which doesn't mean a whole lot in coaching, other than he'll get instant credibility and he'll get that first five minutes, maybe it turns into 10 minutes, but then he's got to be about helping a guy be better. It's my belief he can do that. He can help us. He can bring wisdom. He can bring energy. He's a good man. I'm glad to have him on the staff."

On the cornerback position currently on the roster: "I feel like we have some solid young players that should develop in our system. Throughout the whole roster we're looking for ways that we can create competition and make sure we develop. I see that position much like the rest of the positions on the team. I think it's one that has some moments and one that will need to play at a better level and I think you can say that throughout the roster."

On Khalil Mack's rookie season: "Khalil obviously is a guy that last year at this time was considered one of the top prospects. He's gone from that top prospect in terms of a guy who may be able to come in and play and he's established himself as a guy that can play. Now, we'd like to take that performance to another level. He showed signs of being dominant in certain things, in particular stuffing people at the line of scrimmage and putting up that stop sign and telling people they're not coming that way. Some of the ability to finish on the edge we think we can help him with some of those things. And some of the opportunities where you get people in must-pass situations where he can flourish. Excited about a young talent like that."

On DJ Hayden: "DJ has great feet. He's got special corner feet, ability to transition, change direction. For DJ, it's all about staying healthy. It's hard to develop if you're not on the field working. We're going to work hard. We have a new strength coach, Joe Gomes, and Joe and his staff are similar to what Luke Richesson brought us in Denver in terms of being on the cutting edge of technologies utilized, in terms of the conditioning and the strengthening of your football team. A lot of the regeneration and regenerative things you need to be about in order to bring people back so they can train harder so they can be fresher on Sundays will be part of our program. I think all of that adds into it."

On connecting with Terrance Knighton: "Obviously, we drafted him. We thought at that time he was kind of a dancing bear type, kind of a big, powerful man that could stay on his feet and run down the line. This game is about big, powerful men so that the guys that have the skill level can do their things. So this big, powerful man played well in Jacksonville. We got back together; he played well in Denver, and so I appreciate that. I respect that. We have to have those kinds of people in our trenches on the offensive and defensive line in order to play the football we expect to play." 

On staying in the AFC West: "There's a working reference point that I can draw. I am familiar with those stadiums. I am familiar with those teams, having competed against them and been a part of one of them and played the others twice a year. I think that may benefit certain things but it's still about getting in and doing the work and not taking anything for granted. I have a healthy respect for the division. I think it's a good division. As I said a little while ago, our goal, number one in everything we're doing in our building, is to win our division first. Everything we're about, every decision we make, is about, 'can that help us win our division?' Once you accomplish that, you can talk about other goals, but goal number one has to be that."

This article has been reproduced in a new format and may be missing content or contain faulty links. Please use the Contact Us link in our site footer to report an issue.

Related Content

Advertising