Head Coach Jack Del Rio
It's only Wednesday, and it's been quite the week for the Oakland Raiders. Tuesday, the team announced it was parting ways with former Defensive Coordinator Ken Norton, Jr., and would be moving forward with Assistant Head Coach – Defense John Pagano taking over play calling. Wednesday afternoon, Head Coach Jack Del Rio met with the media at the team's facility in Alameda, Calif., to shed some light on the decision, and to look forward to this week's matchup with the Denver Broncos.
Here are the quick hits from his media session:
Del Rio touched on the decision to relieve Defensive Coordinator Ken Norton, Jr., of his duties.
"I just felt that a change was needed. It wasn't easy to do. In fact, it was very difficult to do. I really felt like I needed to shake things up. We couldn't continue doing what we've been doing to this point. I made the call. The whole idea is to change what we're doing, to make sure that… What I'm looking for at the end of the day is to play fast on defense. We weren't playing fast enough. We weren't playing confident enough. That decision was made. It's always what's in the best interest of the team and nothing else."
He shared how the team's struggles can't be blamed on one group specifically.
"It's a team game. We're impacted by each other's performances, good and bad. All three phases to what the team is about. Players and coaches are involved in all three phases. I talk about complementary football and I gave the illustration the other day. I think it was misunderstood. I gave the illustration of the way New England closed the half. If you go back and look at last year how many times we did that; closed the half scoring, get the ball back to start the second half and score again. So, closing the half well and deferring and getting the ball, that's how you blow somebody out."
Del Rio talked about facing a stout Denver Broncos defense this Sunday.
"I think for us I'd rather spend less time reflecting on the last 10 weeks and more time focusing on the next six, starting with this one. We've got a really good defense coming in, offense has its hands full. It's a really good group and they're very talented. They're playing really well. So, we're just dig in on the preparation."
He commented on how the defense improves going forward, and how they can start playing "fast."
"For me, it's about the process. I've given you a shortened version in the past: recover, prepare, compete. That's the short version, how you sum it up. When you dig in to what that means, what does that mean when you're recovering? The detail of what you're doing. What does that mean in your preparation? How are we bringing to life the things we're doing? The detail in the meetings, the detail on the practice field, the accountability, the principles that we believe in. Those are the things you have to fight for."
Del Rio discussed facing Broncos second-year quarterback Paxton Lynch.
"Well, we know he's a big, athletic guy. Obviously, they're are putting together a package where he'll be most comfortable. They've been running the ball very well. Obviously, any quarterback appreciates a good run game. So, clearly that will be a point of emphasis for us."