Head Coach Jack Del Rio
Saturday the Oakland Raiders kicked off their preseason opener in Glendale, Ariz., against the Arizona Cardinals. Unfortunately, the Silver and Black were unable to walk away with a “W”, but even in the loss there were plenty of positive takeaways. Following Tuesday’s practice, Head Coach Jack Del Rio met with the media at the team’s Napa Valley Training Complex to recap some of those takeaways.
Here are the quick hits from his media session:
Del Rio talked about the improved line of communication on defense, specifically in the secondary.
“It improved for sure. It wasn’t perfect, but much improved. We had a couple issues throughout the night, but for the most part it was pretty clean and I think they had a really good idea what happened and why. So coming out of that, I feel like there’s been development there, there’s been growth there. It was really a pretty good start for the first night. Good tape to watch them build on.”
He recapped rookie safety Shalom Luani’s performance Saturday, highlighting his ability to gravitate towards the ball.
“Yeah, Shalom did a nice job. He got a lot of snaps the other night. He is a really instinctive young man, kind of a ball magnet, kind of just tracks the ball, finds the ball. Good instincts, active. He did some things on special teams that were pretty good too, so he’s one of those young players that you’re excited about developing. It was a good start for him.”
With offensive lineman Jon Feliciano back in the mix, Del Rio discussed why his versatility is important.
“It’s good to have him back. He’s a tough guy. Good to have him back out here. He’s a versatile guy. He can play guard and center. It’s good to have him out. We’re getting healthier, that’s the goal. Get through this camp and condition and get the work in and get our guys healthy. He’s one that’s done well to get himself back at practice.”
**While safety Obi Melifonwu didn’t play Saturday, his Head Coach was certainly happy to have him back on the practice field.
“Good to have Obi doing a little bit of light drills and starting to get back into active duty. We just work our guys and try and get them healthy and when they’re ready to go, we go. In the meantime, they’re doing everything that they can to get back. Yeah, it was good to see him kind of get some light work in today and we’ll increase that as we go. Hopefully, we’ll have him back full speed in no time.”
Del Rio praised offensive lineman Ian Silberman for his willingness to learn the center position.
“He’s developing. [Offensive line coach] Mike Tice does a great job with the O-line and centers, in particular. He’s had a long history of developing guys at that position. Taking athletic guys and teaching them how to make the calls and how to snap the ball. Ian’s come a long way in a short amount of time. He’s doing a really good job. He played well the other night. That was a pleasant surprise.”