Head Coach Jack Del Rio
Another day to get better.
Oakland Raiders Head Coach Jack Del Rio has preached his mantra of "Return to Greatness" since the beginning of last year, and he's driven to take this team to the next level. After strapping on the pads for their first padded practice Monday, the players were back on the field again Tuesday in Napa, Calif., to make the helmets clash yet again.
Following practice, Del Rio addressed the media, and recapped the past two days.
While the Raiders accomplished a lot last season, Del Rio isn't concerned with what's in the rearview mirror.
"First of all, good or bad, whatever happened in the past is left in the past. I think for us each year, you have to come in and reestablish who you are, the things you believe in, learn how to sacrifice, get yourself in shape – and it's not just physical condition, it's mental, emotional conditioning. That's what we're here to do. We're working hard at it. We're just getting started here in camp. It's very early in camp. We've got a long way to go, but I like the spirit of this football team. We've got a good group of men, and we know we've got a lot of work in front of us."
He talked about the additions of wide receiver Cordarrelle Patterson and quarterback EJ Manuel, discussed how they're coming along.
"I think obviously they were two guys that we felt could upgrade us at those positions; Cordarrelle with his tremendous explosiveness, his return ability and the fact that we feel like there's still a lot more to develop there from a receiver standpoint and potentially doing some other things with him. And then with EJ, he had a relationship with [offensive coordinator] Todd [Downing] before. He was selected high in the draft before. He doesn't carry all that burden with him, he just comes in here with a chance to compete and develop, and not worry about all of that other stuff and just think about growing every day as a player."
Now that second-year safety Karl Joseph is healthy and has a year of experience under his belt, Del Rio is pleased with what he sees from him.
"He's a tireless worker. There's no shortage of energy from him and desire from him to want to improve and become a really good football player. We liked a lot about what we drafted and I think he's healthier now. We're getting a chance to see more of what he can be as he's healthier and has a little bit of experience."
He praised the progression of wide receivers K.J. Brent and Jaydon Mickens.
"They've been really strong throughout this offseason. I think both K.J. and Jaydon, obviously being with us last year on the practice squad and developing, it's a little different in how they do it. Jaydon, smaller, quicker guy with some return ability, and K.J., a bigger guy and able to get in there and do more blocking, the dirty work we ask our receivers to do. They're both doing a great job. They're both in the mix. We have a good, solid group of wideouts. Everywhere on our roster, we're going to compete and let it play out."
Del Rio also touched on fellow second-year wideout Johnny Holton, and how he can impact the special teams game.
"It would be natural for him to expand his role a little bit. Take some of the experience he had last year and help us make an even bigger impact on special teams, as well as being involved in the offense. That's the next step for him. That's the progression we're looking to see."