Defensive Coordinator Ken Norton, Jr. & Offensive Coordinator Todd Downing
The Oakland Raiders are .500, and so is their next opponent, the Baltimore Ravens. Sunday, the Silver and Black will host the former Super Bowl champs at the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum, and likely take the field with quarterback EJ Manuel as their starter. For the time being, No. 3 will serve as the team's signal-caller, and the offense has been preparing all week for a stout Ravens defense. Prior to practice Thursday afternoon, Raiders coordinators Todd Downing and Ken Norton, Jr., took the podium to discuss this week's matchup.
Here are the quick hits from their presser:
Offensive Coordinator Todd Downing
Downing shared what went into bringing quarterback EJ Manuel during the offseason.
"I've known EJ for a long time. I coached him in the Senior Bowl. I met him back in, I guess that was February of his draft year. It's pretty obvious to see his physical traits that made him a first-round draft choice. He's a big, strong guy. He can whip the ball all over the yard. I love his zest for the game. I knew that that was still in him when I supported us bringing him in here. He's a guy that's always hungry to learn and get better. He's done exactly that since he got here."
He broke down some of the reasons the offense has struggled as of late.
"You know, I think it's varied. I think it's been some situational stuff. I think it's been a little bit of misfortune, a little bit of misdirection, and I can certainly call it better. So of that pie that is the run game, there's plenty of pie to dole around to each group."
Downing reiterated his confidence in wide receiver Amari Cooper, and isn't concerned going forward.
"You know, Amari has been working really hard as well. We all believe in Amari to the utmost. I think that he's going to get going, just base on his hard work paying off, number one. Number two, when you play a game like this and a game plan like this, you're able to kind of get, like I said earlier, to some of your bread and butter stuff that he might be comfortable with, that the quarterback is comfortable with. A lot of times, that leads to a little bit more success on just generic type routes."
**Defensive Coordinator Ken Norton, Jr.
Norton talked about the biggest adjustment he's seen in defensive lineman Mario Edwards Jr.
"Just being available. Being here. We've always known that Mario is big, strong, athletic player. It's just a matter of being able to play every day. Being able to be around the guys, Khalil [Mack] and Bruce [Irvin], all the big guys up front. His game is only going to get better and better. To be young, to be fast, to be that athletic and love ball that much. He's really learning how to study now and how to apply the information that he learns on the film and apply it to actual games and practice. There's no limits, there's no cap to how good he can be."
He commented on the play of the secondary, and how they've been able to excel recently.
"The biggest thing with our secondary is just staying on top. Not giving up that deep ball. I think a lot of teams just throw it up and just see what happens. There's a few instances where we don't come out on the right side of it. It's a matter of the ball is in the air, let's make the play. Either go up and catch it at the highest point or knock it down, but don't let them catch it and don't get a penalty. I think that early on, TJ [Carrie] and Sean [Smith], they did a great job of putting that fire out.