Defensive Coordinator Ken Norton, Jr. and Offensive Coordinator Todd Downing
The Kansas City Chiefs come to town this week, as the Oakland Raiders welcome their division rival to the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum for some Thursday Night Football. The Silver and Black currently sit at the bottom of the AFC West, while the Chiefs own the best record in the division at 5-1; however, there's plenty of time left in the season for the Raiders to get back on track. Raiders Defensive Coordinator Ken Norton, Jr., and Offensive Coordinator Todd Downing will have their hands full come Thursday, but are putting in the work to prepare.
Here are the quick hits from their media session Tuesday:
Defensive Coordinator Ken Norton, Jr.
Norton talked about what makes Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith a difficult opponent.
"Well he's good. That helps. He's very talented, mobile, smart. Has a really good talent and good players around him. There's a lot of explosive players. The really good quarterbacks get up for the big games."
He praised cornerback TJ Carrie on his effort this season, and the work he's put in.
"TJ has been a pro's pro. He works really hard. He cares a lot about his craft. He's always trying to improve and talk and ask questions. He's here early. He stays late. He's a type of guy that gets a whole lot out of his talent. He does a really good job. He sets a good example for the younger players."
Norton spoke about the addition of linebacker NaVorro Bowman and what he can add to the defensive unit.
"Well, again my job is to coach. NaVorro shows up and we coach the heck out of him. He's a perennial All-Pro. Been watching him from my days in the NFC West. The battles I've had with him, he's special. I think for our young players, our young linebackers that have watched him play as well, I think he's going to be a very good impression on him. At the same time, he's still a young man himself. He's 29 years old. He has a lot of football left ahead of him. We're excited to have him a part of our team. He's going to make a real strong impact for us."
Offensive Coordinator Todd Downing
**Downing shared that the offense is close to being a potent offense, and just needs to tighten some things up.
"When you look at the tape, you can see that we're so close on so many things. I know that sounds cliché and I know that sounds like someone sitting up here and trying to give you the rose-colored glasses, but it's the truth. We know that we're just this close to making a couple more plays each game and being able to come out on top and feeling like we put together a good product. You're right, stats aren't everything, but they are often an indicator in areas that you might be struggling a little bit. We know that there are some areas that we've identified that we want to get better at quickly."
He discussed quarterback Derek Carr's decision making when it comes to letting plays develop.
"It's really scheme oriented. Sometimes you're in a situation where you're looking for a completion maybe to get you back into a manageable third down or something like that. Or you're trying to get one to your play makers, a catch and run opportunity. So, without sitting down with you and looking at play-by-play specifics, it'd be hard for me to fairly answer that question in terms of whether he should be holding the ball longer or not. He's doing a nice job of going through his progression. We just need to execute better all-around and maybe a little better ball placement on some throws and we'll like the result."