Head Coach Jack Del Rio and General Manager Reggie McKenzie
General Manager Reggie McKenzie and Head Coach Jack Del Rio held an exclusive conference call with Season Tickets Members Tuesday evening.
Here are the highlights from their call.
Head Coach Jack Del Rio:"Everything's been going great. We got here, hit the ground running, got the staff filled up. We have an excellent staff here – good teachers, good energy, and then we turned our attention to the roster and how we could strengthen our roster and working very closely with [General Manager] Reggie [McKenzie] and his staff, and the scouting staff and the coaches, and we feel like we had a really strong draft and a veteran free agent process, so here we are with a strengthened team and now we get to get started with the work."
General Manager Reggie McKenzie:"You gear up throughout the year and are waiting for free agency, waiting for the draft. So much is poured into it, so when you get through the rookie mini-camp, it is a little bit of a sigh of relief, to know that all these players, your 90-man roster is filled and you're still tinkering, but the bulk of that part of the work is done. They did a great job, everyone involved, coaches, scouts, it was a great effort by all involved."
**On the selection of WR Amari Cooper:
Coach Del Rio:"We liked his versatility. We think he can play inside, outside, left, right, X, Z, F. We think he can play all the spots. He lined up in all of those spots on tape in college. He was utilized coming out of the backfield as well. He's run the entire route tree. He's been exposed to a lot of offense, a lot of the concepts that we're going to want to use here. That versatility was definitely a factor in his value."
On the conditioning of the team:
Coach Del Rio:"We've added a lot of emphasis in that area. We've hired a guy named Joe Gomes and his staff, and what Joe does is he basically brings a high-performance approach to our strength and conditioning – a high-performance approach where everything is looked at, nutrition, not only the strength and conditioning element, but all the different nutritions and sleep patterns and all those different types of things that we can look at to help our guys be at their best. We feel really good about leading the way in the strength and conditioning program and the things we're doing with our players."
On the improvements to the team's Alameda, Calif., practice facility:
Coach Del Rio:"We're working on it right now. We have things going on right now. We're putting a steam room in. We have two practice fields actually being built right now. They're actually outside moving dirt right now, getting that ready. They're clearing the way for a new weight room for strength and conditioning. We've gone through and painted the building. We just want to create an environment where our players, and coaches, and scouts, and people that are working here in football, we come in every day and we're proud of where we go to work, that we're proud and fired up about coming in and putting our best efforts forward to helping the Raiders be the best team that can we can possibly have."
On his message to Raider Nation:
McKenzie:"For one thing, we're ready to go to work also. We're ready to get out here and start playing some good, winning football. We're ready to start building this thing and it starts with these young players and the free agents we brought in. We're going to go to work this summer and try to have a strong preseason so we can start this year off right and try to win some ball games. That's what it's all about."
On changing the culture in Oakland:
Coach Del Rio:"I think the biggest thing is to do less talking about it and more doing it on the field. That's what we're going to ask of our players. We're not going to turn our back on a great tradition, on a rich history. To me, I grew up a Raiders fan, and I'm a fan of what transpired before me. I admire the guys that came before me, that were coaches in this building. I have John Madden and Tom Flores on the wall in my office for one reason, they brought this great organization home the trophy. That's what we're here for. That's what we're all about."
On utilizing FB Marcel Reece:
Coach Del Rio:"What we'll do is build our offense around the guys that can make plays for us, and as we go through camp, he's been terrific through this offseason in terms of learning the system and getting himself in shape, and so I know he's going to give us everything he has. As a staff we're going to do everything we can to put our best playmakers in position to make plays, and as we go through competing for roles and things, I think if he competes and earns himself a big role then he'll have a big role. It's going to be a situation where we utilize our talent to the best of our abilities and certainly we know that in years past he's been a guy that's played at a high level."
Coach Del Rio:"I don't know if I can say much more than I've said. I can just show you by the work that we put in with our staff. The commitment that we're making to bring in the very best that we can every day. It's not like you give it today and then it's not there tomorrow. It's a day in, day out process. The process is underway. Everything we're doing is with one goal in mind, and that's to win the division. Everything we're doing is with a purpose and we're attacking this thing every day, so everybody out there can know that. This building is alive, that we are going after it and we are really looking to bring the Raiders back to greatness."
McKenzie:"I think Jack put it best. We want to bring this organization back to its winning ways. The whole time that we've spent answering these questions, I think you can feel the passion that Jack brings and his staff follows his lead. The entire organization is fired up for this season to get started. The only thing that I want to add is that I can't wait. I can't wait to go watch practice, watch these players come together, these coaches coaching them and bringing them together. It's an exciting time to be a Raider, to be a Raiders fan, to be a part of Raider Nation, and we're going to everything that we can to make all proud."