Notebook: Norton Talks Defense, Alexander, Trawick Remain Sidelined

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Defensive Tackle Stacy McGee

Defensive coordinator Ken Norton Jr. isn't mincing words; he's confident in his players, and he believes that the group has the ability to turn things around statistically in the coming weeks.

"If you believe in your players, you believe in your coaches, you believe in yourself, obviously, you'd like the stats to be better," said Norton Thursday afternoon. "We're at 4-2. We're in a pretty good place record-wise, but the stats need to be better. I think that we need to continue understanding what we are, who we are and getting better at what we're doing. You see the things that are going wrong. We're missing tackles, the ball goes over our head, we'll get reached. Those little things, the details need to be taken care."

It's those little details as Norton calls them, that can turn a four-yard run into a first down, or a short catch into an explosive play.

"It's all about belief," Norton said. "We work hard and we have the right people and we'll get it done."

Defensive tackle Stacy McGee agrees with his defensive coordinator that the Raiders defensive struggles right now lie in the details, but he also knows that if the Silver and Black want to remain atop the AFC West, the time to fix those defensive lapses is right now.

"I see it as that, but at the same time, those little things can be big, if they continue to keep happening," McGee said. "They're thing we need to fix now, than rather let it continue."

And while the mistakes might be decreasing as the season wears on, McGee believes that for the team to put together the type of performance they want, the mistakes in general have to be eliminated.

"Overall as a defense, we have to figure out how to play together, and put the pieces together, and just execute every call that we're given," McGee said. "Like I said before, we have all the keys. We have all the talent, good coaches, but everybody doesn't come together, and execute every call, then something always falls through."

Although the team admittedly has a sour taste in its mouth following the 26-10 Week 6 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs, McGee is confident that the 2016 version of the Silver and Black have the mental fortitude to bounce back, and not dwell on the defeat.

"I've never doubted the team in anything, win, lose, whatever," McGee said. "I have no doubt in anybody, and I feel like in a situation where we don't win, because like I said, we have the team, coaches, everything, we just need to put everything together, every day, every play, and keep working."

Injury Report:

G/T Vadal Alexander – Ankle – Did not participate

G/C – Jon Feliciano – Calf – Limited

C – Rodney Hudson – Knee – Limited

G – Gabe Jackson – Knee – Limited

RB – Taiwan Jones – Knee – Limited

S – Brynden Trawick – Shoulder – Did not participate

T – Menelik Watson – Calf – Limited

Notable:

-There was no change in the Raiders participation report Thursday afternoon. Running back Latavius Murray and tackle Menelik Watson were both limited participants, and safety Brynden Trawick, and offensive lineman Vadal Alexander were the only players unable to go.

-Who says that big guys can't catch? During the stretching portion of Thursday's practice, Khalil Mack, Justin Ellis, Bruce Irvin and Denico Autry all spent time catching passes from assistant special teams coach Tracy Smith, with Autry even showing off a little, catching a few of those passes with one hand.

-Rookie running back DeAndré Washington spent a few minutes before practice working on his over-the-shoulder catches, fielding tennis balls thrown by an equipment staffer.

Quotable:

Offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave has fond memories of his time in Jacksonville:

"I just think I grew a lot as a coach. Each year you learn something. Good coaches, we try to learn something from every game, every practice, but I learned a bunch those two years and grew. Also got to see how Jack ran his program, which was impressive."

Defensive coordinator Ken Norton, Jr. has been pleased with what he's seen from Bruce Irvin thus far:

"Bruce is doing everything. Bruce is really good at going forward. He's a really good cover guy. He's a really good leader, and he's done a lot good things for us. He's certainly made us have the ability to do a lot of things, but he can go forward and cover. He can do it all."

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