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Quick Hits: Assistant Head Coach - Defense John Pagano Breaks Down Defensive Talent


Assistant Head Coach - Defense John Pagano

For the first time, Oakland Raiders Assistant Head Coach – Defense John Pagano met with the local media Tuesday afternoon. The Raiders newest defensive mind spoke about the progression he's seen from the rookies, and what it means to join this franchise. He touched on what his experience has been like thus far and his excitement going forward.

Here are the quick hits from his time with the media:

**Pagano expressed his gratitude to Head Coach Jack Del Rio for making him a part of the coaching staff.


"Like you said, it's learning everybody. It's learning the process of, you know, all the guys around us. The coaching staff being able to be a part of something. The opportunity that [Head] Coach [Jack] Del Rio gave me to join this staff and be able to help in all facets, from the back end to being able to help the linebackers communication between the secondary. It's been going good. It's a great staff to work with. We've bonded in a short time. We've met about a lot of football."

He talked about the leadership of veteran safety Reggie Nelson and what he brings to the table.

"It's been outstanding. I have nothing but just gravitated to a guy like that. To be able to talk football with him. Pick his brain of how he sees things, how he understands the game of football. I think the biggest thing that we always talk about back there, usually, is disguising. I think disguising is something that you have to take to a level in your defense that you could really do a lot of different things out of that. He's somebody that understands the game. It's just good to be around a guy like that. Excellent pro. He's a pro. Comes to work every day with questions. Writes everything down, listens. That's what it's all about."

Communication is key in order to win, and Pagano believes the defense will improve as it continues to advance its communication skills.

"For us to be able to communicate, our communication starts as coaches to coaches and then to work from player to coach. Then they take that communication out on the field from player to player. The big thing is what we're saying out there on the field in a gameday situation and being able to communicate like that. I think the biggest thing is making sure that everybody is saying the same thing. That starts with us as coaches, and that process of going through that. Then you just keep working on those things. Every day we strive for two goals, I know they talk about it in the back end, let's have great communication, how we're speaking to one another and two, let's not let the ball go over our heads."

He broke down what he's seen so far from rookie defensive backs Gareon Conley and Obi Melifonwu.

"Real good football players. Athletic. They're out there competing. The best thing that you can do to a group is bring in competition. Any type of more depth you have, the more competition you have, the better it always makes you. That, I think, has been a real positive. They're young. They're still rookies. They're still trying to find their way around and making sure they're getting lined up OK. Other than that, they're really detailed and you can see. The one thing that always stands out first and foremost is the athletic ability of both of them. They're great athletes."

Pagano also elaborated on the strides second-year safety Karl Joseph is making.

"A guy like Karl, you know, he's going to be 50 percent. The mental part is going to be so much better, just from his jump from his first year to second year and how to learn those things and truly understanding it. He's done a great job of, just like Reggie, taking notes. He wants to know everything from every detail of why we're doing this. When they understand that, they can play faster."

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