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Quick Hits: DC Ken Norton Jr. Opens Up About the Defense's Progress


Defensive Coordinator Ken Norton Jr.

The Oakland Raiders' defensive coordinator Ken Norton Jr., believes that the defense is feeling comfortable in his scheme after the third day of training camp. The defense has a lot of talented players and makes competing fun for the team as a whole.

Here's a look at the best quick hits from his media session:

Norton thinks the defense feels confident in their second year under his leadership.

"Yes, I don't think there's any question that everybody is more familiar with what's expected of them. I think anytime you're in Year 2, they understand the concepts, understand the defensive scheme a whole lot better. At the same time, we have a lot of good football players. We've assembled some really good football players, created a lot of competition. We're really excited about what we can do."

Inside linebacker Ben Heeney has developed into an intelligent player in the middle of the field.

"Absolutely, he's smart, he's fast, and he's relentless. He has a nose for the ball, very instinctive. Ben is going to be a very good football player. He cares a lot, he's always getting better. You can't get him out of the film room, asking all the right questions, and we have a lot of confidence in him."

Cornerback DJ Hayden has been impressive in training camp so far this year.

"Just like everyone else, familiarity with the concepts, understanding what I'm asking. His confidence is really high. He's really excited to be here, and he loves what he's doing. So, you see we have competition across the board and he's a competitor. He's fitting right in and competing every day."

Rookie safety Karl Joseph has been a good fit in Norton's defense.

"Very, very happy. It's really good to see him in the game as opposed to watching as we did all spring. But, again, just like the rest of them, he's very passionate, very smart, loves playing ball and always is trying to find ways to better his game. We paired him with Reggie Nelson. It's been a fantastic experience and veteran for him and they've connected very well."

Norton acknowledged that there are plenty of leaders on the team. "Well, we don't expect one guy to do it all. We have a fantastic coaching staff as leaders. Obviously, Bruce is here, we have Malcolm Smith, there's Reggie Nelson. There's lots of guys, all of us are involved in different aspects of leadership, so it doesn't fall on one person. The group, it takes all of us to carry this thing to the place we want it to be."

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