Defensive Coordinator Ken Norton, Jr.
Oakland Raiders defensive coordinator Ken Norton, Jr., took the podium Thursday afternoon to discuss the team's preparation for this Sunday. The Silver and Black will take on their divisional rival this week, the San Diego Chargers. The Bolts offense has been unable to close out games late in the fourth quarter this season, but Norton has continued to prepare the team for a tough offense.
Here are the quick hits from his presser Thursday:
**Norton talked about the emergence of rookie linebacker Cory James and his play through his first two NFL starts.
"I think you can see his ability to run, his ability to decipher, understand and diagnose plays, his speed, his tackling ability. He's a pretty sure tackler. And, you can see his emergence and improvement every single game. Every time he goes to practice, you see him get better the very next practice. So, it's really good to see a young player like that learn and listen and be able to apply it to games."
He expressed what made the defensive pass rushers so successful last week against the Baltimore Ravens.
"Well, they always were right, they just played hard. The offense chipped them just like they usually do, but they just played hard. They play hard every week and some weeks they'll have better games and you'll feel them more than others, but at the same time, with Bruce [Irvin] and Khalil [Mack], those are two really good football players who really play hard all the time. So, they're always going to be out there, but you really felt them a lot more last week."
The Raiders are currently 3-0 on the road this season and Norton discussed how significant it is to have those early road games under the team's belt.
"There's no question, you always talk about road games and you have to win road games with your defense and your special teams and there's so many road games you think you have to win. Your home games are really important but when you put them together, there's no question, if you have a team that's really good on the road, that really helps you in the long run."
He spoke about what the pass rushers will need to do in order to be effective against a quality veteran in quarterback Philip Rivers.
"Oh yeah, well, that's why pass rushers get paid a lot of money. It's always important to have a good pass rush. But we've played, if you look at the last three or four weeks, we've played the top quarterbacks throwing the ball, scoring, around, and Philip Rivers is another one. Playing a top quarterback who gets rid of the ball really fast, still playing at a very high level, so we have a really big challenge ahead of us."
Norton complimented rookie safety Karl Joseph for his ability to blitz.
"Oh, no question. He's a first-rounder. First-rounder's are impact players, so he has to be well-rounded. Great in coverage, great in man coverage, great in zone coverage, a great blitzer, tackler, we expect that guy to do all of those things."