When Defensive Coordinator Paul Guenther joined the Head Coach Jon Gruden’s coaching staff, he came with years of experience leading one of the top defenses in the league. Now with the Oakland Raiders, Guenther is implementing his system one day at a time, and the team is making progress. Tuesday, Guenther spoke with the media to discuss what’s stood out to him through Organized Team Activities, and if he feels the defense is grasping the system.
Here are the quick hits from his media session:
Guenther noted Marcus Gilchrist’s versatility on defense, and how it’ll impact the team.
“He’s really playing safety and nickel corner for us, he’s a veteran guy, seen a lot of football. Smart guy, picked up the playbook up in no time. So, he gives us a piece that we can move around some, he was a good pick up for us, for sure.”
He broke down some of the intricacies of his defensive scheme.
“I wouldn’t say it’s complicated, I think we teach concepts and techniques. There’s a lot of things we’ll mix up with those techniques and concepts, so if you understand this concept it’ll carry over to a different defense whether it be a blitz, or a coverage, or a front, whatever it is. If they understand those concepts it makes a lot more multiple with everything we’re doing.”
In the absence of defensive end Khalil Mack, Guenther is focused on carving out roles for other players on the team.
“Not really because, like I said, I’m trying to get the guys here to be better. They’ve been busting their tails trying to get better, trying to make the team, and there’s some guys out there that I really think have a lot of uncovered ability. We’re trying to get it out of them to understand, ‘hey you might not be a 60-snap a game guy, you might be a 15-snap a game guy, and do the best job in a role in order to help us win.’”
He’s pleased with what he’s seen from cornerback Gareon Conley as of late.
“We’ve pretty much done the installation of the defense for the most part, so clean up the little details, and the footwork, and all those type of those things. What I’ll typically do is I’ll take all the film from what we had in the spring and usually I’ll write little notes in between practices, but usually I’ll give them a little write up for when they come back for training camp. These are the things moving forward you need to work on, like I said, he’s doing a really good job, so I don’t have any problems with things he’s doing right now.”
Guenther commended defensive lineman Tank Carradine on his play thus far.
“Tank’s been a great surprise for us. I think he’s a great fit for our system, he’s playing base end on first and second down, he’s moving inside on the pass rush, he’s real smart and knows what to do. He’s understanding the defense and he’s a strong son of a gun, so he’s really going to help us out a lot.”
Take a look at photos as the Raiders hit the practice field for Tuesday's organized team activity.