Defensive Coordinator Ken Norton, Jr.
Week 13 is upon us and the Oakland Raiders have been preparing all week for their game this Sunday when take on the Buffalo Bills. The Silver and Black will host their opponent at the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum and Thursday afternoon defensive coordinator Ken Norton, Jr., discussed the AFC battle.
He spoke about facing a tough opponent capable of making some big plays in the rushing game via running back Lesean McCoy and dual-threat quarterback Tyrod Taylor. Norton shared that the team is taking the steps necessary to prepare for the battle in the trenches come Sunday.
Here are the quick hits from his time at the podium:
**The second-year defensive coordinator made it clear he isn't at all surprised by Khalil Mack's production.
"Not at all. Khalil is never surprising. The kid is amazing. He's fast. He's strong. He's that basketball player that fills out the stat sheet. Everybody just sees the stats, or the sacks I should say, but he's in meetings early. He's a leader. He's a guy that the young guys can really lean on to teach. He's always improving. He practices hard. He's the player that everyone loves to coach."
Norton talked about trying to limit Taylor from using his feet outside of the pocket.
"Well you can see he's a hard guy to catch. He's fast. He's elusive. He extends plays. He has a great arm. It kind of comes for us right after playing Cam [Newton] with Carolina, so it kind of falls into that category. At the same time, he's having a heck of a year. They're leading the league in rushing. Big plays, they're throwing the ball really well, so we have a really big challenge ahead of us."
He said that in order to be effective against the Bills running game the defense needs to work together as a unit.
"Playing together. Everybody understands it's a disciplined type game plan. It's a disciplined type team you're playing. You have to be connected across the board. [LeSean] McCoy is a type of runner, he can start to the right and he could end up on the left. It kind of reminds you of the old days, Barry Sanders. He could be anywhere. It's important each player who's involved in the defense and in charge of the gap, you have to be solid, you have to sound and you have to be disciplined and understand that we're all connected. Everybody plays together. Not one guy tackles him. The whole unit is responsible for the running game."
**Norton expressed that the team is always trying to improve in different areas and it knows the work is far from over.
"That's the great thing about this game. It's always something to improve on. There's always really good things that we're doing. There's always things that we can get better at, but there are a few things that we can hang our hat on as a defense. We love getting after the ball. Third down is really important to us. Rising up and making plays with the big players that are supposed to make them. Scoring defense, those are things that we really, really care about. The guys have really taken to it. They understand what's important, and it's about winning games."
He shared that the players are working to accomplish smaller goals and will eventually build up to the final product.
"We're not at the final, so we don't really know exactly. You're always working. You always have the goals. You always set a lot of small goals to reach. When it comes down to it, we want to be on the field when the game is on the line. We want to be depended upon to make the plays that we're supposed to make. We want to play at the highest of our ability. We have some really good players. We've assembled some really good players together. Why not go for it? We're going to for the best we can possibly be in all the situations. Football isn't about how many yards a team scored on you. It's about the points. It's about the situations."