Defensive Coordinator Ken Norton, Jr.
The Oakland Raiders were at the team's Alameda, Calif., practice facility on Thursday, as they continue gearing up for Sunday's game against the Carolina Panthers. Following practice, Raiders defensive coordinator Ken Norton, Jr., met with media members to talk about the upcoming matchup and what makes the Panthers a difficult team to face. He also spoke about the growth of players on the team and how the defense is clicking as a unit.
Here are the quick hits from his time with the media:
**Norton talked about what Cam Newton does that's so special at the quarterback position.
"No question. He's in such control of what he's doing. He understands football. He understands his strengths and weaknesses. He's a really good football player and there's no question you have to really do your homework. You have to really be disciplined, responsible football to be successful versus this team."
The second-year defensive coordinator spoke about linebacker Bruce Irvin's performance on Sunday and his growth as a player.
"No doubt; just a complete game for him. Just being a total package football player. Coming into the league, he may have been detailed as a finesse type player. He's really rugged now. He's really strong, really smart, really confident. He can play sideline to sideline. He can rush the passer. He can drop into coverage. He can knock tight ends off the line. He can cover tight ends. He can do all this stuff. Anything you want him to do, Bruce can do it."
He shared his thoughts on how rookie safety Karl Joseph has developed each week and learned from veteran players around him.
"It's fun to watch young players learn, grow, accept all the knowledge, really surround themselves with veterans with Reggie Nelson being around him and Bruce and Khalil [Mack], all these older guys who have had success. For him to watch and learn and now apply it, it's one thing to know it, it's another thing to apply it and he's been able to apply, you see, in his performance."
**Norton discussed the absence of rookie linebacker Shilique Calhoun this week and the team's depth in his stead.
"Well we have good depth. We have good depth. The guys have to step up; next man up. I think that our depth, I think the guys who are playing well are going to continue to play well and they're going to really bring the group with them. I think that the guys are really going to step up."
He praised Panthers tight end Greg Olsen for his route running ability and strong hands.
"He's smart. He's fast. He runs really good routes. He understands leverage, and he catches the ball well. You always need a good guy throwing you the ball and he's got a really good quarterback, really good strong arm, that trusts him. They really have a good relationship together."