Quick Hits: Ken Norton, Jr., Discusses Progression Of The Rookies

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Defensive Coordinator Ken Norton, Jr.

The Oakland Raiders were back on the field Thursday afternoon getting ready to face the undefeated Baltimore Ravens. Raiders defensive coordinator Ken Norton, Jr., took the podium to discuss how the defense will prepare for quarterback Joe Flacco and veteran wide receiver Steve Smith, Sr. He also talked about several of the Raiders' rookies who have been seeing extensive playing time.

Here are the quick hits from his presser:

**Norton expressed his satisfaction with rookie linebacker Cory James and his effort so far.

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"You can tell that guy has a lot of potential. He plays hard. He looks the way linebacker's are supposed to look – tough. Throwing his body in there. He still makes the young rookie mistakes, but he makes it full speed. He's the type of guy that you want. If you had a team full of Cory James, we'd be pretty good. He's very impressive."

He talked about the progression of rookie safety Karl Joseph's return from injury and his play on the field.

"Had a great training camp and [was] really waiting to get back on the field. He shows you that he can play. It's a matter of him understanding, getting a lot of confidence in what he's doing, really learning this game. The NFL teaches you a lot of stuff. It's about experiences and right now he's at that age where a lot of experiences are going to come up for him and he has to understand what they are and make the best of them."

Norton discussed how the Raiders will be challenged to stop a tough Ravens offense.

"They're tough, I mean AFC North team, you know they're going to be very tough at home. At the same time, [Joe] Flacco's a guy that's very accurate. Steve Smith [Sr.], he always has a chip on his shoulder, still does all the things he's been able to do, catch and run, playing with a lot of attitude. The team is winning. They're winning a certain way and they're going to be a really strong challenge for us."

The second-year defensive coordinator praised cornerback Sean Smith for being a student of the game and taking pride in his craft.

"Sean [Smith] is very prideful about his performance. He's a student of the game. He knows that he's one of our playmakers on this defense. He has to step up and make plays for us and he has to be a guy that we can really depend on. And, right now, it's about consistency. How does he respond from the first two games when he didn't play as well? Now he's playing a little bit better, how does he respond form playing a better game? I think he's the type of guy, he'll show you his high level of consistency."

He shared his thoughts on defensive end Khalil Mack's presence on the team and how he helps everyone.

"Just awareness. It's not a surprise anymore. That's why Bruce Irvin was so important to us, but at the same time he's getting the quarterback off his spot. Sacks are always a big thing for everybody to count, but at the same time he's affecting the quarterback. You see we had a few turnovers last week. It's not by accident. The entire group is working together. Khalil's success is working off the rest of the group. It's making everybody else better."

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