Defensive Coordinator Ken Norton, Jr.
The Oakland Raiders are gearing up to face the San Diego Chargers for the second time this season and defensive coordinator Ken Norton, Jr., is prepared for the matchup. Thursday afternoon, Norton spoke with reporters about facing a potent Chargers offense with big play capability. He also discussed the growth of some of the younger players on defense.
Here are the quick hits from his time with the media.
**Norton said that even though the defense hasn't tallied a big number of sacks thus far, the team is effective in pressuring the quarterback.
"Well, we do get them off their spot a lot, but like you said, there's a lot of different stats you can look at. That particular stat, obviously, you want it up. You want as many sacks as possible. Again, there's lots of things to improve on. There's things we're doing really good. Things we certainly need to improve on. Sacks, I think last year we were up in the 38 area, where you end up. The season's not quite over yet. At the same time, Khalil [Mack] is doing well. Bruce [Irvin] is doing well. I think the sack and the pressure is developing, but obviously it's not where we want it."
He shared his thoughts on rookie defensive end Jihad Ward and his development thus far.
"As far as him understanding what we do, as far as him understanding how to work well with others and to really accept the coaching, very happy with what he's doing. Obviously, from your standpoint, everybody talks about sacks, but at the same time, his discipline, his gap control, his mentals are down. He's always hustling, plays really hard, in meetings early, asking for extra help. He's durable. He's playing every play. He's here every day, shows up all the time. Extremely happy with his development."
**Norton talked about the versatility of linebacker Bruce Irvin and how he complements defensive end Khalil Mack.
"Bruce is a guy that's very versatile and I put in a lot of spies. We have a lot of quarterbacks who like to move around a lot and run, so he becomes a spy guy while Khalil gets to do the sacking. At the same time, you just have to really let guys do what they do. This week, obviously, this quarterback isn't the type that's going to run a lot. So you might see Bruce rush a lot more. At the same time, the guys are all working together. When one gets a sack, they all celebrate. So the group is doing well as Khalil is."
He acknowledged the talent of Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers and what he expects to see from the veteran signal-caller come Sunday.
"There's so many different situations that you have to master. You just have to put them all together, then you get to the wins. He's going to attack us over the top, in the middle. They have good tight ends. There's so many different aspects to the game that one aspect isn't more important than the other."