Defensive Coordinator Ken Norton Jr.
Before practice Wednesday afternoon, Oakland Raiders defensive coordinator Ken Norton, Jr., vocalized his thoughts on the defense has performed through preseason. He noted his expectations for the defense in this week's bout against a Tennessee Titans team that has found success running the ball.
Here are the highlights from his time with the media:
Norton discussed the amount of talent and competition the team has been exhibiting during practice this preseason.
"There's a lot of talent. Cuts are never easy, but the guys have really made strong commitment. You can see the talent level, the commitment, the effort, the competition is at the best it's been since I've been here. I think that all of the decisions will be tough."
He pointed out the positive takeaways on defense from the Raiders loss to Green Bay last week.
"It's good for us to go up against teams that have been pretty good and at the same time match up to see where we stand. That was a good offensive line, good running back and it's important that we learn that you have to come out ready to play, even though you're in the right spot, you have to make plays. But, we can't let that first drive [happen]. The guys played really good later on, the second drive, the third drive, they really recovered after that first drive."
The second-year defensive coordinator expects the defense to be tested this week against the Titans.
"You want to see where your strengths are. You have a thought about what your strengths are, but then you actually play the games where you find out where your true strengths are. We'll see how good we are and [where] our run fits and our energy and effort, our ability to play a mobile quarterback, because you have to be good against the run, you have to certainly contain your quarterback and you have to play good solid ball, good fundamental ball throughout the game consistently."
Norton has been pleased with the progress of rookie safety Karl Joseph, and noted his goal line stop on Packers running back Eddie Lacy.
"Oh, that's why we brought him here. He's a pack of dynamite. He's got those shoulder pads, he has that attitude, he knows how to hit. He knows a good lean, he knows how to put a good pop on you and that was a good running back. For him to hit him like that and knock him back on the goal line lets us know that he's on his way. He's coming. He's coming, he's still growing but he still packs a punch and we like what we see."
Safety Nate Allen has played well through the preseason, but there's still a lot of football left to be played.
"There's still a lot of football left to play in this preseason. So, it's all about competition and I don't think there's 1's, 2's and 3's set up at this point. More guys certainly are playing more than others, but at the same time, I don't think any final decisions have been made. Nate's still a fine football player, making plays, playing hard. He shows up every day and we really like what we see out of Nate."