Defensive Coordinator Ken Norton, Jr.
The Oakland Raiders wrapped up practice Friday as they continue to gear up for their Monday Night Football bout against the Houston Texans. Prior to practice, defensive coordinator Ken Norton, Jr., spoke with media members about the upcoming game. He shared his thoughts on facing the Texans offense, and how he's seen the Raiders defensive unit progress in recent weeks.
Here are the quick hits from his media session:
**Norton discussed how the defense will prepare for Texans quarterback Brock Osweiler and his ability to release passes quickly.
"A lot of quarterbacks try to get rid of the ball quick. Some hold it a little bit longer, but the good ones don't hold it too long. We just have to be really sharp with our rushes, really, really good with our coverages. Get our hands up and just be really good in our secondary because the ball is coming out quick. Whenever you have that situation, guys are catching balls and running with the ball. He throws it quick so we have to be really good tacklers. When they catch it, they have to go down and be tackled."
The Raiders defensive coordinator talked about limiting the Texans passes.
"We like to keep it that way, but at the same time you just have to play really sound ball. Coverage has to be well. Nothing changes on our part. We have to do the things that we do well; communicate well and tackle well. Get the ball out. Nothing changes for us. We just have to worry about us. What they're going to do, they're going to do. We have our own issues we have to worry about."
He shared his thoughts on the defense's improvement and the group's growth so far this season.
"There are some things that we do really well. Obviously, there's some things that we need to improve on, but the things that you do well, you have to keep doing those well. We're always going to be a growth in process. We always want to continue to grow, but at the same time, third down, turnovers [are] big time when it comes to winning ball games. Know what you do well and at the same time know what you have to improve on."
Norton explained the process of covering wide receivers when the opposing team faces a long third down.
"You still have to cover. You still have to have a combination with your cover and your rush. You still have to tackle well. You still have to be very aggressive. You still have to be excellent and be really good on your coverage aspect and your leverage aspect. All those things need to be timed together. Everything needs to work together. That's something that, again, we emphasize. We really hang our hat on third down and turnovers. We really feel that that's something that we take to another level."
He talked about what the energy and crowd noise will be like come Monday night in Mexico City.
"Enthusiasm, energy, doing things right, it's all contagious. Our team is really playing the best ball at the right time. It's important that we understand why they're playing better and continue understanding the details and the things that it takes to be a really good defense. We're excited to get back to playing ball. We had the week off. We got some good coach time. We got some good time to get away from ball a little bit. Now we're really back into the details and the coaching and understanding where we are."