Head Coach Jack Del Rio
Oakland Raiders Head Coach Jack Del Rio hopped on his annual call with the Season Ticket Members Tuesday evening to discuss a wide array of topics.
Del Rio touched on the team's depth across the board, as well as the acquisition of Oakland-native Marshawn Lynch.
Here are some of the best quotes from his call:
Look for the Raiders to operate a little more from the no huddle in 2017.
"In terms of what we do with Derek [Carr], we think he is really good at operating out of a no huddle, being able to see what the defense wants to do, about giving him more and more leeway at the line, and more opportunity to get us out of bad plays, and into good plays. [We] just feel like with a quarterback with his talents, that we have to take advantage of that, and so absolutely, we're going to look to do more of that as we go."
Head Coach Del Rio also gave his assessment of the middle linebacker position.
"In terms of the middle linebacker position, I talked about it, I talked about us needing to address that. I wasn't really happy, I didn't really feel like we had totally addressed it, however, we did select Marquel [Lee] in the fifth round. He'll get an opportunity to compete. We do have guys that we are developing that, honestly, they look good right now. Cory James is going to make improvements, and he played last year for us, and he's going to be a year better, and there are other guys that are returning from injury right now. Ben Heeney, and a new signee, [Jelani] Jenkins, that will get an opportunity in there. What you do when you have a position that you're hoping to strengthen, you develop the guys that you have, you always keep an eye on the marketplace, in terms of what might come available, whether it be a free agent signing, or whether it might be a trade, so you never know, but we're going to fully develop the guys we have now, and that's how we're going to attack it.
Look for Marshawn Lynch to get a bulk of the carries come the regular season.
"I think Marshawn, I do believe he'll be our starter. I do believe that he'll get his fair share of the workload. I think we also recognize that the additions that we had last year, between using [fullback Jamize Olawale] out of the backfield, and also using DeAndré Washington, and Jalen Richard, those two men are exciting young players. I think we feel really good about the backfield that we have, and we're going to find ways to get them touches, but in terms of when we need the hard yardage, we want to pound people, having a back like Marshawn certainly gives you that ability behind that big offensive line of ours."
He also spoke about the addition of Assistant Head Coach – Defense John Pagano to the coaching staff.
"The Pagano family, these guys, [Indianapolis Colts Head Coach] Chuck and John both, very established in the National Football League, have been long-time, successful coaches. Both of these guys grew up in coaching. Their dad comes from a coaching family, coaches himself, and so it's a rich history of coaching in their family. What John brings is great communication skills. He's a smart coach. He's got a lot of experience, a lot of experience directly in our division, and he brings great communication skills, and to me, the one area where we needed some strengthening, and some improvement was in the communication part of our back end. I really feel like he'll help strengthen that."
Del Rio broke down the right tackle position, in particular, the amount of depth.
"Obviously we signed a veteran from the [New York] Giants, [Marshall] Newhouse, we've got Vadal Alexander returning, and we drafted a young man out of Florida, David Sharpe, who will get an opportunity to compete over there. We still have a guy that's mending in Austin Howard, so we've got four candidates;I think Denver Kirkland would be mad if I didn't mention his name. Really five guys over there that can play right tackle, so I think we'll have a real good competition."
**Entering his third season with the team, Del Rio's goal is to make sure the players remain unselfish.
"I think the biggest thing is to never take anything for granted, and I don't think we do. We're a good football team with a lot of work to do. I think for us it's really about embracing the process of just doing the work, don't take each other for granted. You have to work on the chemistry, you have to work on the respect and the appreciation you have for your environment, for your teammates, for your team. Continue to make great decisions for each other, understand what that process looks like of just recovering from the last game or practice, and bringing your best the next time you show up for work. Being willing to sacrifice, be unselfish, prepare, and go out and compete."
He talked about the production at tight end, and that he expects solid competition from the players.
"We can do better, not only with the way we cover other people's tight ends, but the way we utilize and take advantage and do things with our own. I think that's one of the reasons you saw us go out and get Mr. [Jared] Cook out of Green Bay, really a difference maker at the position, match-up problem we'll create for others. We still have good depth behind him with Clive still developing, Lee Smith returning from injury, and we've got some others that are still battling, so we've got a fairly deep group there."
Del Rio stated the team will give quarterback Derek Carr more freedom on the line of scrimmage.
"Feel really good about Todd Downing and his relationship with Derek Carr; and we really believe that the keys to a special offense are taking advantage of a talent like Derek, and allowing him to have the keys to run the show. We're going to give him more and more freedom at the line, and looking for him to continue his development. He's turning into one of the fine quarterbacks in the NFL and we're happy to have him."