Marcus Robertson was one of the few Raiders coaches to carry over on the staff this offseason. He was promoted from assistant defensive backs to defensive backs coach.
His success working with veteran safety Charles Woodson in 2014 was a big part in his return. "I think the greatest thing for me this year is the addition of Marcus Robertson," Woodson said in a November 2014 interview. "I've said that countless times already, but he's really helped me see the game better from a safety position. Yeah, I can play the game, but having him, having a guy who I feel like is one of the best coaches I've been around in my career, and helping me get better, has been a key for me."
Coach Robertson played 12 years in the NFL at safety, spending time in Houston/Tennessee and Seattle, and totaling 851 tackles, 24 interceptions and 1.5 sacks, and was an All-Pro in 1993 and 1997.
"The one thing I approached [Woodson] with was that I understand and I respect what he's done in the past, but when you talk about playing this particular position, I was the All-Pro at it, not you," said Coach Robertson. "I kind of got his attention with that, and me playing the position for 12 years and having the little bit of success I had at the position, he was able to listen, take heed to it, went out and practiced it."
Coach Robertson has been part of Raider Nation his entire life. He grew up in Pasadena, Calif., so being a part of the Silver and Black has been a dream come true. "It's awesome just for the simple fact that I grew up a Raiders fan," said Robertson. "I'm originally from Pasadena, California, so I've always wanted to be a Raider and I've always been a Raider fan. For me to be finally a part of the Oakland Raiders organization it's kind of like a dream come true. I had an opportunity to come here as a player in '01, I think it was when [Coach Jon] Gruden was here, and I kind of missed my opportunity, so it's finally nice to be back here in the Silver and Black."
The Raiders 2015 coaching staff has a combined 102 playing years in the NFL. Check out these photos of the staff during their playing days.
Robertson brings the skills of a player and the knowledge of a coach to the Raiders defensive backs room. He believes his playing days are imperative in his ability to be successful as a coach. "I think it's invaluable because the number one thing I want to do is I don't want to put players in position that I myself was uncomfortable in," said Robertson. "I have a good feel for the game, the speed of the game, and I know what is uncomfortable. I know the techniques. I know where your eyes should be. I know exactly what it feels like to fill the C-gap and then make a tackle on a big back or how you should tackle. There are times when I can use my playing experience and it proves to be invaluable for me as a coach."
Knowing what will make a player successful and putting players in the best position to make plays is something Coach Robertson prides himself on doing. "I'm tough but fair. My whole thing and what I'm trying to do is maximize the player's God-given ability while he's under my watch," he explained. "I don't want him to cheat himself. If I see something, I'm going to try to get it out of him. I'm not going to let him shortcut that. I think that will only make him a better player and of course it'll make us a better defense down the line."
Coach Robertson has an entirely new staff to work with including Hall of Famer Rod Woodson as his assistant defensive backs coach. "It's actually really, really nice. He's a little bit different, being a HOF and things of that nature, but the guy's very talented, has a lot of knowledge about the game," said Coach Robertson. "He's excited about being back on the coaching staff, and I'm excited to have him. I think bringing a guy of that magnitude into the classroom is just going to ignite the guys in the back end. I'm excited to have him."
They will also be under the direction of new defensive coordinator Ken Norton, Jr. "He brings a lot of energy, a lot of energy and excitement to the coaching staff," said Coach Robertson. "He loves football, and he's got an attitude and a mentality that I think this team is going to relish once they get up in here."
Coach Robertson is looking forward to working with Coach Norton and Coach Woodson, all of whom will be under the directive of defensive-minded Head Coach Jack Del Rio. "He's had a lot of outstanding defenses as well as teams throughout his career, just coming off of one over there in Denver, and I'm excited to be a part of his staff and excited to be working with him."
Coach Robertson has learned a great deal from the coaches he's worked under as a player and a coach. "I think I got my biggest coaching experience in 1993 when I was a player and Buddy Ryan came over from Philadelphia and became our defensive coordinator," said Robertson. "And then I've had so many great coaches outside of that. I had Jeff Fisher for seven years of my career and then I coached under Jeff Fisher. Then I had guys like Gregg Williams and then I had Jim Schwartz and then I also had Gunther Cunningham. I feel like I got a pretty good tree of some football traditions that are pretty sound and some pretty good defensive coordinators and head coaches along the way. I feel like I have a vast knowledge of the game, but I know at the same time I can learn tons more."
After a year in the Silver and Black, Coach Robertson is ready to prepare the 2015 Raiders secondary for Sundays. "I've always been attracted to the Commitment to Excellence. Growing up, watching Marcus Allen cut back on the field, watching Lester Hayes, Mike Haynes, all those guys, Jack Tatum, I always wanted to be a part of that," said Coach Robertson. "I'm proud to be a Raider. I'm excited to be here and I hope it's going to be a very long stay here with the Oakland Raiders."