Veteran NFL assistant coach Bob Sanders joined the Oakland Raiders as linebackers coach January 25. Raiders.com had the opportunity to speak with Coach Sanders for a one-on-one interview.
Raiders.com: What did you know about the history of the Raiders? How much was the tradition, the colors, the history of the Raiders a factor for you coming here?
Sanders: I grew up in eastern North Carolina, and just being in the profession for a long time, knowing and hearing about the Raider Nation, had the opportunity to play against the Raiders a number of times. The tradition that Mr. Davis has set here was exciting. I had always heard about it, and had the opportunity to play against the Raiders and now the opportunity to be a part of it is exciting.
Raiders.com: How do you approach coaching? What is your favorite part about being a coach in the National Football League?
Sanders: Coaching to me is about teaching and just being a part of something bigger than yourself, being about to be involved in the competition and the association with the other coaches and the players…everybody striving to get the one common goal to win the Super Bowl. That's what's exciting to me. I've coached on all levels from high school to college to the NFL. I think just having the blessing to be in the NFL and be able to compete at the highest level and be part of one of the greatest games in the world. The interest, the competition, being able to go against the best every week, that's an exciting part to me. Being able to be part of something that's really bigger than yourself, being able to help out and teach, work together for that common goal is a fun thing.
Raiders.com: How have you developed your teaching style as a coach?
Sanders: You base it on the product that you're teaching. There's always a process, a way to learn things. You try to categorically place everything in a certain order so that the learning is easier. There's a process in teaching, it's not just about throwing stuff out every day. There's a rhyme or reason how things fit together just like if you were in a history class or English class or whatever it may be. You build your bank of knowledge and you keep building on it. With the knowledge and experience hopefully you develop into the player you can and should be.
Raiders.com: What is the most important thing for you to accomplish this offseason?
Sanders: From a professional standpoint, just to learn the scheme and how things are done the Raider way. The way [Head Coach Dennis Allen] wants them done, and to learn the scheme and the verbiage, those kinds of things. Once that process goes, do my best to help out in free agency and the college draft, to do my part that is expected of me. Once the different phases start to plug in and make sure I am ready to shoulder my load with the things I'm supposed to do. From a social standpoint, get my family moved out, get ready to go, that's always in the back of your mind, you miss your family, getting a place to live, getting settled. From the professional standpoint, free agency, the college draft, learning the scheme…those kind of things are at the top of my agenda right now.
Raiders.com: What are you most excited about this coming season?
Sanders: Just the opportunity to be a part and to help [defensive coordinator Jason Tarver] and [Coach Allen] and the guys I am responsible for and just be the best I can be…the best person and the best coach and try to represent all the traditions and things that Mr. Davis established here. Make sure that I can uphold those things and work as hard as I can. The goal is the Super Bowl. It takes everybody doing their very, very best, loving what you do, taking care of the little things and working at it. That's my goal.
Raiders.com: What does the Raider Nation need to know about Bob Sanders? Sanders: That I'm all in. I'm buying in, I'm going to do my best to be the best I can be in all areas. I love what I do, I'm going to work at it, I'm excited to be here. I'm very appreciative of the opportunity to be here, I know it's a blessing. I don't take that lightly. I don't. I'm very appreciative of the Raider Nation and what it stands for. I want to make sure I uphold my part to make sure I'm the best I can be.