Special Teams Coordinator Brad Seely joined the Raiders after spending the previous four seasons across the Bay with the San Francisco 49ers. The 27-year NFL coaching veteran led one of the top special teams units while with the 49ers. That unit tied for most field goals converted, second in net punting average, second in gross punting average and seventh in opponent punt return average.
Coach Seely will coach a veteran core of specialists on the Raiders and spoke with the media for the first time about his offseason experiences since joining the Silver and Black.
Build from Core Specialists
The Raiders core specialists – Sebastian Janikowski, Jon Condo and Marquette King – have over 20 years combined in Silver and Black.
"I think it always starts with the specialists. You start with the kicker. You start with your punter. You start with your long snapper. Those guys are constants on your team and then you build from there, and you find out what they do best and then you – what we always say is, 'You give us the best – what you have – and then we'll get the other 10 guys to adjust to you.'"
Working on the Other Side of the Bay
"It's always exciting when you're starting a new program, I think. You get a chance to hopefully change a culture. That's really been fun up to this point, because I really enjoy our staff. I think we have an excellent coaching staff. The head coach has been fantastic. We're just trying to kind of create his vision."
Marquette is a Character**
Punter Marquette King has some serious personality. Coach Seely enjoys coaching the punter and watching his eagerness to improve.
"Marquette is an interesting character, that's a great way to put it. He makes it fun. He makes it really fun every day, because you never know what to expect out of Marquette. He's a young guy that really enjoys his job. He really enjoys kicking. He wants to be good, so that's half the battle, and he comes to work every day and he comes to work. He wants to get better at his craft, so it's been enjoyable coaching him and he's got a lot of raw talent. We've just got to make sure we harness that in the right way."
Adapting to New Extra Point Rule
"I think anytime you make a rule that makes it harder, it always favors the guys that have more talent. I think we have really talented kickers, so I don't think that rule, maybe, will be as big a deal to us as it might be to somebody else in the sense that our guys are pretty good at 33-yard kicks, but the weather is always going to be an element that could change that, and how the game is going."
It rained in Alameda throughout practice for the first time this offseason. While not as much fun for those of us watching, the weather allowed the players to work through different field conditions.
"You've got to take advantage of those opportunities and then when you talk to the guys about, 'OK, we're playing on a little bit softer field, a slicker field, you've got to cut your stride length down. You can't be maybe running full speed all the time, you've got to break down a little sooner.' It's really a good thing for us, because at some point in every season, you're going to play in that kind of weather."
Sebastian Janikowski is a Great Vet
Heading into his 16th season, you might expect Sebastian Janikowski to be fully set in his ways, but Coach Seely is finding the veteran to be easy to coach and wonderful to work with.
"I really like Sebastian and he's been great since I've been here. He's really open. A lot of times, you get older guys that are kind of set in their ways and Sebastian has been really good and open about some of the things that I've seen watching him recently and down the years. And I've known him from a distance…The guy is so talented and he's got such a leg, and he's been good for a long time. It's exciting to work with a guy like that."
Giorgio Tavecchio is a Real Pro
Despite sitting behind one of the best kickers in the NFL, kicker Giorgio Tavecchio continues to go about his business and showcase his talents.
"Giorgio has been really good. We were talking about him yesterday in our staff meeting. I really believe this guy is an NFL kicker. He just happens to be on another team with an NFL kicker. So we're going to give him every opportunity to show that in the preseason. It's nice to have two guys that are quality players like that. That's what Giorgio is and he's been a real pro. He's worked hard. Yesterday, he did most all the field goal kicking and he was outstanding."