Head Coach Jack Del Rio speaks at the NFL Scouting Combine
After Jack Del Rio was hired as the head coach of the Oakland Raiders on January 15, he set to work forming his staff of assistant coaches.
Just under a month later, on February 9, the final additions to the staff were announced, and in the weeks since, one word constantly recurs when Coach Del Rio and his staff speak – teaching.
This staff of coaches wants to teach. They are teachers first, then coaches, and they want to mold the young core of Raiders players into a consistently-competitive team.
"I think we've assembled a strong staff," said Coach Del Rio. "A staff of really good teachers, a staff of really good people, and I feel good about where we've ended up."
With a combined 165 years coaching in the NFL, seven Super Bowl wins and 102 professional playing years, Coach Del Rio and his staff more than possess the credentials to guide the Raiders forward through the AFC West.
"I think at the end of the day, coaching is teaching," assistant defensive backs coach Rod Woodson said. "Whatever I learned as a player, I'll give that back to the players. It's about giving players tools, when they step on the field they can apply those tools and be successful."
Newly-hired Defensive Coordinator Ken Norton, Jr. spent 13 seasons as an NFL linebacker, winning three Super Bowls before joining the coaching ranks, and reiterated the importance of being a teacher to his players.
"We have to be really great teachers," Coach Norton said. "We have to go from being great players to great teachers, and that takes time, energy, effort, knowledge, and that's what I'm banking on, becoming really great teachers."
Coach Norton's goals align with Coach Del Rio's vision for the team.
"He [Coach Del Rio] believes in great teachers," Coach Norton said. "He believes in defense and he believes in his vision. He has a really powerful, strong vision for what we're going to do here. It's about us, his coaching staff, to spread his message."
The teaching aspect that has now become synonymous with Coach Del Rio's staff will also take shape in Offensive Coordinator Bill Musgrave's offense.
The 2015 campaign marks Coach Musgrave's 17th season as an NFL coach after a six-year playing career, and while a competitive spirit still keeps him in football, it is the teaching aspect that now brings him the most fulfillment.
"Most of us, if not all of us, are very competitive. While we enjoy being a coach and the leadership and the inspiration and the designing of plays, we really enjoy the teaching component most," Coach Musgrave said.
As the offseason continues and the team inches closer to the beginning the offseason program, Coach Del Rio and his staff go forward with one vision, a vision of which he hopes will result in victories for the Silver and Black.
"The staff I've brought in – every guy that came in is part of our staff," Coach Del Rio told SiriusXM at the NFL Scouting Combine, "they're all excited to be in Oakland with me, helping the Raiders win. They're fired up about the opportunity. It's not about anything more than that. It's about collecting a staff of teachers that share a common vision."