Of all the additions the Raiders have made leading up to the start of the 2015 season, none will be on display more next week than those of Head Strength and Conditioning Coach Joe Gomes and his staff.
The Silver and Black officially kick off the 2015 offseason program Tuesday, with Gomes and his fellow strength coaches getting their first chance to meet and begin work with the current Raiders roster.
"We're really here to help support the decision making process of the athlete."
"We're really here to help support the decision making process of the athlete," said Gomes. "The coaches will help develop their level of skill; our responsibility is to help make sure they can display that skill at the highest level on game day, and that's it."
|Coach Gomes and his staff. Photo by Tony Gonzales|
Gomes, originally from London, England, came to the United States 10 years ago and began working for a company called Athlete's Performance (currently EXOS), that specialized in training players for the NFL Scouting Combine.
During his tenure the company decided to expand, and as a result, Gomes ran the NFL Combine preparation program from 2007-10, training 13 top 10 picks as well as four consecutive number one selections.
"We had a very-successful tenure during that time," Gomes said of his time with Athlete's Performance. "I was honored to support some great athletes that got drafted in very high positions. I built a ton of great relationships with guys that are in the league and some of them are kind of coming full circle right now."
After being recommended to newly-hired Head Coach Jack Del Rio by a former colleague, Gomes and his staff arrived in Oakland and began looking forward to integrating their cutting-edge training program.
"It may be innovative for some populations and certain people, but I would say what we're trying to create here is an individual approach in a team environment, to make sure that for what one athlete needs depending on their biological age, depending on their training age and training history, depending on how many years they've been in the league, there are so many variables that go into making sure they can perform optimally," said Gomes.
Gomes also believes that the program he and his staff have devised not only benefits the players in the short term, but will allow them to extend their careers in Silver and Black.
"It's not what it takes to be a good athlete once, it's what it takes to be a great athlete for their entire career," Gomes said. "This is what we're looking for, to build a system around the player that is going to help them perform not just for the game, not just for the season, but for their entire career here within the Raider organization. That's our responsibility."
It's not what it takes to be a good athlete once, it's what it takes to be a great athlete for their entire career."
He continued on to talk about how the strength and conditioning program will extend outside the walls of the team's facility in Alameda. "We're really talking about a high-performance lifestyle for the athlete, and so from the moment they wake up, to the moment they go to sleep, what are things they can do to help their performance?"
The addition of Gomes and his staff of Darryl Eto, Kevin Kijowski and Wesley Miller aren't the only new additions to the Raiders strength program, as the Raiders facility is also undergoing drastic changes leading up to the beginning of the 2015 campaign.
"There's a number of things that we want to capitalize on, and that is making sure we can maximize the use of space, maximize training efficiency, but it's really important to us that we maximize the player experience as well," Gomes said. "We want to make sure that we have fun while we do it, creating a strong and positive training environment and maximizing the athlete experience is probably the most important thing we intend to do."
"...creating a strong and positive training environment and maximizing the athlete experience is probably the most important thing we intend to do.
This season will be the first at the NFL level for Gomes and the strength staff, and while there are sure to be challenges, as there are with any new job, the group of coaches is looking forward to beginning the next chapter of their careers in Silver and Black.
"From the top down, from [Head Coach] Jack [Del Rio] and the front office here and the organization, it's such a great energy through the entire building now," Gomes said. "For us to be in this training environment is inspiring, and we're thankful every day for it."
"From the top down, from [Head Coach] Jack [Del Rio] and the front office here and the organization, it's such a great energy through the entire building now."
The Raiders offseason program officially begins April 7, with Organized Team Activities kicking off May 19.