ALAMEDA – Raiders players haven’t had much interaction with their new coaching staff. NFL rules prevent detailed, football-related discussions and demands early in the offseason, but players and their new leaders have had some productive, get-to-know you exchanges.
The coaching staff as a whole, and head coach Jack Del Rio in particular has made a solid first impression.
Quarterback Derek Carr believes Del Rio’s resume is plain to see.
“The first thing I thought about Jack was, ‘He’s played before,’” Carr said in a Monday afternoon press conference. “That’s true of nearly our whole coaching staff. I think our staff would win a lot of fights.”
That’s a funny way of saying the Raiders coaching staff is relatively young and physically imposing long after their playing days are over. Del Rio’s staff has significant NFL experience, with a combined 102 years in the league. The staff has four former All-Pro players and a Hall of Famer in assistant secondary coach Rod Woodson.
Nine different coaches have played in the NFL, which brings instant credibility to young players trying to identify with their new leaders.
It will be easy for standout linebacker Khalil Mack to bond with defensive coordinator Ken Norton Jr. and Del Rio, excellent linebackers in their own right.
“That’s the part of this offseason that I’m looking forward to the most. I can’t wait to work with coaches like that, guys who have played,” Mack said. "You can tell that Jack really cares. He’s a laid back guy, but you can tell he turns into a linebacker when things get going. He’s got that fire. I’m excited to play for him.”
In addition to a playing background and having an advantage in an NFL coaching staff royal rumble, something else stood out to Carr.
“The second thing I could tell was that Jack really cares about this organization,” Carr said. “That was my takeaway. You could tell that he cared about the game, about me as a person and about the Raiders winning Super Bowls. This wasn’t just a job he jumped at. He really wants to be here.”