While Raiders owner Mark Davis was lamenting Oakland stadium progress on Tuesday at the NFL owners meetings in San Francisco, his football team was taking shape across the bay.
News, however, travels fast these days. Head coach Jack Del Rio was asked about stadium issues shortly after the team’s first OTA session. Only Derek Carr injury talk – yep, it’s minor – and a Sio Moore update separated him from the fun. Then talk meandered over to politics, an NFL head coach’s favorite topic.
Del Rio says stadium noise is not a distraction. The 2015 Raiders know they’re playing in Oakland this season. That, and health and winning, of course, is all that matters to this group.
“We’re not naïve to know that there are things going on but, really, our focus is just on trying to be as good a football team as we can be,” Del Rio said. “Inside these walls, it’s all about football, about competing, about learning the system and challenging each other and building a brotherhood, beginning to get that chemistry and that bond and all of that.
“I think those business issues are not issues that we’re going to have a say in anyhow, so really it’s best for us to focus on the job that we have, and that is to be as good on Sundays as we can and make sure that we’re ready to put forth great effort every day to do that.”
That’s the primary focus. Del Rio knows his job is focused on football. Stadium issue fall to others in the front office.
But, in the long term, Del Rio wants to stay in the East Bay. The Hayward native trusts Davis when the owner says he wants to stay in Oakland, too.
The Raiders are insulated from the stadium talk, but they aren’t deaf to it.
“I’ll talk about it from time to time,” Del Rio said. “They’ve seen my comments from time to time. I’ve not made it major issue because I focus and talk about the things that are important. I’m talking about the things that are important for us to understand, and that’s playing football, that’s practicing football, that’s building the chemistry and the camaraderie and the accountability that we have for each other, and things like that. That’s really where our focus is.”