INDIANAPOLIS -- Dan Quinn knows Ken Norton Jr. the football coach as well as anyone. The two were Seattle Seahawks position coaches in 2010, and Quinn was the team’s defensive coordinator the last two seasons while Norton remained linebackers coach.
Quinn was University of Florida defensive coordinator during the two-year gap and noticed tremendous growth in Norton upon his return. The two split again this offseason for well-deserved promotions. Quinn is now Atlanta Falcons head coach and Norton is the new Raiders defensive coordinator.
“The way Ken has taken off as a coach has been really cool to see,” Quinn said Thursday at the NFL scouting combine. “I can’t wait to see what he can do working with an entire defense.”
This will be Norton’s first season as a defensive coordinator at any level, and he’s expected to call plays while working under longtime friend and Raiders head coach Jack Del Rio.
Del Rio believes that Norton is ready for additional responsibility. Quinn completely agrees, and said Norton has been preparing well for this opportunity.
“When you’re getting ready for that next step in your career, you're running through things in your mind as if you were the coordinator,” Quinn said. “You play out scenarios in your mind. Those are topics that Ken and I talked about quite a bit. Is he ready to call plays and be a coordinator? Absolutely.”
Quinn believes Norton will thrive in Oakland and is well deserving of a promotion.
“I am so fired up for him,” Quinn said. “Ken is one of the most relentless competitors that you’ll find. He has a special way of connecting with players and drawing out all of the attitude. If you had to train someone on having toughness and a winning mindset, you’d tell that person to be like him.
“The Raiders have a good guy in Ken. He’s going to do a fantastic job.”