Heading into his sophomore season 2013 third round pick Sio Moore is coming off a strong rookie year where he earned a regular spot near the top of the Raiders depth chart at outside linebacker. Looking forward to some new responsibility and more playing time as a sophomore, Moore’s presence with the Raiders as both a productive player and a fan favorite had him on the podium following the team’s second media available OTA session.
Moore discussed learning from new veteran pass rusher in LaMarr Woodley and Justin Tuck, a potential move to “Will” linebacker, what he sees in first round rookie Khalil Mack so far, and the Raiders expectations with more proven veterans in the fold in 2014.
Following is the transcript of Moore’s press conference from the Raiders official website:
Q: What’s the difference between year one and year two?
“The first thing I would say is really the experience. Actually seeing it for second time over now. Being a part of meetings and learning things for the second time over. It allows me to get a greater and bigger understanding for understanding how much I need to prepare throughout this entire time. I would say that’s been the biggest part of it, just understanding everything and taking it to the next step.”
Q: What have you learned from guys like LaMarr Woodley and Justin Tuck?
“I think I’ve learned more off the field than on, truthfully. It’s really just the things you find that are important. The things that you value and you take care of, and really how you personally go about your responsibilities, day in and day out. If you take care of off the field, if you’re a football player you’re not worried about playing football because football’s not the hard part. If you can manage and maintain everything else around that, football becomes so simple. You can only turn to be great, not good at it. That’s what I try to take from those guys, all the little things they do, the little details, that they hone in on and that make them who they are.”
Q: Is it stuff that they tell you or is it just watching them?
“Both. Really both, because you see the detail that they take in their craft, with themselves and how they approach it when they get out there on the field. That’s what I try to do every day.”
Q: What do you think about the potential of this pass rush?
“The thing about it is, you don’t know literally where it could come from at this point. We have guys that are capable of making a play whether it be blitzing, whether it be in coverage, whether it be in anything. That’s a good part about it. We have guys that are successful at doing that. It’s just a work in progress to continue to make sure we’re doing that and have that ready by week one.”
Q: What have been your observations of Khalil Mack and have you tried to give him the benefit of your one of year of experience?
“We’re all a big time. As a linebacker unit, it’s very personal. You take care of your linebackers and I try to give him as many tips and pointers as I can. Like I said, I was in the same position he was last year. The thing is, he’s a good athlete and he’s a good kid. He’s a smart dude and we’re all in here working together and the more people that you can get on board, the more things we can do.”
Q: Have you gotten a sense of the explosiveness he has?
“You can see people’s raw ability and talent, but the thing is, right now it’s more about learning. When we put the pads on, then we can do that. The biggest part is really about learning and really honing in our craft and understanding the playbook, and he’s doing a good job as well as everybody, so we just have to keep it up.”
Q: How comfortable are you if you have to switch over to the weak side?
“I did this in college. I started out as a WILL, and then moved to SAM, where the SAM was an outside linebacker and a down free safety. Moving form SAM to WILL here again, it’s nothing that’s abnormal. I just try to use my versatility and continue to show our coaches and my teammates that I can do anything on the field and I want to continue to work at it, no matter what position.”
Q: What do you see in the tight ends, and could you see one of those guys coming up with a big year?
Yeah. The thing is, we have so many good tight ends. We have Nick Kasa, we have Mychal Rivera, we have Ausberry, Brian Leonhardt. We have guys that are really multiple. David is big, he’s fast, he runs like a wide receiver and he can block. Mychal is the same way. People don’t think he’s strong, but he’s actually really strong and he’s crisp on his route running and he’s very precise. You have to respect these guys when they go out there and they’re only going to make us better at being able to lock down other tight ends.”
Q: What do you think of Matt Schaub so far being a leader?
“Matt is a cool guy. I talk to him a lot. I really enjoy working with him because he makes me work hard at linebacker. It’s just fun to be around guys who are that competitive on the other side of the ball, and they’re working as hard as you are, if not more to create the right environment. As a defensive guy, you respect it. I try to learn from him too. I was asking him questions today, about what goes through an offensive players mind and what I’m trying to do on defense so I can get a better understanding of what I need to do. He’s a great teacher. He’s a great leader and I’m enjoying him.”
Q: With the addition of several veterans, are the practices more focused and more purposeful?
“One hundred percent. The thing about it is, you have a lot of great players, and it doesn’t matter where you are, when there are a lot of great people around you, you have to up your scale and up your what you’re able to do and what you want to do, and you want to be great as well. The level of expectation, the bar is high and you have to live up to that. There’s no expectation, but that.”
Q: Have they told you that they’d like to see you at that WILL spot or are you going to be going back and forth?
“Right now, I’m just doing what I’m asked to do, really play the WILL spot right now. Learning. Really taking it day by day because the good thing I have on my side now is knowing that I was able to play SAM last year and if I learn how to play WILL this year, I can play any of them. Right now, my goal is not to be just a linebacker, it’s to be the best linebacker there is. The more that I can do, the more that I can learn and the faster that I can learn it and the faster that I can produce and be a part of something, then we have a situation.”
Q: After going through one season in the NFL, how different is it than you thought it would be?
“The biggest thing that I learned is that as good as I want to be at football is as good as I’m going to be at life. It’s as responsible as I’m going to be off the field. As good as I’m going to take care of my home that I live in. As good as I’m going to treat my family, my teammates, the people around me, as much time and effort as I put into myself, it’s going to correlate to how I do on the field. If I take the time out to make sure I’m on top of everything in a detailed manner, when it comes to football, I’m going to approach football in a detailed manner and do the same thing, because it’s going to become a cycle. It’s going to become what’s the norm. When you look at great players, that’s how they stay great for so long, because of the consistency to be able to do the right things for an extended period of time.”
Q: When guys like Tuck and Woodley come in, do you approach them or do you wait for them to come and seek you out?
“I bother those guys before they get a chance. Every opportunity, I’m doing the hand slap drill with Tuck. I’m doing one of with Antonio Smith. I’m talking to Wood [LaMarr Woodley] about his rushes. I’m talking to C-Wood, it doesn’t matter if it’s about on the field, off the field. I even go to Nick Roach’s house. Nick has been one of those guys for me that’s been a big brother and like a father figure type role. I’ve never had a father and to hear a lot of the wisdom and guidance that he provides as a friend, and as somebody who I really look like as family and a brother, it means a lot to you. You carry it in a certain way, because now you see that there are people who are like family. I’ve known Tyvon [Branch] since before here, when we were in college together. To have those guys around that really have your back and support you, it’s not just about football, it’s about family. When you go out there and you’re playing the game, and you know that the guy next to you is your brother and that he would do anything and give the shirt off his back, that adds something to what you want to do out there. It makes you want to do everything for those other than yourself, because there’s no payout for you.”