Jack Del Rio set for Oakland Raiders preseason debut


Aug 2, 2015; Napa, CA, USA; Oakland Raiders coach Jack Del Rio at training camp at the Napa Valley Marriott. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Following the failed Dennis Allen era, new Oakland Raiders head coach Jack Del Rio is bringing returned optimism to the franchise rebuild under general manager Reggie McKenzie as an experienced defensive mind who helped guide the Jacksonville Jaguars to playoff success in his last head coaching gig. Taking over a team that hasn’t won more than four games since 2011, Del Rio enters his preseason debut as head coach taking over a team that is harboring the optimism that a new head coach and an improved young core will be the answer to becoming a more competitive team starting in 2015.

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Del Rio, who coached the Broncos, has already set the bar high by claiming that he feels that his team should have the AFC West title as their goal in his first season. However even the new head coach knows it will be a tough task taking a 3-13 team from 2014 from worst to first in arguably the best division in the NFL. Still, the new coach is excited for his first time on the sidelines as the head coach of the Raiders. A local product from Hayward, California, Del Rio said in his press conference this week that there will be plenty of emotion involved during the preseason debut.

“Well, you know. A lot. A lot of emotion,” Del Rio told the media when asked about his thoughts of taking the field as the Raiders head coach for the first time. “A lot of emotions thinking about it. More importantly, I think, getting the team ready is where my focus is. I think at some point the reality of being there will set in but right now it’s all about getting the team ready to play well.”

Beyond the emotion of making his debut as a head coach with the new look Raiders team, the head coach has the goal of seeing a consistent performance on Friday night against the St. Louis Rams. The bench boss wanting to see the things worked on in training camp executed well at the Coliseum even if it is the preseason debut and some mistakes are bound to be made in the first of four August tune ups for the team.

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“Just want to be sharp. Just want to play crisp football, execute all the phases,” Del Rio said of the goals for Friday night. “We’re looking to put a good showing out there. We want to make sure we continue to prepare that way.”

“We’re looking, really, to flatten it out, to have a few less of the ups and downs. And have the ups and getting better and being consistent. So, we’re really trying to flatten out our performance and make sure it just stays at a high level and that we remain consistent in what we’re doing.”

The Raiders have a long way to go before Week 1, but as a young team with plenty of new faces there is work to be done starting on Friday if this squad wants to kick off the regular season with the quick start it needs to build belief that this rebuilding team can compete for real in the AFC West. A preseason performance against a Rams team that beat the tar off of the Raiders late in the 2014 season would be a good way to do that with a new coaching staff trying to turn around the franchise. Friday night is the unofficial beginning of a new era in Oakland, and the Bay Area native who is now the team’s latest head coach couldn’t be more excited to get things going.