Aug 14, 2015; Oakland, CA, USA; Oakland Raiders coach Jack Del Rio during the preseason NFL game against the St. Louis Rams at O.co Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
Norton Jr., Del Rio Defensive Scheme Dominates in Debut
Of the Oakland Raiders coaching hires, the hire of head coach Jack Del Rio and subsequently Ken Norton Jr. to be his defensive coordinator were instant upgrades to help the team’s chances of improving a promising defense from the 2014 season. Two former players with strong defensive resumes as coaches coming together to make the mosty of a defense that already had plenty of its pieces in place to work with.
On Friday night you could see why there was excitement to have Del Rio and Norton Jr. building the defense as the Rams were completely manhandled by the Oakland defensive units. An opening drive field goal all that was conceded by the Raiders through the four quarters that featured plenty of strong plays from a long list of defense players.
Despite there being a rotating set of players on the field, there was a constant promising theme as the Raiders consistently brought the pass rush to the Rams throughout the game. Players like Shelby Harris, Ricky Lumpkin and even Josh Shirley getting on in the quarterback along with the expected suspect in Khalil Mack who had a dominant first quarter going up against Greg Robinson when the first teamers were on the field.
That pass rush is going to be a key to preventing an unproven group of cornerbacks from getting exposed as the Raiders will want a pass rush that will help them develop a young group of corners without exposing themselves to the passing attack throughout the regular season. Right now it looks like there is reason to believe the Raiders can be successful at doing just that as Del Rio and Norton Jr. appear to have this defense ready to be nasty and tough from Day One in Oakland this season.
Next: Game Notes: McGloin Continues to Build Preseason Legend