Oakland Raiders assistant head coach John Pagano and offensive line coach Mike Tice met with the media after Wednesday’s training camp practice in Napa.
Two Oakland Raiders coaches met with the media after practice on Wednesday: assistant head coach John Pagano and offensive line coach Mike Tice. While neither really wanted to get on the podium today, they both offered great insight on how things are going in Raiders camp.
Pagano went first to answer questions about the defense and especially the defensive backfield. He pointed out that he wanted to “try to keep it simple so that [the secondary] could play fast” in the first preseason game. In a way, it worked, as the Raiders secondary only gave up one big play all game. The problem was on third down, as Oakland could get the Arizona Cardinals off the field.
To Pagano, communication is key with this defense. He emphasized the importance of “Raider Talk”, wanting all players of the defense to communicate using the same football terminology as quickly as they can.
Pagano likes what he has in safety Reggie Nelson as somewhat of an on-field teacher for this secondary. This is the area of great emphasis for Pagano. He was largely brought to the Bay Area to get this Raiders defensive backfield sorted out.
A player that’s been really great in Raiders camp is seventh-round rookie safety out of Washington State in Shalom Luani. Pagano would say that you “never want to over-coach a guy with great instincts” like Luani. His tackling and hands need to get better, but he tends to put himself in the right position to make a play naturally.
Lastly, Pagano would harp on that while veteran cornerback Sean Smith is improving in practice, he would like to see him put it all together in the next game against the Los Angeles Rams on Saturday. Smith has had a tough tenure in Oakland thus far to say the least.
Tice would take to the podium next and got to the point about his offensive line very quickly. When asked how he’s handing the Donald Penn holdout up front, his response was actually profound.
Tice is treating Penn’s holdout as if the Raiders’ offensive line is dealing with an injury. The next man up mentality is very much on his mind citing, it’s “always good to be developing depth….I can’t sit here and wait for [Penn] to come back.”
“I have to get us ready to go out and beat Tennessee.” – Raiders OL coach Mike Tice
His focus is a simple one on the offensive line: “I have to get us ready to go out and beat Tennessee.”
To hear Tice is fixated on the first regular season game against the Tennessee Titans is great. This will be a huge first game for the Raiders and probably a nationally televised one with Tony Romo making his CBS debut in the booth.
To wrap up Tice’s press conference, he spent a few minutes on the excellent camp offensive guard Ian Silberman is having for the Raiders. He believes Silberman is the best storyline of camp so far for the Raiders.
Here is a guy that didn’t play center before that was asked to play the entire game in the middle of the offensive line on Saturday. He did a great job while backup center Jon Feliciano was working his way back from injury. Keep in mind that Pro Bowl center Rodney Hudson didn’t play versus Arizona.
Tice is very proud of the work Silberman has put in, feeling that he has his best shot to make the team as the No. 3 center. Oakland makes it a point to carry three centers. Right now, that would be Hudson, Feliciano and Silberman.