Coaches Corner: The best quotes from Raiders minicamp week

Several coaches met with the media this week and they made some intruiging comments.
Kansas City Chiefs v Las Vegas Raiders
Kansas City Chiefs v Las Vegas Raiders / Jeff Bottari/GettyImages
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Rob Ryan’s Masterclass

Easily the best press conference of the week was Rob Ryan’s 16-minute performance on Wednesday. Everyone saw his comments about Maxx Crosby being the best player he’s seen in his thirty-year NFL coaching career, but Ryan made a handful of other interesting and exciting proclamations as well.

He compared the duo of Maxx and Christian Wilkins to the elite pairing of Hall of Famer Warren Sapp and Derrick Burgess, he called Tre’von Moehrig the most talented safety in the league, and he said that he hopes to be a Raiders coach for another decade until the end of his career. However, none of these were his most interesting comments of the session. The first unique observation he made involved Marcus Epps.

“Epps has been great for (Patrick Graham), how’d that Philadelphia defense look without Epps? Oops! When you take a guy like that ... away from a defense, it’s a hard thing,” Ryan said. 

“Epps is so much better than people think ... (Philadelphia) blamed eight coordinators they had during the year but the simple fact is when you take a great player out of the middle of your defense, it hurts.”

These comments came as a surprise to me because while I felt that Marcus Epps was a very good safety for us last season, he has never really been talked about much as a great safety in league circles. To most Raider fans, he does not even carry the title of the team’s best safety. But when somebody like Rob Ryan speaks, I listen.

He acknowledged that Epps’ stats did not jump off the page last year but was quick to point out that those numbers do not correlate to impact. I am starting to see that his impression on the team is both physical and emotional; he is a baller in his own right but one of his best assets is his ability to lead and bring the best out in others. Raider Nation should be even more confident in this defense after hearing these comments. 

Ryan continued his press conference and came out strongly in support of Pierce, and predicted that another member of the staff was going to be an NFL head coach soon as well:

“(Patrick Graham) is gonna be an unbelievable head coach in this league. The simple fact is we stole the best one in AP. Period. But this guy here is No. 2.”

Ryan can’t say enough positive things about both Pierce and Graham throughout this press conference, and it is really refreshing to hear. Position coaches get swept up in the performances of their individual rooms and feel a bit more pressure than a senior defensive assistant would. However, given the sheer amount of coaches that Ryan has been surrounded by in his nearly 40 years of coaching football, it is nice to know that he feels so encouraged by the two most influential coaches on the staff. 

Obviously, it would hurt the Raider defense tremendously if Graham left this offseason. He was already in the running for the Seahawks job during this coaching cycle, and if he continues to put a great product on the field, his days as a Raiders defensive coordinator are numbered. As difficult as that is to cope with, it is the Raider Way to encourage the growth and progression of the people in the program and to care about them after they leave the Silver and Black. Once a Raider, always a Raider.