Raiders' Bresnahan: 'My expectations are up'

Raiders' Bresnahan: 'My expectations are up'
August 10, 2011, 3:44 pm
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Aug. 10, 2011GUTIERREZ ARCHIVE
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Paul Gutierrez
CSNCalifornia.comNAPA --To quote The Who: Meet the new boss. Same as the old boss.And to borrow from that song's title, will anyone get fooled again?Chuck Bresnahan left Oakland under less-than-ideal conditions following the 2003 season, canned as defensive coordinator after six years on staff with the Raiders ranked 30th in total defense . He resurfaced in Cincinnati, where he was the Bengals' DC for three years before bottoming out and finding himself in the UFL.In 2005, he recounted his time working for Al Davis to the San Francisco Chronicle."Al was a pain in the (rump)," Bresnahan said at the time, "but if you took it the right way, there was occasionally, here and there, some great ideas, great thoughts. But you had to know how to handle it in a respectful way, and say 'Yes' to some things you thought might help. But then to be able to say 'No' to some things."
So how, again, is it that Bresnahan was green-lighted by Davis to return to the Raiders as D.C. under new coach Hue Jackson? In his first meeting with the media since his hiring (re-hiring?) in February, Bresnahan broached the topic Tuesday in a wide-ranging interview that touched on working for Jon Gruden, to the heartbreak of losing a Super Bowl to the brand of defense fans can expect this season. Following then, a Q&A with Bresnahan 2.0:Question: How have you changed as a coach?Answer: If you look at players who have matured, take a guy like Charles Woodson, he's moved to different places and matured as a player. Look at Rod Woodson. He's a Hall of Famer who has come into coaching. Everyone matures as they go along. Sure, I've matured as a coach, as a coordinator, as the psychologist who has to deal with these guys in the meeting rooms. But I'm not going to change anything about me. I'm going to run it the same way I did before. It may have different twists and tweaks, but I know how to work within the organization. I know the staples of the Raiders organization, and I believe in them. I'm glad to be back with another opportunity to do this.Q: Are you surprised to be back?A: I'll just put it at this: Nobody really knows how it ended here. In a way, yes, but (in another), absolutely no. I'm excited to be back. I've wanted to do this for about three years to be honest with you.Q: To be back here?A: To be back here, yes. This is a great opportunity. And what better place to come back to than the place you kind of let one slip away in 2002? You can come back and shoot for another year of doing it right and to win another one for this organization and our owner.Q: Is having 10 of 11 starters returning on defense an advantage?A: That's a plus. It always is a plus, but when you come in and have different terminology and little things that we'll do different than they did last year, you're starting from scratch, anyway. Now, take that and don't have an offseason, and you've magnified that. To me, everybody has a clean slate. I put an empty grease board up in front of the room. That's what everyone is coming in with. Everyone has to prove themselves, including us as coaches. I'm excited about it. It's a clean slate and we're starting from scratch.Q: Compare the the NFL to the UFLA: It's great. Don''t get me wrong. I loved my opportunity there, because they were't there on big contracts; they weren't there for the money. It was the opportunity to get to this level. From a coaching standpoint, it was no different. I was down. I was out. It was a chance to come back and earn my right to back into the league. That's the way you've got to look at it. This is a fickle business, and you're only as good as your last performance. It was a great two years for me, but I'm anxious to get back and get going.Q: What should we expect from your defense?A: Ideally, Coach (Hue) Jackson has put out a vision of what is a Raider. It's physical, relentless, intelligent, poised under pressure, accountable and gets the job done. That's our phrase for us. That's what I want to see in our defense. Every one of those traits right there. That answers the question right there.Q: How good is your defensive line?A: We'll find out Thursday night, won't we?Q: What about right now?A: As of right now, my expectations are up here. They've set the bar high. OK, they've set the bar high. Now, we're going to use the little dots in the road map that we have set, but I'm excited to see these guys play. I'm excited to see the whole depth of the defense. I mean, we've got some talent. We've got to see how we pick up the changes in the scheme, the changes in the terminology and see what happens Thursday night. It's easy when you're going against each other and get used to each other. It's totally different when it's a whole new set of routes, a whole new blocking scheme in the run game. You've got to really sit back and see where you're at in understanding your defense.Q: Are you reminded of the last time you were here, then?A: It does, but I'll tell you what, and you guys know Jon (Gruden) was full of energy and the whole thing. Hue has a vision. His vision is totally different than what Jon's was. Hue is Hue. That's one thing we've told our players -- when you come out here, this is Hue Jackson's practice. This is how he envisions the Raider organization. We're 100 percent behind him.Q: Have you seen Rolando McClain do things as a leader?A: I've told Rolando, he' going to say what I think. That's how close we're going to be. And Greg Biekert will be involved with that, as well. We've got a series of leaders that we've picked out on defense and that's within our group, our unit. We keep that within our unit. They're the ones that are taking this defense where it needs to go. It's not just put on one man's shoulders. Rolando is our Mike, he's our signal caller, but we got a series of veterans in there that we're putting the whole responsibility of getting however many guys we have on the final roster following in and pulling that rope in the right direction.Q: Who is standing out on defense and how versatile can the defense be?A: I don't want to be evasive, but having not seen a preseason game yet, against somebody different, I really don't want to say anything yet. I want to sit back and see how we react to something different before I make any evaluations on who stands out.Q: Why was the defense so inconsistent against the run last year and give up so many passing touchdowns?A: I was going to say, there's one word that I'll say because this is not last year, this is this year. I would say, we have to be more consistent. Plain and simple. And eliminate the explosive plays. Those two things, and we'll be a much better defense.Q: When you were first hired your title was simply "defensive coach," but did you know you'd be the coordinator?A: (Laughs) If I tell you, I got to kill you. No, the only opportunity to come back at this pointu2026I told you, the UFL was great for me. I had the itch to get back into the league. There is a burning desire inside to get back to the Super Bowl and win it, OK? It is no fun to go there and lose it. It just eats at you. When you take mine and my dad's (Tom) four losses in a row with the (Buffalo) Bills, the family gets sick at the end of the year. OK, so we got to get back and get to it. It didn't matter what position. I came and I'm blessed to be in the position that I'm in.Q: Is there still a heavy reliance on man-to-man coverage?A: I plead the Fifth (laughs). I won't say. You'll see. You'll be excited when you see. You'll be excited.Q: Do you have the personnel to play different coverages?A: Any team has the personnel to play different coverages as long as you teach them. You got to be willing to live within your, you can't have a philosophy that goes like this (moves hand up, then down). You got to have a steady philosophy. Now, can there be a little bit above that line and a little bit below that line? Yes. But if you start going up and down too much, they'll never understand what you're trying to get done. But these guys are professionals. They can handle it.Q: How important was it to re-sign Kamerion Wimbley?A: Coach (Al) Davis did a great job in re-signing our free agents that we needed to get back. Did we lose a couple guys? Yeah, but that's part of football and you got to move on. But I'm very happy that we have Kamerion back, we've got Michael Huff back, we got Richard (Seymour) signed. Those signings are all big now. They're really big because they do bring back the nucleus of the defense back, and it's much easier for us to have something to work with that's already been established.Q: What was the key in getting your past run defenses to succeed?A: It starts with an attitude. It starts right at the beginning of the year. Most teams have goals or objectives. We do it a little bit differently here, but along the line, within those series of objectives and goals, stopping the run is very high. Again, it's an attitude that we build from the beginning. I'm excited to see us defend the run.Q: Does having former players like Rod Woodson and Greg Biekert as coaches help you?A: You know what it is? They know how I think. So, there's a lot of things that they can do without me even getting into explanation. On top of that, they're two players that I really respected as players. They were professional, they knew the game and they were able to come to the sideline and coach me. It would make it easier for me to make adjustments. I look at it the same way as a coaching staff. It's all intertwined now. We've got a very good staff and we've jelled very well together. Itu2019s not just Greg and Rod. Mike Waufle is the best defensive line coach in the league. I'm just telling you that right now. I'll just come out and say it. I got Kevin Ross, who's fiery in the back end, and he complements Rod's quiet, intelligent approach. Then we got Ricky Hunley came in, and heu2019s assisting Greg Biekert. Again, two veteran players that have played in the league and now they're into coaching. So, all that mix really helps us out. So, I'm excited. I'm excited about the staff and excited to get going and see how we play Thursday night.