Raiders name Bresnahan defensive coordinator


Raiders name Bresnahan defensive coordinator

March 7, 2011

ALAMEDA, Calif. (AP) The Oakland Raiders promoted assistant Chuck Bresnahan to defensive coordinator Monday, just weeks after bringing him back for a second stint with the organization.Oakland hired Bresnahan last month as a defensive assistant, but did not immediately specify his duties. Coach Hue Jackson said he had talked to some people outside the organization about the job, but stuck with a coach he had worked with before in Cincinnati."The fact that I've had the chance to be in defensive meetings with Chuck and watch him lead the defensive staff made it an easy decision to name him our defensive coordinator," Jackson said in a statement. "I am impressed with his passion, attention to detail and energy. This staff gives us the opportunity to have one of the top defenses in the NFL."The Raiders have made significant changes on their defensive staff since Jackson replaced Tom Cable as head coach in January. Hall of Famer Rod Woodson was brought on to coach the cornerbacks and Greg Biekert was promoted to linebackers coach.Both Woodson and Biekert played for Bresnahan during his stint as defensive coordinator of the Raiders from 2000-03. Oakland won the AFC West in his first three seasons and went to the Super Bowl following his third year in 2002."This is an incredible opportunity for me to come back to the Raiders and work again where we had so many great years," said Bresnahan, who was also a defensive backs coach in Oakland in 1998-99. "It's so exciting to be reunited with Hue Jackson because of the passion and energy that he brings. I'm also thrilled to be a part of this talented staff, many of whom I've shared previous success with."The Raiders have been aggressive so far this offseason about keeping some of their key potential free agents on the defensive side of the ball. Oakland gave cornerback Stanford Routt a three-year, 31.5 million deal, signed defensive tackle Richard Seymour to a 30 million, two-year contract, placed an 11,312,000 franchise tag on linebacker Kamerion Wimbley that has already been signed, and agreed to an 8 million, two-year contract with defensive tackle John Henderson.Oakland has two other key defensive free agents in Pro Bowl cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha and safety Michael Huff. Decisions on those two players won't be made until after a new collective bargaining agreement is reached.Regardless of what happens with Asomugha and Huff, the Raiders have some talented, young defenders whom they believe can be part of a stellar defense. Oakland's top two draft picks from last year, middle linebacker Rolando McClain and defensive end Lamarr Houston started right away as rookies and showed promise.Defensive tackle Tommy Kelly had his best season with seven sacks and Oakland has high hopes for safeties Tyvon Branch and Mike Mitchell, linebackers Trevor Scott and Travis Goethel, and defensive tackle Desmond Bryant.The primary task for Bresnahan will be improving a run defense that has been a problem for years for the Raiders. Oakland allowed the fourth-most yards rushing last season at 133.6 per game and has the worst run defense in the NFL since Bresnahan left before the 2004 season. Oakland has allowed 140.4 yards rushing per game over those seasons with a league-worst 139 touchdowns on the ground.Oakland did finish second in the league in pass defense and was tied for second with 47 sacks.During Bresnahan's tenure as defensive coordinator in Oakland, the Raiders ranked 17th in rushing defense (117.2 yards per game), tied for 14th in scoring defense (20.5 points per game), tied for 22nd in total defense (331.3 yards per game), tied for 17th in turnovers forced (117) and tied for 12th in sacks (152).Bresnahan spent last season as defensive coordinator for Florida in the UFL. He has also been defensive coordinator for three years with Cincinnati and coached as an assistant with Indianapolis and Cleveland.

Injury report: Murray rebounds well after return to Raiders practice

Injury report: Murray rebounds well after return to Raiders practice

ALAMEDA – Latavius Murray will spend this practice week testing himself to see if he can play after a debilitating bout of turf toe sidelined him the last two games.

He returned to action on a limited basis for Wednesday’s practice, and needed to respond and rebound well to continue his quest back to the playing field.

Early returns have been positive.

"I think he got a handful of plays out there (on Wednesday)," offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave said before Thursday’s practice. "I think he’s looking to get better each and every day and hopefully it’s good enough by the time the next game arrives."

Murray practiced a second straight day on Thursday, strengthening his case to play against the Jaguars. That’s extremely likely, barring a setback.

That would certainly strengthen a Raiders running game that has slumped the past few weeks.

“Latavius has his own skill set,” Musgrave said. “Had some explosive runs for us last year. We’ll look forward to getting him back at some point. Hopefully it’s this week.”

Right tackle Menelik Watson practiced for a second straight day and seems in line to re-claim his starting spot against Jacksonville.

Special teams player Brynden Trawick and offensive lineman Vadal Alexander remain out.

It’s possible that Perry Riley will start at middle linebacker over rookie Cory James on Sunday.

Check back for complete participation reports for the Raiders and Jaguars.

Norton: Raiders 'have the right people,' scheme; execution lacking

Norton: Raiders 'have the right people,' scheme; execution lacking

ALAMEDA – Ken Norton Jr.’s defense hasn’t been good all season. It’s only been a hindrance twice in six weeks, allowing the Raiders to brush it under the rug while compiling a 4-2 record.

The Raiders were exposed in Sunday’s 26-10 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs, leaving many to wonder whether this defense has fatal flaws.

The team’s defensive coordinator believes these problems can be fixed without a radical reconstruction.

Norton trusts his scheme. He believes in his personnel. He has faith there are better times ahead.

“It depends on what you believe in,” Norton said before Thursday’s practice. “If you believe in the players, you believe in the coaches and believe in yourself…

“Obviously you’d like the stats to be better. But we are 4-2, in a good place record-wise. The stats need to be better. We need to continue to understand who we are, what we are and get better at what we’re doing.”

“We have the right people. It’s just a matter of getting it done on game day.”

Coaches have cited eye violations (a.k.a misreads) as communication issues reasons why the Raiders give up chunk yards. Their 6.9 yards per play allowed is the league’s worst.

Edge rusher and team captain Khalil Mack said opponents are challenged the Raiders defensive discipline. Misdirection, bootlegs, wacky formations and the like have given the Raiders fits, and will continue to do so until they repair what’s broken.

“It’s all about discipline,” Norton said. “It’s all about angles. It’s all about leverage and tackling and the fundamentals of the game and getting down to the nitty gritty of playing smart and sharp. It’s the ultimate team game. …Everybody’s connected to a successful play. That play has to be successful consistently over a period of 70 plays. Everybody’s watching every single play, so you need consistency and have guys playing together. It will pick up.”

Communication is the latest buzz word attached to defensive miscues. Norton said it’s been corrected, just not consistently enough.

“It’s been fixed, but it will come up some times, at the worst times,” Norton said. “We are continually practicing. There are 16 games, and you need to be obsessed with improvement, and we are. Guys care a lot. They show up early and stay late. The communication, the playmaking, the coaching, all of it will continue to improve.

“Everybody wants to talk about communication but it’s guys consistently playing well over a duration of a game. You have to be sharp.”

The Raiders have used different coverage schemes at times this season and made two lineup changes – it’s also possible Perry Riley starts at middle linebacker this week – to no avail.

“You see things going wrong with missed tackles or balls going over our head, the little things and details need to get taken care of,” Norton said. “There aren’t a lot of differences between us and the good defenses, but they make a lot of plays they’re supposed to make.

“We have the right people. It’s just a matter of getting it done on game day.”