Raiders name Bresnahan defensive coordinator

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Raiders name Bresnahan defensive coordinator

March 7, 2011
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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.

McKenzie, Del Rio ‘unified since Day 1,’ ushering Raiders into next phase

McKenzie, Del Rio ‘unified since Day 1,’ ushering Raiders into next phase

Raiders general manager Reggie McKenzie and head coach Jack Del Rio have done three pre-draft press conferences now. They’ve got the routine down, knowing when to deflect questions, when to put people off the scent and, more importantly, how to seem unpredictable.

They were in lockstep again Friday, less than a week before the 2017 NFL Draft.

During their first, McKenzie offered one criticism of his head coach.

“Can you guys get Jack out of my office?” McKenzie said in 2015, with tongue firmly in cheek.

The rhetorical question was answered with a laugh. McKenzie was acknowledging how much Del Rio and staff wanted to support the scouting process. McKenzie ultimately pulls the trigger on draft day, but Del Rio has a loud voice in the room as he looks for players who fit his locker room and his schemes.

McKenzie has open ears, taking advice from the entire coaching staff while arranging his draft board. This time of year especially, coaches and scouts are working together.

“It’s been unified since Day 1,” Del Rio said. “Reggie and I are very unified and much on the same mission and that is to bring a world championship home to this organization. Everything we’re doing is attacking that, adding these impact players where we can.”

The pair was focused on improving a lackluster roster that featured Derek Carr and Khalil Mack but finished 3-13 the year before. Now their partnership is entering Phase II.

They must decide which players to add, and decide which previously drafted players to keep. There are some obvious extensions in the works, with Carr, Mack and Gabe Jackson. They had to let some homegrown talent go in free agency as they attempt to upgrade depth and build a championship roster that can build on last year’s success.

“There’s a whole different phase that we’re about to go through as an organization as you begin to mature, some of those players have to be re-signed or not. Those are decisions you have to make in all of this. This is year three for us working together and I feel like the relationship with the scouts and the coaches and the sharing of information is excellent. We want to continue to work that way.”

Locals among cornerbacks who can help Raiders early in NFL Draft

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AP

Locals among cornerbacks who can help Raiders early in NFL Draft

The Raiders have an opening in their secondary.

Finding a slot cornerback is a top priority with DJ Hayden now in Detroit. TJ Carrie is an option there, but the Raiders could add a young, versatile talent capable of taking a more prominent role down the line.

That’s true despite the fact Sean Smith signed a free-agent deal through 2019 last year and David Amerson received a contract extension through the 2020 season. Those contracts, however, become pay-as-you-go deals after this season.

The dead money goes away, freeing the Raiders to look for long-term upgrades if they see fit.

Head coach Jack Del Rio loves creating competition and depth, especially at such an important position in today’s NFL. The Raiders like larger, physical cornerbacks with ball skills, and there are plenty in this year’s draft.

Many analysts have the Raiders taking a cornerback at No. 24 overall, and that’s a realistic possibility. They could certainly look to help last year’s No. 24-ranked secondary in the early rounds.

Let’s take a look at some top options available in this week’s draft:

Good fits:There are quite a few quality cornerbacks who could be available at No. 24 overall, even if there’s an early run on the position.

Oakland native and Washington alum Kevin King visited the Raiders during the pre-draft process, and certainly fits what the Raiders like in a cornerback. He’s confident and aggressive, unafraid to use great physical traits to make plays on the ball. He’s tall and long and isn’t afraid to tackle.

USC’s Adoree Jackson has the quality ball skills the Raiders like, and is adept high-pointing the ball. Analysts say he can play several coverage techniques and has the agility to make up for mistakes. He can work in the slot, but at 5-foot-10 isn’t as tall as the Raiders like. They’d have to take him in the first round. He may not last beyond that.

San Jose native and Colorado product Chidobe Awuzie is another interesting local defensive back ready to turn pro. He can play outside or in the slot, and analysts say he has excellent one-on-one coverage skills but needs tackling work. He was a solid slot blitzer at Colorado, and could fill an immediate need crucial against so many three and four receiver sets.

Louisiana State’s Tre’Davious White has experience playing the slot, and could help right away there before transferring outside if asked. He can cover extremely well, though analysts say he isn’t much of a tackler. He might be a tweener as far as the Raiders are concerned, not worthy of the No. 24 pick but long gone before the Raiders pick in the second round.

Central Florida’s Shaquill Griffin visited the Raiders this spring, and rightfully so. A willing run defender with good ball skills and tackling ability who could be available in the third round should intrigue them.