Former Player Says Del Rio Runs The Raiders Defense, Calls Norton Jr. The “Scapegoat”
The Raiders defense has been bad for years, but according to former NFL receiver Steve Smith, firing defensive coordinator Ken Norton Jr. wasn’t the answer.
Via his verified twitter account, Smith said Wednesday that head coach Jack Del Rio has been “calling all the shots” on defense, not Norton. Smith also says general manager Reggie McKenzie paid the “wrong guys” in free agency and called Norton the “scapegoat” for the team’s problems.
Former Raiders linebacker Malcolm Smith (who played for Norton in Seattle and Oakland) was in agreement with Smith’s comments. McKenzie parted ways with Smith, who was largely ineffective in Oakland, after last season.
let that truth out!!!
— Malcolm Smith (@MalcSmitty) November 22, 2017
Good chance this one (from another of Norton’s former players in Seattle) was also directed at Del Rio.
Don’t point fingers @ someone else when it could be you that’s the problem.
— Bobby Wagner (@Bwagz54) November 22, 2017
While it’s true that Del Rio has been involved with the defense, it’s a bit a stretch to suggest he’s calling all the shots. Del Rio doesn’t call plays from the sideline and most would agree that Norton was lucky to return as defensive coordinator this season.
It’s worth noting that each of the players tweeting (with the exception of Smith) have close ties to Norton.
Whatever the case, it’s another bump in the road to what has been one of the most dramatized seasons the Raiders have ever endured – and that’s no small statement considering it’s, you know, the Raiders.