With Expectation High, All Eyes Are On Coordinators In Oakland

Expectations are high in Oakland and where expectations are high, there’s always added pressure.

Derek Carr, the Raiders’ $125 million man, will shoulder as much pressure as anyone on the roster, but the heaviest burden heading into the 2017 season may actually be on the Raider coordinators – and for very different reasons.

For defensive coordinator Ken Norton Jr., the stakes couldn’t be higher. Despite the presence of Khalil Mack, the Raider defense has been inconsistent and undisciplined since Norton Jr. arrived.

Add to that the fact that most believe the Raiders are a good defense away from getting another Super Bowl and Norton Jr. has every reason to feel the heat.

Coaches and players pointed to “communication” as the primary issue in 2016 (particularly in the secondary) and head coach Jack Del Rio added former Chargers defensive coordinator John Pagano to address the problem. If the defense doesn’t improve in Norton Jr.’s third year, the Raiders have an in-house option if they want to make a change on the fly.

The players love Norton Jr. and he’s been instrumental in bringing several of them to Oakland, but it’s a performance-based league and if the Raider defense doesn’t improve quickly, Del Rio isn’t likely to move forward with patience.

On the other side of the ball, first-time offensive coordinator Todd Downing will assume the lofty expectations that come with taking over an offense that was already among the best in the NFL.

Nevertheless, Downing is considered one of the brightest young coaches in the league and as of now, the Raiders 37 year-old offensive coordinator has a very short list of doubters.

It’s only preseason, but from what little we’ve seen, it looks like both the offense and defense have picked up right where they left off in 2016 – that’s good news for one, not so good for the other.

twitter: @raidersbeat


6 thoughts on “With Expectation High, All Eyes Are On Coordinators In Oakland

  1. I change my fantasy team name last year to FIRE KEN NORTON. Team name remains from what ive seen in the first string starters this pre-season.

  2. Ken Norton Jr. needs to go. Trouble is Pagano runs a 3-4 defense and we have only 1 or 2 real LBs. Management needs to realize that good LBs are not found late in the draft.

  3. It’s very obvious coach Norton can’t make defensive adjustments during the game or at half time. What’s more bothersome is Del Rio doesn’t step in and fix the problem

    1. I’m not so sure that Del Rio doesn’t fix the problem, so much as can’t fix the problem or is part of the problem of the defensive coaching. It is a legitimate worry that this D might never get to average on his watch.

  4. Please fire Ken Norton. He didn’t impress me last year and this year is even worse.Our Raiders aren’t going to the playoffs so long if he’s in charge of the Defense.

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