Philip Wheeler Q&A


A transcription of linebacker Philip Wheeler’s conference call with Bay Area media Monday:

Q: What can you say about your first day in terms of the atmosphere, what impressions can you draw?

Wheeler: It’s like, I’m pretty sure everybody else thought, everybody was new, a lot of new faces, new coaches, for everybody. I feel like we’re all coming in on an even playing field type thing. As far as competition, I feel like it’s going to be healthy competition for us and I feel like we’re going to be a good team because of that.

Q: What can you say about the coaching staff, their message to you, etc?

Wheeler: This is my first day. I did know one of the coaches, prior, the Senior Bowl when I was coming out of college, coach Tarver, and I talked to him on the phone before I signed and that kind of helped make my decision. He knows my ability and everything. That’s one coach I already knew. I feel like this is the best situation for me. I think, these coaches here, they were pretty adamant about the way they’re running their defenses. It’s a defensive head coach, he has a defensive mind, I wanted to come to a place that would take defense a little more serious.

Q: Was decision tough when it came down to it?

Wheeler: It was a tough decision any time you’re moving somewhere, especially when I have an opportunity to move on the other side of the country, to move toward a defense that, it looks like this defense is catered to linebackers and specifically the way I play, I think. It feels good to be around other good linebackers. It seems like it’s already a decent linebacking corps here, a pretty good linebacking corps. They’re young, just like myself so I feel this would be a great opportunity to build something here. As far as my decision, I had my choice to go to a couple other teams, Miami was one of ‘em. It was a hard decision, but it was a better fit for me here because of the type of defense and the type of scheme they’re running here and the type of coaches they got here.

Q: How is the defense catered to your style of play?

Wheeler: Coach Tarver told me there was going to be a lot of blitzing, just a lot of mixing up things, not just standing still in Cover 2 like I did in with the Indianapolis Colts for awhile. Nothing against that, we had a great offense that kept the lead a lot. We were able to sit back in Cover 2 and rush the passer a lot because teams had to catch up, and we had two great defensive ends that did that. But I also like to rush the passer and everything from the linebacker position and coach Tarver told me that it would be some of that going on.

Q: Impressed by how Raider fans reached out, how many followers did you pick up?

Wheeler: Yeah, yeah. I don’t know I think it was like 2,000. It was cool man, because that kind of helped me in my decision because it showed me how big of a football city this is and how much they paid attention to football instead of going somewhere else. Indianapolis, it was pretty good football city, but the fans, they didn’t’ get more involved in media, and just showing us how much they care about the game. I always wanted to play in a big football for a legendary team, something like that and that kind of helped me choose Oakland.

Q: How does knowing Peyton Manning help when you play him?

Wheeler: He’s going to be in a different situation than he was. I just know from practice and going against me, he helped me playing against the best quarterback in the league. I know how to step my game up because of that. As far as knowing what he’s going to do, he’s always unpredictable. That’s why he was so good. You don’t know where he is going with the ball. You know what type of play he runs but you don’t know when he’s going to run it. I feel like I’m better just from going up against him in practice every day and I’ll be prepared to face any quarterback like that. I think I can help the team do that.

Q: How do you set the edge as smaller strongside linebacker?

Wheeler: To be honest it’s kind of difficult for me to decide on a position for myself because I think I’m versatile. The coaches also recognize that. I feel like playing that position it comes pretty simple to me. I don’t worry about it as far as size and everything. I just want to be able to use all of my talent. I’m kind of a jack of all trades. I feel like in Indianapolis I wasn’t able to use everything that I had. It didn’t bore me. It just made my want to do something else, check to other teams. I just want to be able to use all of my talents. That’s all. I feel like I’ll be able to do that here. That’s why I chose to play here.

Q: Any sense how many guys showed up today?

Wheeler: I don’t know how much of the team was here. We had meetings, we had our first introduction meeting. A lot of new faces from what I here. I lot of new faces for me. Everybody got to know each other today.

Q: Used to see Raiders played 4-3, seldom blitzed and played a ton of man, sounds like new era will be different?

Wheeler: I actually heard some of the coaches saying we’re not just big and fast anymore. We’re going to be big, fast and we’re going to be smarter and have good football players. I played Madden a lot. I know a lot of players on the team because I play with the Raiders. They always had the fastest team. I always put Terrelle Pryor in the game and I run around with him on Madden. He’s probably my favorite player on the team. Nobody knows that yet. I play with him on Madden so I feel like I know everything about the team. They were always bigger, faster and stronger than everybody. But the awareness of the game, some of it was down or whatever. I feel like Mr. McKenzie brought in a lot of players in who actually know how to play the game and aren’t just faster than everybody. We have actual football players here now.


Jerry McDonald - NFL Writer

  • YoungAmerican

    KoolKell Says:
    April 2nd, 2012 at 5:04 pm

    Patriots, Ravens, 49ers, Dolphins (soon the Falcons under Mike Nolan), Texans, Jets, Bills… I’m sure the list goes on.
    Those are all 3-4 teams


    I don’t know how much 4-3 they play, if any. I don’t see how you can have a roster fit for both.


    They’re not exclusively 3-4 teams. The Ravens and Patriots in particular use a myriad of defensive looks. The Patriots played a lot of 4-3 with Mark Anderson at RDE, and Wilfork and Warren at DT on the inside. They could also use Ninkovich with his hand on the ground.

    The Ravens do the same thing. Ngata plays DT and DE, Jarrett Johnson and Terrell Suggs played DE and OLB.

    The 49ers let Aldon Smith line up at RDE and move Justin Smith to DT.

    Teams build their rosters for that kind of flexibility. It’s pretty common in the league now. Even Mike Nolan, who everyone regards as THE 3-4 guy, uses 4-3 looks about half the time. Belichick, another “3-4 guy” used 4-3 looks more often than 3-4 for the last couple seasons.

  • r8eray
  • OK, YA.

    As Lewis aged, he wasn’t able to cover the entire field, and the Ravens’ defense needed to evolve. They had the perfect solution… the 3-4 defense. The 3-4 defense took pressure off Lewis, but still allowed him to dominate in run defense. The Ravens have never really used a conventional 3-4 defense. In fact, the Ravens never really switched to a 3-4 defense per se. It was a slow metamorphosis that started with Mike Nolan’s innovations and was ultimately perfected by Rex Ryan. Even today, the Ravens do not run a strict 3-4 defense. The system that they pioneered has become known as a “hybrid” defense because of its ability to shift between 3-4 and 4-3 looks.

    In this article, we’re going to get an overview of the Ravens’ hybrid defense. The system is so complex that a complete analysis could fill many hundred pages, but an overview should help everyone understand the basic principles behind this highly innovative and effective defensive scheme. We’ll look at the different positions and the preferred player types and hopefully, discover the factors that make the hybrid defense successful.

  • Raiderjambo

    RaiderRockStar, would like our #95 pick to be Sean Spence from the U.

  • AmysInCharge

    Crap!,…was hoping that old failed realtor Kell was at that school to become a nurse,..bummer you werent there old man. Lol, just another day in the Easdt Bay! LMAO

  • @YA

    Scott labeled the 4-3 a “dying trend,” but few think that the 3-4 will phase the 4-3 out of the ever-cycling N.F.L. Instead, the Jets’ take on the 3-4 is likely to become more prevalent.

    Pettine said the Jets’ defensive coaches laughed when their concept is labeled a 3-4. He estimated that they ran a true version of it, similar to the Patriots’ base defense, on about 10 percent of their defensive snaps.

    Instead, the Jets consider themselves multiple. They fill their roster with 3-4 personnel, but they run plays based on situations and matchups. Sometimes, their defense features no linemen. Sometimes, they drop linemen into coverage. Or blitz safeties. Or trot out eight defensive backs.

    The key is confusion, and the key to the confusion is the Jets’ weak-side outside linebacker, whom they call the Rush. The Jets view their Rush as someone with a defensive end’s skills who can drop into coverage. But the Rush, occupied by players like Calvin Pace, Jason Taylor and Bryan Thomas, is primarily a pass rusher. The Rush is more linebacker than defensive end, but the goal remains the same — the quarterback.

    This confusion forces opponents into extra practice time. If they like a certain running play, they must practice it against the six fronts the Jets might use.

    “If there’s a front out there, more than likely, we run it,” Pettine said. “The biggest thing is staying multiple, running what works and constantly creating and evolving.”

    Even if that means more phone calls.


  • YA, thanks for learnin me something, young feller.

  • AmysInCharge Says:
    April 2nd, 2012 at 5:20 pm

    Crap!,…was hoping that old failed realtor Kell was at that school to become a nurse,..bummer you werent there old man. Lol, just another day in the Easdt Bay!
    What a horrible thing to say, Narco Boob.

  • AmysInCharge

    Sorry old fatboy, but we got a good laugh out of the latest news from your hood. Must be nice to live in such a sophisticated metropolis. 😉

  • Fatboy……6-3, 178 ????

  • AmysInCharge

    Omg they just gave a description of the shooter,..I think its Tim Kawakami!!!…anyway, 7 dead, and the local housecats are high-fiving themselves tonight.

  • AmysInCharge

    Hmmm,..first he gives us the place where he pretends to work,.then posts a pic of some dude he married, now giving us his personal stats as well,..look old man, I know you came late to the internet game, but really, you should scale back all the personal info. Born stupid and never got any smarter.

  • Whatever dumbass troll, Narco Boob, Stalker Esq.

  • AmysInCharge

    Oh simmer down fatboy,…we just joking,..its been a good day out here in the sticks, seeing how the sophisticates behave themselves on a monday. LMAO

  • AmysInCharge Says:
    April 2nd, 2012 at 5:39 pm

    Oh simmer down fatboy,…we just joking,..its been a good day out here in the sticks, seeing how the sophisticates behave themselves on a monday. LMAO
    You’d like to see everybody down at your level in the gutters, yes?

  • Twocents

    Cork, you better watch out, Levi Damien is kicking your rocks.

  • AmysInCharge

    If where I live is the gutter,…lol…put it this way old fatboy, YOU walk around here YOU get watched til YOU leave town. (Dont wear a hoodie or you dont leave town the way you came) 😉

  • AmysInCharge Says:
    April 2nd, 2012 at 5:47 pm

    If where I live is the gutter,…lol…put it this way old fatboy, YOU walk around here YOU get watched til YOU leave town. (Dont wear a hoodie or you dont leave town the way you came)
    Huh, dumbass?

  • YoungAmerican

    KoolKell Says:
    April 2nd, 2012 at 5:27 pm

    YA, thanks for learnin me something, young feller.


    Any time. I just enjoy talking football with you guys. Lots of good insight around here, in spite of some of the crazier folks. But even the crazy is occasionally entertaining.

  • BigZ@CSM

    @ Rockstar

    I’m a life long Raider fan up here in Seattle. I Went to CSM for a few years so I lived in they bay and have been to many games. I am also a huge UW fan. Alameda when 100% has been a beast. So thats my pick nation. That’s wassup!

  • AmysInCharge

    Whats the matter now old fatboy?…you upset again?…what is it now?…you seem to always have issues with others comments here,..why is that?…maybe the years and years youve been here on a daily basis instead of getting listings has worn you out,…LMAO.

  • alzadoX

    Thanks Kool Kell for all the info on multiple defenses.

    it’s been nothing but really boring defense for Raiders last few decades with AD as de facto Defensive Coordinator

  • AmysInCharge

    Thats right Alzado, nobody can Google/Cutandpaste like old fatboy Kell.


    4-3 or 3-4 ?


    Let’s see…

    The deepest position on the Raid D appears to be the DLine.

    The thinnest position appears to be LB.

    That, in and of itself should answer the question.

    As for those that seem to believe that moving Slow to ILB in a 3-4 will magically transform him from a non-hustling slug with an attitude to a player worthy of wearing the Silver and Black, think again.

    There are defining moments in a player’s career – both on and off the field.

    Slow’s defining moments thus far have been abysmal and embarrassing.

    The ‘JOG’ after FJax in Buffalo was disgraceful.

    The ‘WHIFF’ on Stafford was absolutely pathetic.

    The ‘GUN PLAY’ in Bama was the epitome of stupidity and a slap in the face to the organization.

    Slow, due to his draft status and the fact that the LB corp is so depleted, gets another chance to do a 180 degree turn around and show the Nation he’s not a complete washout.

    I have zero confidence that this young man will turn things around.

    In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised to see him benched for non-performance or disciplinary reasons.

    Slow is a torpedo that can sink the Raider ship.

    Or he can make detractors like myself eat crow and actually make an impact and contribute to improving a defense that desperately needs some leadership and play makers.

    My guess (and I hope I’m wrong) is that by the end of 2012, even JFB will be joining the chorus of Raider fans singing…


  • YoungAmerican

    Tarver (a 3-4 guy) and Allen (a 4-3 guy) should have some interesting things cooked up.

    I wouldn’t be surprised to see Wheeler rushing from the LOLB spot in 3-4 looks.

    A late-round player like Frank Alexander can play both 4-3 DE spots, and has played OLB a bit too. Would bolster the bottom of the depth chart at two positions.

  • YoungAmerican

    4-3 or 3-4 ?

    Again, it’s not a question of 4-3 or 3-4.

  • alzadoX

    Chris In NY Says:
    April 2nd, 2012 at 4:44 pm
    Tommy Kelly kicks @ss. You guys are crazy. I realize he’s a been a presence on some poor run Ds, but I blame that more on simplistic schemes, sub-par DCs and very poor MLB play. Last two years TK has been one of the best around.


    poor run defense, poorly run defense, boring defense.

    Hope to get better soon

  • AmysInCharge

    Dont trip Raiderman,..that ghetto trash that fired off the gun down south wont be on the roster in a month or so.

  • AmysInCharge

    Tommy Kelly is the best D lineman in Oakland. Sucks for him he has to line up next to bums.

  • YoungAmerican

    To be fair, TK looked like a bum for all but one of his seasons as a pro until Seymour lined up next to him.

  • AmysInCharge

    To be fair youre an idiot.

  • YoungAmerican

    Solid football analysis. I would like to purchase a subscription to your newsletter.

  • AmysInCharge

    Sho thang ese, wants my twitter feed? #Justask

  • Hardline

    RAIDERMAN99, 174


  • alzadoX

    Sometimes you also have to appreciate what you have (and get a real DC who can use what you have).

    A lot of “glamour” DTs in NFL in recent years are lazy prima donnas who are good at best every other year and otherwise fat out of shape injured or underproducer. Some get payed up the ying yang (even by GMs/owners other than Al Davis) after 1 good year (eg Albert Haynesworth). How many productive years did Shaun Rogers or Kris Jenkins really have? Dominant one year, disappear the next. Some teams getting wise and getting blue collar depth instead of $uperman

    Seymour is getting more brittle as he ages and not always consistent and sure Al overpayed him but he got Kelly motivated and has done a lot for the team and played well when healthy. I do wish he’d cut out some of the penalties at the wrong time. But if we were frustrated, imagine how a competitor like Seymour must have felt

  • JB

    Twocents Says:
    April 2nd, 2012 at 4:25 pm

    The only player that I think we could trade to get a high third would be Ford.

    If the guy we get is not better than the guy we traded, then that is a bad deal. What is the likelihood that a third round pick is going to bring more to the table than Ford? The answer is highly unlikely so enough with this crazy talk of trading one of our starting WR’s. It’s not like Ford is a one trick pony or beyond the halfway point of his likely career duration. It makes no sense to trade good talent just to have something to do.

    So we don’t have a bundle of draft picks this time around. So what? Get over it. We’ll be just fine. Don’t fix something that doesn’t need fixing.

  • AmysInCharge

    JB,..Alzado, youre wanted on the next page,..hurry.

  • alzadoX

    AmysInCharge Says:
    April 2nd, 2012 at 6:30 pm
    JB,..Alzado, youre wanted on the next page,..hurry.


    nobody wants me on any page

    already checked next page just a boring reminder of live chat tomorrow.

    I’m staying here

  • The Oracle

    RaiderRockstar: Josh Chapman (Alabama)
    Carl Weathers: Josh Chapman (Alabama)
    R8ER MIKE: Josh Chapman (Alabama)
    CJ Legend 34: Josh Chapman (Alabama)
    RaiderDuck: Josh Chapman (Alabama)
    PlunkforHOF: Josh Chapman (Alabama)
    HairyBush: Josh Chapman (Alabama)
    Silverandblack666: Josh Chapman (Alabama)
    Fingers: Josh Chapman (Alabama)
    Guest123: Demarco Davis (Arkansas State)
    Poprox13: Demarco Davis (Arkansas State)
    Just Fire Baby: Casey Heyward (Vandy)
    R8eray: Alameda Ta’amu (Washington)
    Hwnrdr: Alameda Ta’amu (Washington)
    DMAC: Alameda Ta’amu (Washington)
    Thec: Alameda Ta’amu (Washington)
    Jesusraiderjim: Alameda Ta’amu (Washington)
    Raider O: Mychal Kendricks (Cal)
    RaiderRetribution: Mychal Kendricks (Cal)
    DJ Johnny: Mychal Kendricks (Cal)
    Hardline: Mychal Kendricks (Cal)
    No Mas Diamante: Mychal Kendricks (Cal)
    Bcz24: Sammy Brown (Houston U)
    Antispy3: Sammy Brown (Houston U)
    Blackmamba_20: Sammy Brown (Houston U)
    Raiderinparadise: Keenan Robinson (Texas)
    Raiderzmaverick: Sean Spence (Miami U)
    Da Trinity: Sean Spence (Miami U)
    DIRT-LOT FOOTBALL: Tyrone Crawford (Boise St)
    JLofty: Trumaine Johnson (Montana)
    LA to TheBay: Josh Robinson (USF)
    RaidO: Josh Robinson (USF)
    SilverNBlackPA: Derek Wolfe (Cincinnati)
    Raiderman99: Isaiah Pead (Cincinnati)
    Dakota: Ladarius Green (Louisiana-Lafayette)
    Deja vu: Nigel Bradham (Florida State)
    The Oracle: Nigel Bradham (FSU)
    Raider Dell: Bruce Irvin (West Virginia)
    ToneMcFresh: Bruce Irvin (West Virginia)
    Tjbwall: Ronnell Lewis (Oklahoma U)
    PurpleDrank81: Shea McClellin (Boise State)


    added Bradham-FSU

  • raiderlization

    raiderlization on ps3 if you choose to die by the Bomb!lol

  • xraided

    Chapman @ 95 !

  • xraided

    Seymour is getting more brittle as he ages and not always consistent and sure Al overpayed him but he got Kelly motivated and has done a lot for the team and played well when healthy.


    i believe he’ll be healthy this year. with a pick like Chapman, he can certainly take more plays off, especially when you consider Bryant will be taking many snaps as well(perhaps more than both of them). we need Seymour to come in on passing downs to get penetration on the pocket… keeping him fresh is key in order to keep Manning from torching us downfield!

  • xraided

    i meant keeping him fresh down the final stretches of the season. not banged up and at 50% health. i’d like to see him get more downs off instead of being depended on to do so much(stuffing the run as well as rush the passer)


    With the 95th pick in the draft, The Raiders take RB Robert Turbin, Utah State.

  • 8RaiderReign8

    With the #95 pick in the 2012 draft the Raiders pick…..

    Josh Chapman… Dt Alabama

    The Raiders make this pick for two reasons
    1) A true nose tackle is something this team desperately needs… And Reggie has a history of picking a true nose tackle when you look at BJ Raji
    2) Getting a true nose tackle makes Kelly and Seymour much more expendable next year when we have to reanalyze their contracts
    3) Josh Chapman will fall to us because he is injured… And players that are injured usually fall to later rounds

  • qodrn1

    new post.

  • qodrn1

    I would like to be the staff person who gets to invite Alameda to Alameda if he comes for a visit. Somehow, he must be destined to be a Raider..

  • Jabels1488

    Whats up Nation! New Poster here, Love the attitude and dedication i see on this site from my Brothers in Silver and Black. Does anyone else think David Molk would be a good pick in the 5th or 6th Round?

  • Greg

    What up Jabels1488, I’m a fairly new poster as well. I’m not sure who will be there that late in the draft.

    I still feel like we need to address the following positions (in this order): DT, CB, LB, RB, TE, OL, and back-up Safety. I feel like we have enough young WR’s and our Safeties are solid but not much depth. IMO our DT’s are getting older and more expensive we have to address that position. Also our LB’s and CB’s are very thin. I love the Curry and Wheeler signings, both speed LB’s that fly and lay the hat! still need some depth though especially if we plan on mixing in some 3-4.

  • Greg

    Actually with Goodsen trade you can take RB’s off that list. Mcfadden, Goodsen and Taiwon are decent enough for this year.