Branch, Seymour and McFadden talk about culture change


From the new coaching staff to the roster to the way business is conducted by the Raiders these days, it’s not difficult to notice that this is the dawn of a “new era,” as the Raiders media guide touts in block letters.
Things were run a specific way under late owner Al Davis for most of the past 50 years or so. Change abounds in Raidersland these days.
“They’re real strict on discipline now,” strong safety Tyvon Branch said, “as far as showing up to meetings. They’re even making us check in for lunches and dinners now. They’re trying to change the discipline factor.”
Let’s just assume that Branch meant showing up on time to meetings and not just showing up, period. Either way, general manager Reggie McKenzie and coach Dennis Allen have a way that they want things done, and the players are learning that, you either climb aboard or get left at the station.
Bottom line, running back Darren McFadden and defensive tackle Richard Seymour said, it’s incumbent upon the players to take what they hear and see from their coaches and get it to translate onto the field.
“Just knowing where to be and where to be at the right time and being there on time, that’s one main thing for us,” McFadden said. “And I feel by tightening down a lot of things. that’s going to help the guys and that’s going to translate on to the playing fields.”
Seymour said there needed to be change, if for no other reason than the fact the Raiders went 8-8 last season and missed the playoffs for the ninth straight season.
Yet, the players shouldn’t have to be told what needs to be done. If they do need to be told, well, then, they should be able to do as told.
“We’re all grown men and we should all know how to follow the rules,” Seymour said. “I don’t think that’s a big adjustment if that’s who you are. That’s who you should be anyway.”

— Allen said he intends on using McFadden in exhibition games and not holding him out the way the San Diego Chargers used to do with lead back LaDainian Tomlinson.
That’s fine with McFadden, he said. Give him the ball and let him do what he does best.
“It’s whatever he decides to give me,” McFadden said of Allen. “If he wants me out there eight or nine plays, that’s fine. If he wants me out there 20 plays, that’s fine. It’s not a big deal to me. It’s playing football. I enjoy doing that. I love being out there doing it.”
As for McFadden’s role, he said he doesn’t mind if he is used primarily as a ballcarrier or if offensive coordinator Greg Knapp uses him as a wide receiver from time to time.
Former Raiders coach Tom Cable capitalized on McFadden’s ability to create a mismatch in the Raiders favor by lining him up out wide every now and then. That’s something that Cable’s successor, Hue Jackson, got away from.
It says here that the Raiders would be wise to go back to using McFadden as many ways as possible. Seeing him lined up against a safety or smaller cornerback oftentimes spelled doom for the opponent.
McFadden said he has heard the talk about him being injury-prone and not durable enough to hold up over the course of a 16-game season.
It’s something that he takes in stride, confident in the fact his injuries have been more of a fluke thing and not the result of his not being in shape or being able to play through pain.
“You hear that all the time, but that’s something I can’t do anything about,” McFadden said. “It’s not like I’m going out there and just falling over and getting hurt. I’m out there playing and going hard. So I can live with that if I get hurt that way.”
Through it all, McFadden doesn’t intend to change his aggressive style of play. It’s what makes him so successful, even if it also makes him more susceptible to injury.
“It’s one of those things, it happens in football,” McFadden said of injuries. “I can’t say I’m unlucky about it because I’m a very blessed person to even be playing in this league. I just go out there and take it one day at a time. I can’t control injuries. If I get hurt, I’m going to get hurt going hard because that’s something I can’t control, and I’m not going to go out there and play not to get hurt.”

— Seymour isn’t one to talk much about injuries. In fact, one time he chided me for asking a player about his injury status in the locker room.
Hence, it’s not surprising that Seymour isn’t keen about writing off his up-and-down play last season to his myriad injuries.
“Injuries are a part of the game,” Seymour said. “You never want to talk about injuries. That’s one thing you really don’t want to get into, how bad you’re hurt or whatever the case may be.
“I came out of the gate well and then a knee injury, and then I kind of slowed down from there. Toward the end of the year, I started to regain my form a little bit. I’m optimistic and feeling good right now. Feeling good and excited about the season. I’ll be ready to go.”
Seymour added that he is excited about the change in the Raiders defensive philosophy from one that relied upon man coverage, four defensive linemen rushin the passer and a dearth of blitzing.
Under first-year coordinator Jason Tarver, the Raiders intend to be what Allen calls “multiple.” That means an infusion of a 3-4 alignment, more zone coverage and frequent blitzing from all over the field.
“If you want to be one of the best, or one of the elite, in the league, you have to be able to do multiple things,” Seymour said. “Be versatile, playing this front, that front, rush the passer, stop the run, just being an every-down player. That’s how you make yourself valuable. It’s hard work but this is a big-boy league.”
Branch said he and his teammates are excited about the prospect of playing in a varied scheme, where teams aren’t as apt to know what’s coming on a given down.
“It’s a lot of new stuff we’re learning,” Branch said. “We were primarily a man-to-man team, so to get some zone stuff, some different stuff going in, there’s definitely a lot of learning going into it. But everybody is up to the challenge.”


Steve Corkran

  • hwnrdr

    Thanks Guest! Had tendonitis in the left shoulder, took a cortisone shot, which we all know as temporary and it inflamed hard this last week! Had to up my dosages! Need to check in the dr’s office today to see if anything changes!

  • guest123

    If he makes that ONE play and actually sends us to the playoffs, are we having this conversation?


    Football is a game of 60 minutes, not 59. Gotta play fierce till the final whistle and it’s not fair, but you are judged ultimately not by your victories, but your failures.

  • Method To My Madness

    Marks Hair Says:
    July 30th, 2012 at 8:03 am
    174. I dont see a rook with the skills to compete with our vets. Maybe bergs steps up later in the yr.. but he’ll probably get his chance after coop gets hurt.

    Criner has poss WR skills while DHB doesnt….he catches with his hands…DHB doesnt

    Bergstrom has size,strength and nasty demeanor necessary to play LG while Cooper doesnt. Coop get hurt? When has that happened here? They drafted Bergstrom to start…its only a matter of time

    Burris will compete with Wheeler for that WLB spot

    Remember this is new regime and the old way is out. If a guy is better rookie or not then he will start

  • guest123

    @ 202,

    Trust Dr. Feelgood to get you thru. And a lot of rest.

  • J Hill

    I want to see him accurately diagnosing run plays and filling the right holes. I want to see plays in the backfield. I DON’T want to see him jogging down the field after RB’s



    “The Jog” against Buffalo = 1 play.

    Is there a percentage of plays he allowed to misdiagnos that doesn’t get him cut?

    He had a lot of tackles last year so clearly he is out there accurately diagnosing something, wouldn’t you say?

  • hwnrdr

    Guest123 Says:
    July 30th, 2012 at 8:09 am
    @ 202,

    Trust Dr. Feelgood to get you thru. And a lot of rest.

    Yup! That I will!

  • Method To My Madness

    Guest123 Says:
    July 30th, 2012 at 8:05 am

    I definitely can see Burris at SLB, taking advantage of his lateral quicks. Curry is a one-trick dog with fleas, and another of the posssible “surprise cuts”.

    He playing WLB/LOLB

  • Marks hair

    189. Oh.. Well someone needs to hang a graph in the lockeroom so they know exactly how good they have to be before they can get uppety.lol I gotta disagree, I don’t believe any of our players should have humble themselves for the blog.. but I do agree that romac have been an idiot..

  • hwnrdr

    Be right back fellas!

  • guest123

    I disagree that Wheeler is in jeapardy of losing his WLB job to anyone. I think he’s the mainstay at LB. But the SLB and MLB spots are up for grabs. Wheeler will do the Nation proud!

  • Method To My Madness

    Hwnrdr Says:
    July 30th, 2012 at 8:05 am
    Ok cool! Let me know!
    We got The Rays, Blue Jays and Angels next! If the A’s can come out of that winning each series, things will be looking good!

    Oh yeah…if at end of next month we catch Texas….its a wrap the A’s will be in postseason

  • RaiderRockstar

    Quote for Today…

    “If you don’t like something, change it. If you can’t change it, change your attitude. Don’t complain.”
    ― Maya Angelou


    What do you anti 55 guys need to see from him this season for you to think he’s living up to his draft status?
    Well, to start with, this ‘clean slate’ stuff is a bunch of crap.

    Ronaldo’s luggage hasn’t been discarded and wasn’t lost at the Bama airport.

    You can say he’s got a clean slate as far as Reggie and DA are concerned – but the legal system, courts and Goodell are another matter.

    That hangs over Ro-do-do’s head and there’s no wiping that slate clean until the courts and commish have their say.

    On the field 55 has to quit jogging. Can’t whiff on easy, game deciding tackles. Has to assume a position of leadership, instead of being the brooding douche that deserts the team (for an entire week) to attend a (ahem) funeral.

    McLame has miles to go to live up to his 8th overall status. I’d settle for him managing to stay out of trouble and on the field.

    Course, if his play doesn’t improve, having him on the field isn’t a big deal anyway.

  • Method To My Madness

    Guest123 Says:
    July 30th, 2012 at 8:11 am
    I disagree that Wheeler is in jeapardy of losing his WLB job to anyone. I think he’s the mainstay at LB. But the SLB and MLB spots are up for grabs. Wheeler will do the Nation proud!

    SLB and MLB are locked for Curry and McClain lmao….come on man

    If Burris wants to start it will be at WLB

  • guest123

    Good quote.

    If people followed that advice more often, there would be a 50% drop in all conversation I’m guessing.

  • J Hill

    Oh.. Well someone needs to hang a graph in the lockeroom so they know exactly how good they have to be before they can get uppety.



  • Marks hair

    204. We’ll find out pretty soon.. Its finally football time
    Criner wont beat dhb… No way
    Burris wont beat wheeler.. No way
    Bergs definitely have the best shot of winning the job. Size, experience in the zbs, & strenght make him a possibility but carlisle has kept a starting job for years n years for good reason. ..Skills

  • guest123

    215, Especially considering Roger Goodell has a world of influence on whether or not #55 is the starter at MLB, and how weak Curry is at his spot, I don’t think either are any kind of “lock”. Wheeler is a (barring injury) set-it-in-concrete lock starter though.

  • J Hill

    I disagree that Wheeler is in jeapardy of losing his WLB job to anyone.


    When did he win the job?

    Isn’t he basically a one year low salary vet signing?

  • bcz24

    He had a lot of tackles last year so clearly he is out there accurately diagnosing something, wouldn’t you say?
    No. Accurately diagnosing a play means he made the tackle behind the LOS or at least near. Making the tackle 7 yards down field is not accurately diagnosing the play.

  • TxRaider210

    Wonder is Wheeler can play SS, so we could ditch MM34..

  • RaiderRockstar

    new post


    LMAO at the ‘once’ defense.

    Hey, McLame only jogged ‘once’.

    He only whiffed ‘once’ on an easy, game sealing tackle.

    He only got arrested ‘once’.

    Wouldn’t it be nice to have a MLB that we can count on and have the defense make a stop, for ‘ONCE’ ?

    ‘Once’ upon a time we had great expectations for Ronaldo.

    ‘Once’ upon a time is also how alot of fairy tales begin.

  • Violent Hands

    As an ex Loyalist i agree if your on time for dinner, your never usually late for anything else. Im confident this new regime will stop the penalty madness you can just feel it in their words

  • ohioraider

    guest123 Says:
    July 30th, 2012 at 6:48 am

    It’s encouraging to hear about new coaching regime instilling discipline and everything. But I am worried that the whole concept of whipping the boys into shape may lead to some key early training camp injuries.

    In a lot of ways, Allen reminds me of new Tampa coach Greg Schiano with his “toes on the line” policy. He’s already lost his starting LT, cut the team leading WR in TD’s from last year, lost Arrelius Benn to injury, traded away Brian Price who was their early 2nd round pick from 2 years ago for a conditional 7th rounder.

    All to make a point that he’s a real hardcore type. He’s willing to sacrifice a lot of valuable pieces to mark his territory. Gone is the rap songs at practice and Raheem’s easy style. It’s hard to say if it will pay any dividends. I think you have to at some point allow the players to play and ease up.

    The whole players coach vs disciplinarian coach thing seems to go in cycles. We have a task master in Allen, and that sounds good, but the other side of the coin is we can expect some guys run into the ground and some key injuries too.
    Of course, the coaches have to ease off after awhile. That’s why you need a few guys in the locker room to step up and become the de facto enforcers. They set parameters that the rest of the team implicitly understands you don’t cross. Maybe Seymour can be that guy.

  • 1960AutumnWind

    Regarding the Post below:

    I just can not agree with it for the following reasons…

    Reggie M. was a LB with the LA Raiders and understands and honors the Raiders traditions and mystique. However, he also understands no one can run an organization like AD did and survive AD tried to do too many things.

    Mark Davis in taking over asked for the advice of former Raiders like Ron Wolf and John Madden in picking RM and is the son of AD!

    There has been an openness with former players even ones not allowed to be around such as Rich Gannon to discuss what it means to be a Raider.

    I just do not understand your point unless you literally believe the Raiders were AD and only AD can channel the Raiders. AD considering all the people he influenced should have quite the legacy!
    Rob_raider Says:
    July 29th, 2012 at 7:49 pm
    there’s almost a guarantee of culture change. al davis is dead. many of the people involved with the raiders are gone. there are new people at owner, gm, and the coaching staff. it’s practically just another organization, with little ties to the raiders as we’ve always known (and loved) them. in fact, it’s the time to go to another team if u want to, because this is frankly a “raiders” team in name and uniform color only. many of the players return and they might bring with them old habits, but calling this team the raiders is barely more accurate than calling jon gruden’s buccaneers team the raiders. i will continue to be raiders fan b/c it’s what i know. but i’m not sure it will ever be the same.

    are the yankees the same yankees that had ruth, gherig, dimaggio, etc? kinda makes u wonder who ur really rooting for. mark davis, reggie mckenzie, and dennis allen? why do i care? it’s basically the uniforms and the memories the fact they’re in oakland.