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Branch, Seymour and McFadden talk about culture change

By Steve Corkran
Sunday, July 29th, 2012 at 6:50 pm in Oakland Raiders.

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.”

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  • rob_raider

    Que Says:
    July 29th, 2012 at 11:28 pm
    Rob_raider Says:
    July 29th, 2012 at 11:23 pm
    Que Says:
    July 29th, 2012 at 10:59 pm

    I myself am worried with all the religious good boy being drafted.

    *****************

    don’t be. religious guys aren’t pussi*s. they’re focused, disciplined, and stay out of trouble. they have commitment and aren’t punks. steve wisniewski, reggie white. and i believe vann mcelroy was a preacher’s kid.

    This is football and the raiders legacy was never written on Religious beliefs. You didnt get drafted by the raiders being…That was my point to your original great point. It was something people noticed during the draft also. We drafted alot of good guys

    ***************

    i know–i’m just saying religious guys aren’t weaklings. al davis’ raiders of old were all over the map. dave casper was religious. the key was those raiders got after it on gameday. napoleon kaufman was a preacher. it’s all about how hard u play. they said during games mcelroy would be cussing like a sailor out at safety. wiz was regularly said to be the dirtiest player in the game. u can be nasty as heck on sundays and then go to church. God loves football.

  • mcfadden20.

    Go Raiders let’s surprise every 1

  • http://www.Raiders.com KoolKell

    Steve Wiznewski Dirtiest Player year in and year out. Bible Thumpher. Lol.

  • http://www.Raiders.com KoolKell

    I love my “Christan Brother”

  • rob_raider

    i think it’s important to look at the units of this team and see if they can be better than last year:

    run game–well the OL will be similar but maybe a little better. brisiel for satele is a plus for sure. the continued growth of veldheer and wiz should make them a little better too. and of course, a full season of dmc. the run game should definitely be BETTER.

    pass game–a full season from palmer, with a preseason to get ready. continued growth from dhb and moore and having them be solidly in place as starters, plus the addition of ausberry into the lineup should mean they will be BETTER.

    run defense–the return of shaughnessy is big. possible growth from mcclain and curry into what their talents project plus real LB’s like wheeler, burris, and even stupar should mean they are BETTER although by how much is hugely dependent on mcclain.

    pass defense–again, shaughnessy will help with his rush, and new CB’s could mean they’re BETTER.

    so, it’s not wishful thinking by blind raiders fans. looking at their units shows that this team should be BETTER than last year.

  • Marks hair

    97. Only 10?

  • RAIDERNATIONSTATION http://www.raidernationstation.com/

    So excited for the season to start!~

    Have a gr8 day Nation! FOOTBALL!!!

    http://www.raidernationstation.com/

  • mcfadden20.

    Beat the crap out of San Diego we’re so due for a easy win on opening night .

  • mcfadden20.

    ^^^^ an

  • n8_austin

    DJ Johnny Says:
    July 29th, 2012 at 9:50 pm
    55.n8_austin Says:
    July 29th, 2012 at 9:44 pm
    Some people are acting like Seymour is the next coming of Warren Sapp. Relax, he’s gonna handle biz on that line.

    Problem is he hasn’t really handled biz yet as a Raider.

    I give him credit for blocking those fg’s at Arrowhead though. He came up big that game.

    The guy has been dominate in the leauge… if the Raiders have any shot the D-line gotta show and prove. By far the best part of our D… Linebacker and secondary are serious question marks.

  • MarcusAllen

    So we have a back that’s never made it a complete season and the head coach
    intends to use him heavily in the preseason ?!?

    Phone ringing… Cedric here – yo Reggie Mac – I’ve been expecting you…

  • Que

    I dont know about you guys but I ll be more comfortable once we get a decent second string starting caliber RB. A big back at that.

  • guest123

    Good Morning Nation!

    Ready for a whole new era of excellence? yupyup

  • Just Fire Baby

    Not sure about this “new” era of excellence, I will just go for an era of excellence, new, old or what have you.

  • guest123

    No way would Al Davis ever approve a slogan change while he was alive. A “new era” of excellence would point to the last 10 to 20 years of non-excellence.

    Now it’s Mark’s regime, and it’s time to adapt to new slogans. The old slogans have been beaten like a dead horse and no longer apply.

    A new era of excellence is better than the “build a bully” campaign anyway.

  • Just Fire Baby

    A new era of excellence is better than the “build a bully” campaign anyway.

    ****************************

    Please, don’t get me started on that nonsense again.

  • DIRT-LOT FOOTBALL

    U GOT 2 EARN IT.TALK AND CATCHY SLOGANS R JUST THAT,TALK.WIN,AND WIN CONSISTANTLY AND THEN START WITH CATCH PHRASES..

  • guest123

    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.

  • Just Fire Baby

    Disciplinarian’s definitely become stale, and it loses it’s edge after a few years.

    If DA wants to be a tough-nosed coach, and also coach for more than 3-4 years here successfully, he will have to switch gears a little down the road.

  • guest123

    What also is a big change are the training camp rules that came with the new CBA. Gone are the two-a-days by rule, and so coaches are bringing in extra long 2 hour 45 minute practices and they are getting their pound of flesh in one fell swoop. The players wanted to do away with two-a-days, but they may have gotten more than were expecting in return.

  • guest123

    I liked Seymour’s common sense take to how he described the new regime. That they are all grown men and they should know how to act like professionals without being nagged and beaten down like children.

    If the whip has to be used too often, I think it’s counter-productive at some point. It’s all a balance.

  • DJ Johnny

    115.guest123 Says:
    July 30th, 2012 at 6:31 am
    No way would Al Davis ever approve a slogan change while he was alive. A “new era” of excellence would point to the last 10 to 20 years of non-excellence.

    Now it’s Mark’s regime, and it’s time to adapt to new slogans. The old slogans have been beaten like a dead horse and no longer apply.

    A new era of excellence is better than the “build a bully” campaign anyway.

    I have a friend who’s a cowboy fan (other than THAT he’s an ok guy) and I was telling him that what we’ve just been through…the “Seven Years of Hell”….has been worst period in Raider history.

    I also noted that even with that horrible period of time, since 1996 the Raiders have won 4 times as many playoff games as Dallas.

    Gotta embrace the ‘new era’.

  • RAIDERMAN99

    Gone is the rap songs at practice…
    =======================================
    Good for Schiano. Rap is crap.

  • Dakota

    Beat them down Dennis Allen! These dingle berries can use a little discipline! Rob Ryan tried pizza parties and Tom Cable tried choreographed dance lessons….forget that crap and grind them into the ground and let the survivors play!

  • guest123

    I disagree with removing the rap. So you don’t care for it, but the younger generation gets some sort of motivation for it. If it loosens them up and gets them ready to play fierce as well as builds comraderie, I’m all for the rap at practice. While I don’t listen to rap either, you got to let the young pups be pups. They got a lot of energy and they just need it channeled.

  • J Hill

    I read things like accountability on being on time to meetings.

    How is that beating them down?

    I think there will be penalties for breaking rules like that up to being cut.

  • TxRaider210

    Dakota Says:
    July 30th, 2012 at 7:11 am
    Beat them down Dennis Allen! These dingle berries can use a little discipline! Rob Ryan tried pizza parties and Tom Cable tried choreographed dance lessons….forget that crap and grind them into the ground and let the survivors play!

    —————
    LMAO@ dingle berries!

  • guest123

    I also disagree strongly with the idea of beating them down. We are already paper thin at so many positions going into the season. Once we get down to the cast of survivors left, we’ll be primed to be bottomfeeders on the way to a 2-14 season. But if if makes you happy that only the strong survived, I guess that’s your perrogative.

  • J Hill

    Can the play classical or reggae???

  • TxRaider210

    Dennis is going to get these DB’s playing ball, maybe Reg can offer his insight to our LB corp…

  • Just Fire Baby

    Dennis Allen kind of referenced cutting guys if need be to send a message.

  • Just Fire Baby

    I’m for the hip-hop beats being used (like instrumentals and stuff) to get the guys’ swagger going.

    But we don’t need them not paying attention to what their doing, because they are rapping along with it, talking about getting high and making it rain and such.

  • Marks hair

    Time to make it happen DA. Go Raiders!

  • guest123

    Being on time for meetings and accountability are all proper and DA should accept no qualifiers to his rules. But the season is long and he’s got to be smart about how he pushes his guys. It’s a thin line between pushing a man to his limits and overextending the limits to a mode that causes danger of injury.

  • TxRaider210

    All I can ask for out of RM and DA, is to put the best players on the field each week.

  • Dakota

    If you are a lazy POS bringing the team down there is no longer a dark angel protecting you from above.

    Now there is just a giant former player who will crap on your face if you open your mouth to biotch and complain.

    LONG LIVE REGGIE!

  • Marks hair

    134. It sounds like he wants discipline, but im not hearing about him pushing too hard..

  • J Hill

    what do you mean by “pushing his guys”?

    I think the new CBA prevents things like that.

  • Dakota

    You want to get drunk on the plane to away games? Al Davis was cool with it, but Reggie and Dennis will fk you up!

    LONG LIVE REGGIE!

  • guest123

    C’mon now, we are just starting camp and already talking about lazy POS’s? It’s a bit early dontcha think? Let’s let DA determine that score.

  • RAIDERMAN99

    Predicting the first camp fight:

    This is tough to do – there’s so many possibilities.

    I’m gonna go with Houston vs. Bergstrom.

    Lamar figures to be getting a little frustrated over possibly losing playing time to a returning Matt.S, a continually emerging Bryant, Tollefson, and the long looks guys like Crawford, Bilukidi, Ivey and others are likely to get.

    Lamar is the type of guy that doesn’t hesitate to throw down.

    Bergstrom has the mauler reputation and plenty to prove as the top draftee.

    Look for Mr. Houston to win by TKO, get chastised by DA and interviewed by Romonowski.

    Damn, I love football.

  • Dakota

    140.guest123 Says:
    July 30th, 2012 at 7:30 am
    C’mon now, we are just starting camp and already talking about lazy POS’s? It’s a bit early dontcha think? Let’s let DA determine that score.
    ++++++++++++++++

    9 straight years of missed playoffs and you don’t think we might have a few lazy POS on the team? You are kidding right?

  • TxRaider210

    Reg still should have made Criner do 200 push-ups for his weekend blunder.lol

  • J Hill

    NL West is up for grabs!!!!

  • guest123

    I think the new CBA prevents things like that.

    *********

    Not really. It eliminated two-a-days, but the one practice they have now is longer than a typical practice. Some coaches have said that it’s better for the players if they had two-a-days where they could put in the work in shorter segments and recover. But the players voted for the single practices in the new CBA.

  • bcz24

    Whats up gentleman. Welcome to the New Era. What are some of your camp predictions (surprise players, surprise cuts, things of that nature)? I think, and I have no reason for this other than it just being a gut feeling, that Ed Wang will challenge Barnes for RT… He will probably be amongst the first cut now, but my prediction is made!

  • guest123

    9 straight years of missed playoffs and you don’t think we might have a few lazy POS on the team? You are kidding right?

    ********

    No doubt, but even the lazy ones can see the writing on the wall and wise up. Give them all a clean slate (except Slo) and let them foul up in front of DA. Let’s see who worked during the last 6 weeks and who got high and vacationed. It’s gonna be all apparent right there on the practice field. It’ll show like a sore thumb.

  • Dakota

    There is still a heap of garbage left over from Al Davis that either needs to be thrown out, or needs to be recycled into professional players.

    Branch
    McClain
    Barnes
    Curry
    Huff

    Just to name a few.

    Get it together and start producing or you are gone after this season once Reggie has some room to maneuver.

  • guest123

    My surprise prediction for camp is that Tony Bergstrom is going to usurp starting LG Cooper Carlisle, and possibly to an early retirement.

  • Method To My Madness

    Rob_raider Says:
    July 29th, 2012 at 10:34 pm
    Method To My Madness Says:
    July 29th, 2012 at 9:44 pm
    Seymour Bush Says:
    July 29th, 2012 at 9:13 pm
    Excuses Glenn….the dline is the main problem…..we dont have a NT…our UT is at LDE…Our RDE is really a LDE…our current NT is better served as a UT or LDE and our UT is a bum
    =================================

    I don’t agree that everyone is out of position. The players that seem to be out of position are 55 and Mitchell. And I mean they are out of position when it comes to making a play. One point I will make is we need to go with an 8 man Dline rotation. I think we had 6 last year. Guys wore out midway through last season and that has happened the last few years.
    ********************

    Yeah well you dont have to agree with fact…most dont in this world

    Mitchell plays the run perfect…and if McClain had better DTs in front of him he would be alot better

    __________________________

    sorry but ur simply wrong here. mcclain is basically a punk. he likes to body slam little guys but he won’t get after guys his size or close to it. you need to record the games and rewatch plays over and over, watching individual players. it also helps to know the positions are supposed to be played. mcclain doesn’t fly to the ball and remain on the inside shoulder of the ball carrier. thomas howard used to do the same thing.

    our DL is actually pretty good. seymour is a hall-of-famer. his penalties last year were stupid and he may be slowing down though. kelly is very good. makes a LOT of tackles for a DT. our LB’s have been horrendous for years. no discipline and no instinctiveness and no aggressive flying to the ball. mcclain is on the hot seat for a reason. he has shown flashes and he played much better in the 2nd half last season so there’s hope, but again, when ur a punk, ur weak in the face of equal competition. i’m not a believer. i hope he surprises me. curry has great athleticism and shows the willingness to actually go thru traffic and smack someone. he just may not have the greatest instincts. i’m hoping he improves. wheeler is a solid real LB. not great but a decent player. when i say “real LB’, i mean a guy who flies to the ball and shows ability to go thru traffic and keep his proper angle. we have had too many guys sitting back on their heels, like mcclain, or running way past their angle like howard used to. that’s why i really like burris. he shows a lot of playmaking instinct and desire. a real LB. and goethel playes like that too. not sure if he’ll be the same though. and don’t sleep on stupar. he’s nothing flashy but he plays the position properly. he played on an excellent defense at PSU and i wouldn’t be surprised to see him emerge eventually.

    actually, chaz powell comes from that same PSU defense, as does crawford. they all may stick.
    *************************

    I go to every game and see what you dont see Rob!….if you knew football then you know no MLB will play well with lackluster DTs. That is the main issue with McClain.Dont take no shot at me btch with your barely come posting ass! Comparing McClain and Howard shows how much of a fool you are.

    Our Dline has been awful.Seymour is a HOF for his play in NE not here! You going off reputation and its sad. Kelly is one dimensional and needs to be cut. He hardly ever makes plays in the run game at or behind LOS.

    LB play hasnt been good but DL is worse. First line of the defense is the DL…thats why the defense stinks.

    McClain is much better than Kirk….a punk? Naw never…he slow at times and you basing on slamming the Rams guy one time as evidence he only hits smaller guys is lame….all of the fkin guys he tackles except TEs he is bigger than! You want him to let little guys do him bad?