Raiders coach Jack Del Rio was a guest on the The Jim Rome Show Monday. A transcript of the interview:
Q: Since you’ve been hired I’ve spoken to a number of former Raiders who are excited about you being hired, how does it feel to be the Raiders head coach?
Del Rio: It’s a little bit of a dream come true. I grew up in Hayward, which is about 10 miles away. So being able to come home to a storied franchise like this, and the welcome that I’ve had from the Raider Nation, it’s been awesome.
Q: What made you think this would be a good spot for you?
Del Rio: I just feel like this is an opportunity to come in here and put my imprint and develop this team and bring ’em back. It has a rich tradition. The cupboard is not bare. There are some good players here and certainly we’ve got work to do to bring in more competition and more talent and then to coach ’em up and get ’em ready. but I’m excited about the challenge.
Q: What kind of an attitude will Jack Del Rio’s Raiders play with?
Del Rio: We want to have a smart, tough football team that plays with a lot of passion. I’ve been a part of this league, this great league, for almost 30 years now and for me that’s what it’s all about. There’s a mentality, there’s a mindset that you have to have when you go after people on Sundays and you do it together, and when you get that going, you can become more the sum of your parts. You’re going to add up, you’re going to get people, you’re going to collect ’em, but it becomes a team and when you share a vision and when you go out there and you fight together for each other you can accomplish special things.
Q: At 3-13 it would seem like the team is a long way from where you want it to be. Is that the case or do you see this thing turning around pretty quickly?
Del Rio: I’m not very patient, so we’re going to need to turn it around quickly. I don’t expect to come in here and look for excuses why we can’t get it done. I’m going to look for reasons why we will. I was visiting with Kenny Norton, and obviously we got Kenny done and got him here and I reminded him of how we were in Dallas in ’89 when we were playing together and that team was 1-15. And if you look at how many players three years later were hoisting a Super Bowl trophy, a good number of those players were on that roster at that time. So you just can’t look and come into a situation like this and dismiss and say there are no players there. There are players on every team across the league that can play. Our job is to add to those players, some quality, some competition, some structure, and then strive for the excellence.
Q: Mark Davis said when the two of you sat down, you gave your assessment of every offensive player, so as an opposing defensive coordinator, when you watch film of Derek Carr, what did you see?
Del Rio: First of all, it wasn’t just the offense, it was the entire roster. It was the defense, it was special teams, it was everything. So I prepared for that meeting. Obviously having played against them twice, it helped in terms of knowing what their offense was about. Carr is a special young talent. He’s got a really quick release. He’s a good decision maker. He shows some of that grit we’re looking for,. that toughness. And so he’s a guy that we feel like we have an opportunity to build around.
Q: You said after nine years in Jacksonville you needed a little rejuvenation. What did you mean by that and what process did you go through personally?
Del Rio: You invest so much. You put your heart and soul into something and it doesn’t pan out the way you had hoped. So just getting a little bit of time. It was enough, to get a little time, to kind of collect myself, to be in Denver and be with a tremendously successful organization and be part of the last three seasons, a lot of victories, a lot of happy Mondays. That was very rejuvenating. It brought me back, reminded me why I do this and what I love about this, going and competing every Sunday and now there’s a new opportunity in front of me and I’m very excited about it.
Q: You pointed out Bill belichick and Pete Carroll were better after their first stints as head coaches. How much of that was about them ending up in a better situation perhaps or how much was it them philosophically learning and growing and does it apply to you?
Del Rio: I like to think it will apply to me. I do believe that you learn in life, you learn from experiences you have in life. Certainly I think it’s been proven that those two guys adjusted to things the second time around. I plan on taking full advantage of the experience and the opportunities, some good, some not so good. Some that I’m proud of, some that I’m not proud of. But you learn from it and you understand where you made mistakes, where you did things well and you build on that. Going forward, anybody that’s been through those experiences should benefit and be able to impart some of that wisdom to the franchise.
Q: Did the topic of where the franchise would ultimately be come up with Mark Davis? Any chance you might ultimately coach the L.A. Raiders?
Del Rio:: Those discussions absolutely came up. My question was, `Are we going to stay in Oakland?’ He said, `my intent is to keep the team there.’ Look, I’m from this area. That was exactly what I wanted to here. He’s trying to keep the team here and hopefully that will happen.
Q: Any issue if you have to move to L.A.?
Del Rio: I went to school at Southern Cal. If that has to happen, it has to happen. But right now we’re here, committed to being here and I’m looking forward to getting the Raiders back to where they belong.