When the Raiders hired former Chargers defensive coordinator John Pagano earlier this offseason, it was with the primary goal of improving a defense that ranked 26th in the NFL.
Pagano, who will be assistant head coach for defense while working with defensive coordinator Ken Norton Jr., was brought in by head coach Jack Del Rio and general manager Reggie McKenzie to give the team some fresh eyes and ideas.
Said McKenzie at the time of Pagano’s hiring: “Bottom line is, that’s a good coach that was available, and I think Jack did a really good job researching and going after the guy he felt that could help us.”
But bringing Pagano aboard also could pay dividends for the Raiders’ offense, too.
This week, Oakland quarterback Derek Carr said he hopes Pagano can make him better. The Raiders already have added more offensive weapons such as wide receiver Cordarrelle Patterson and tight end Jared Cook while also promoting Todd Downing to coordinator, but Carr says Pagano could also boost the Raiders offense, which ranked No. 6 in the NFL in 2016.
Carr told Jimmy Durkin of the Bay Area News Group this week that he can’t wait to spend time with Pagano and pepper him with questions.
“To have a mind where his whole mind was to watch me on film and think, ‘How do I stop him? How do I defeat him? How do I embarrass him?’ and now to go to him and say, ‘What do you have on me? What are your notes? Let me work on those things,’ is something that not a lot of people get,” Carr said.
Plus, the Raiders will add at least one more key piece to the offense over the next week or so, by getting a No. 1 running back. It could be in the form of former Seahawks star Marshawn Lynch – if they can come to an agreement with Seattle at a cost acceptable to the Raiders – or via a pick in the draft, that begins April 27. The Raiders have young running backs DeAndre Washington and Jalen Richard, but need a power back to replace Latavius Murray, who left in free agency.