In 2017, the Raiders defense may give NFL offenses a little bit more to think about.
Recently, second-year starting strong safety Karl Joseph talked about how this year’s defense, under coordinator Ken Norton Jr. and special assistant John Pagano, may use more disguised looks at the line of scrimmage.
Joseph, in fact, indicated that Oakland’s pass coverage in 2016 may have been too easy to read. When the team reports to training camp July 27, Joseph expects he and his fellow defenders to continue to sharpen their communication and execution on defense, which could include giving different disguised looks to opposing quarterbacks.
Said Joseph, to Kyle Martin of the Raiders website, during June team workouts:
“We’ve been doing a lot of that stuff, disguising our coverage, and I think we’re a big step ahead of where we were last year around this time.”
During organized team activities this spring, Joseph was asked specifically about disguised schemes and said, “Yeah, that’s something we got pretty comfortable with at this OTA and minicamp. I think we got a lot better than we were last year already. We still got a lot of work to do, but I think we’re moving in the right direction right now as far as that.”
Pagano, who came to the Raiders this offseason after a long stint as defensive coordinator of the Chargers, figures to be a big help, having studied Oakland’s defense and played against it twice each season. So, too, is Raiders quarterback Derek Carr. Joseph says he speaks often with Carr about what he sees.
“I talk to D.C. sometimes after practice like, ‘What did you see in some of our disguises?’ I think him being one of the best quarterbacks in the league, a lot of our disguises, he’ll pick it up, but just a regular quarterback wouldn’t be able to pick it up,” Joseph told Martin. “He’s been very helpful for that, too, when I ask him, like, ‘What did you think you saw there?’ I think we’ve been pretty good, me and Reggie (Nelson) and Obi (Melifonwu) and Keith (McGill) and all the safeties. We’ve been pretty good as far as disguising.”