Raiders Paul Guenther Excited about Defense
A young Raiders team is going through a different offseason due to the protocols in place for COVID-19.
"I'm really excited about the new group," said Guenther, who is entering this third season as the defensive coordinator. "I look back in 2018, we opened up against the Rams on Monday Night Football and not one of the starters is with us anymore in that starting lineup, so we rebuild the engine here with some new, young talent.
Over the last two years, the Raiders have drafted well for defensive players and brought in critical acquisitions through free-agency.
Guenther has been impressed on how his players have retained information through Zoom meetings. His players have picked up the system, the schemes and the techniques of everything that he is trying to do and getting his players prepared, so when they get the opportunity to get on the field, they will speed up the defense.
Over the last few years, he recalls going to his call sheet and couldn't put individual players' critical parts of the game due to the lack of depth and knowledge of his defense.
For once, he feels that he has the pieces in place to pick and choose his spots in any situation given.
"First thing I noticed is that we're much faster on defense, we got some good rushers, we have some good cover guys and that's what you need in this league to be successful," Guenther added.
"I've been around Geno Atkins a long time in his career and Maliek reminds me a lot of Geno Atkins; he might be our best acquisition this offseason from what I have seen -- he's been tremendous," said Guenther, who coached Atkins for eight seasons in Cincinnati.
Collins, who has worked under defensive line coach Rod Marinelli in Dallas, knows his scheme and can help teach the younger players on the defensive line.
The Raiders already have their core players on defense with Clelin Ferrell, Maxx Crosby, and offseason acquisitions Cory Littleton and Nick Kwiatkoski. Still, without the preseason games, they need to find other ways to work out the other guys, who might need more practice and a bit more looks with the pads on.
One of those players Guenther has been impressed by is undrafted free agent Javin White from UNLV.
White has surprised many people in the Raiders organization with the understanding of the defense, and he is one player Guenther is hoping to see on the field a bit more often this training camp.
The Raiders will do their best in selecting the right players and fill in their 53-man roster by the start of the season.
If Guenther is excited about his new defense, Raider Nation should be, too. For the next decade, the Raiders defense looks like it can match anybody in the league, including the reigning Super Bowl champions, the Kansas City Chiefs.
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