It appears Stanford Routt is getting some attention from the media these days, and the Oakland Raiders continue to be in the news this offseason while we wait for a new CBA and the chance for our guys to get with either new coaches or the same guys in new positions, Hue Jackson, Chuck Bresnahan, Rod Woodson, Greg Biekert, and Steve Wisniewski.
Still not much new to report, and nothing we didn't already know very well, like the nugget in the title, but go ahead and hit the jump to read on anyway. There's a few choice quotes in the interview, which I'm citing from memory now, but will edit when I listen to it's rebroadcast in an hour or so...
Interestingly enough, when commenting about the possiblity of who might fill a vacancy Nnamdi would create when Routt must assume top dog, he mentioned the same names he did in the other interview, and even one we haven't spoken much about in Joe Porter, and also acknowledged Tim Ryan's guess it would be CJ first: Jeremy Ware, JP, and the young guys we drafted this year. He expressed confidence we would have guys to step up if needed.
Asked about his impression of how Mike Mitchell performed:
"The coaches challenged him... and I believe he did well. His locker is right by mine. We’ve had a lot of talks throughout the season and last year at minicamps and OTAs. There are times he may have been a little discouraged, but in my opinion I thought he did real well. He had good games against Antonio Gates and Vernon Davis in back-to-back weeks."
He noted he was called upon as the Dime corner often, and that he performed well when matched up with some elite TEs.
Routt demonstrated the same ability to recall details from prior seasons that we witnessed in the recent interview, when Tim Ryan cited how well our defense played against Philly in 2009, dialing up a lot more zone than we normally do, and even some blitzing. He noted, "it was like game five or six," and remembered they had some success.
Turns out it was week six, and this LINK is worth it just for the vid with a clearly purple-dranked-out-of-his-brain-jackass taking credit for the victory.
I remember we blitzed the shit outta McNabb and neutralized him from the game. Good thing, too, because we had very little offense outside of Jano and a play where Murphy and Zach Miller reversed roles...
Routt told them they are expected to be physical, and to immediately take away space when asked about what's asked of them in this predominantly man to man role:
"For the most part, they want us to be in the receiver’s face and disrupt them off the ball... It’s just the way we do things. We believe in cutting down all the air. From playing tight coverage and seeing up close, the quarterback is going to have to be pinpoint accurate.
On Kirwan remarking that it must be difficult to straight man up against the three bunch set: "...it is hard as hell to do that..." and Pat Kirwan, laughing, responds: "... but we do it anyways..."
Routt replies: "You took the words, right outta my mouth."
Pittsburgh destroyed us doing this last year, and it does indeed point out a situation in which manning up in coverage is almost certainly suicidal to a team wanting to win and a defense wishing to prevent scores...Note to Al Davis. If anyone can convince Mr. Davis that it's the wrong thing to do in such cases it's Rod Woodson. Pat and Tim noted that Rod's presence on the sideline might be one of the biggest things he'll bring. I have to agree: He will see things no one else does, and our guys will be the benefactors of his wisdom. I can't begin to express how much that excites me for this season, regardless of who he's mentoring along.
Shortly thereafter in the interview, Stanford commented with the 56 out of 60 comment, responding to Ryan's mention of that game against Philly in '09:
...we ran a little bit of zone that game, but predominantly, it's what we do. If we play 60 snaps on defense, at least 56 of those are going to be man coverage. Everyone in the league knows what our game plan is.
Routt had the chance to comment about the opportunity to talk with Rod Woodson in that 48 hour period before the draft when the lockout was lifted, and looks forward to working with him in the future:
During that 24 to 48 hour period when the lockout was lifted, I had several conversations with him. He’s a real cool dude. I can’t wait to actually meet him in person and pick his brain. He’s one of my two favorite cornerbacks of all time, him and Deion Sanders. He’s got a lot to bring to the table and I can hardly wait to have some of it rub off on me.
Well said, Stanford. Neither can we.
Finally, the guys asked Stanford if he believed Jackson and Campbell can provide us with the eleven or so we'll need to contend, and he responded. He sounded kinda like Hue to me when he said "absolutely", with that cool confidence that makes me ready to ram my head into innocent inanimate objects for Raider football:
"Absolutely... Four or five plays the other way last year, and we are 11 and 5 looking at the playoffs..."
Routt was also asked specifically about the run defense and he also said that he believed all eleven guys had to just be more consistent, after Tim Ryan noted that many of Sirius' Raider callers are very educated and pointed out that Groves and Wimbley are more pass rushers than they are full package backers. He was asked if he believed it was a matter of lack of experience, or just getting snaps dropping into coverage and supporting in the run. Like a great teammate, he shared the blame with all eleven teammates, and also noted the youth factor with our Mike backer in McClain, without banging blame on him where it is not due:
We were holding teams to 2.5, 2.7 a rush, stuff like that, not really big games. Then after four plays of stopping the run, stopping the run, stopping the run, it will be a pop, someone will be out of their gap, there will be a missed tackle, the corner won’t set the edge, and it will just explode on one play. Big runs kill your average as a run defense. It’s not just the front seven, it’s all 11 of us, and we need to be more consistent.
I have done almost a complete 180 on Stanford from a year ago, and look forward to big things. Will he justify the fat paycheck? I believe he will. This is yet another factor that makes this season one to watch closely.
Study up on your defensive looks before season and then watch what happens. Look forward to columns on personnel charting our Oakland Raiders play by play in 2011, starting with preseason.