Monday I wrote a piece in which I pointed out that Jack Del Rio has a great amount of respect across the league among coaches and players. In the past few hours since the news came down Del Rio was to be the Raiders next head coach, several of his former players have come out in support of him.
The first was Broncos defensive tackle Terrance Knighton who played under Del Rio in Jacksonville and followed him to Denver. He had told the AP recently that he would follow Del Rio wherever he went. Then today, he was the first to make some very strong statements about his now former Defensive Coordinator and Head Coach.
"The Raiders are getting a great damn coach," said Knighton in a Tweet Tuesday. "He will revive that locker room and organization."
Knighton is scheduled to be a free agent this off-season so it's possible he could indeed follow his former coach to Oakland.
It wasn't long before more Broncos players began offering their public support for Del Rio. Linebacker Brandon Marshall came out and congratulated his former DC on his new position, adding "The Raiders got better".
Marshall will be a restricted free agent this off-season.
The most glowing endorsement yet came from Marcellus Wiley who played the final two seasons of his NFL career in Jacksonville under Del Rio. He contacted local Bay Area radio station, 95.7 The Game to talk about his former coach.
"I don't like Jack, I LOVE me some Jack," said Wiley emphatically.
"He was one of the better balanced coaches in terms of emotions and in terms of how to handle his team than I've seen in my career. And I've played for some great ones -- Marty Schottenheimer, Bill Parcels, Marv Levy, etc. Let me say this about Jack Del Rio; he knows how to be 'the players' coach' and really have the guys understand his terminology, his way, his philosophy. But he also has a balancing act of having that firm hand that you need in those moments that you need it.
"I've always been a fan of Jack Del Rio knowing that when he got his chance once again, he would succeed there probably even moreso... with a storied franchise like the Raiders, knowing him as I know him, he gets my full endorsement, and I think that everyone in the Bay Area is going to be happy with the results."
"He was always a coach, without being 'rah rah' was also a coach that knew how to hone in on that focus, hone in on that energy and bring it all to culmination on game day. That was one thing we all got excited about. And you just talk about that philosophy. I like the fact that he never had too much fat on his philosophy. And some coaches over coach. Some coaches coach for production so that other people can see 'hey, look at him on the sideline. Looks like he's coaching. Look at him yelling at everyone.' And I've always laughed at the coaches that I see yelling at everybody on Sundays because the days you're supposed to be yelling is on Wednesday and Thursday. And if you're not yelling on those days, it's almost too late. So, just tell us what to do, trust in us, and let us go out and prepare and play as men.
"So, you look at what he brings to the table, the obvious experience and the credibility that comes from that and then more than that knowing how to deal with the egos in the room, knowing how to make sure the situation is properly managed. He's just a tremendous guys who's getting a tremendous opportunity once again to show everybody he's a great coach. And he had a long tenure in Jacksonville and now I think he gets to continue that and do it at a bigger level with the Raiders."
That's some high praise. Wiley is free to gush as he is no longer employed by an NFL team. It sounds as if those players he coached who are still currently in the NFL would say more if they could.