Building a winning football team in the NFL takes a lot of things; effort, talent, chemistry, energy, and a little luck too. The new coaching staff led by Jack Del Rio is trying to build their Oakland Raiders team the right way by concentrating on all of these things and changing the feeling around the ball club.
There has been a lack of excitement around this Raiders team for a long time. They had a couple years under Tom Cable and Hue Jackson where the chemistry and energy was starting to come back around but that plummeted back down with the Dennis Allen era of the Raiders. Out with the old and in with the new though and the Raiders staff believes that they are creating the right kind of environment around this team now.
Jack Del Rio believes that the energy around this team is being noticed and believes that the fact that every player who visited in free agency has signed with the team is proof. That is an interesting point to make, it might have been hard to get players through the doors but once they did the players agreed to terms each time this off-season.
"Everybody that came in and visited with us signed with us,’’ Del Rio said to the Sporting News at the NFL's annual meetings, "so they could feel the vibe, they could feel the energy, they could see the energy taking place on the field.’’
The off-season is still very early and the Raiders are not nearly done forming their roster for next year, there are still decent free agents available such as WR Michael Crabtree who is set to visit the team next week and they still have the draft to do too. It will be interesting to watch this team develop under Coach Del Rio, the man talks a good game anyway and has his staff saying the right things too.
The Raiders strength and conditioning coach Joe Gomes is as far as you need to travel to see some more evidence of the energy and excitement that this Raiders staff wants. When you hear quotes from this guy it even makes me want to go to the gym and I am not an athlete in any sense of the word. Joe comes highly recommended to Jack Del Rio after a strong resume of helping some of the top players entering the draft for their NFL Combines from 2007 to 2010. He has an uplifting, individualized approach that is fresh and new for this club.
"It’s not what it takes to be a good athlete once, it’s what it takes to be a great athlete for their entire career," Gomes said on Raiders.com, "This is what we’re looking for, to build a system around the player that is going to help them perform not just for the game, not just for the season, but for their entire career here within the Raider organization. That’s our responsibility."
It is a responsibility that Coach Del Rio knows well from his years of experience playing in the NFL and so it is no wonder that he ended up hiring Joe Gomes for the strength and conditioning of his team. These two seem like a great fit with each other and the Raiders organization is hoping that it pays dividends and creates wins. It is just one of many important relationships but it is exciting to watch the chemistry build for this team and each one of these staff members matter to that chemistry.
Gomes agrees with Del Rio though, the environment around the team is definitely changing and its for the better. These players have seemed to have built quality friendships with each other over the years, but now they seem to have a coaching staff more in tune with them as well. It is no accident, it is one of the goals that this staff has and even coach Gomes is thankful for the chance to be a part of this group.
"From the top down, from [Head Coach] Jack [Del Rio] and the front office here and the organization, it’s such a great energy through the entire building now," Gomes said. "For us to be in this training environment is inspiring, and we’re thankful every day for it."
It is all just talk now, it is too early to know if these guys are going to back these words up but it still exciting to think that they might be able to. The fans have been in a dark place for a long time rooting for this perpetually doomed ball club, any reasons to be excited must be appreciated for their own sanity. It's great to have some reasons for being excited about the potential of this team now, it will be even better if they actually back it all up on the field come September.