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Jack Del Rio message to Raiders after firing of Ken Norton Jr: ‘Nobody should feel comfortable’

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New York Jets v Oakland Raiders Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

This is what a losing team does. ‘Heads roll’ as they say. A team that goes from surging to 12-4 and a trip to the playoffs one season to a discombobulated 4-6 squad requires answers. If there were easy answers we’d have them. So, somebody pays the price. That somebody was Ken Norton Jr.

“I just felt that a change was needed,” Del Rio said Wednesday. “It wasn’t easy to do. In fact, it was very difficult to do. I really felt like I needed to shake things up. We couldn’t continue doing what we’ve been doing to this point. I made the call.”

Of all the difficult decisions to make, this was the easiest. With the addition of John Pagano in the offseason, the writing was on the wall for Norton. With another former Defensive Coordinator in the building, Norton was the place to look for a move to be made.

The Raiders defense has been among the worst in the league during Norton and Del Rio’s tenure in Oakland. Last season the offense was able to outscore what the defense gave up, so he got a temporary reprieve. What that tells you is the main difference has not been the defense, it’s been the offense. The defense simply didn’t improve. Then again, with zero free agent additions and absolutely no help from the draft class, that was pretty much to be expected.

“Listen, I know one thing: Nobody should feel comfortable because what I’ve been watching is not good enough,” said Del Rio. “Nobody should feel comfortable.”

Bill Musgrave found that out this offseason after scheming the offense to one of the NFL’s elite units only to be let go in the offseason.

One thing we discussed about Derek Carr’s progress after the 2015 season was that he was on an upward climb and having the same offensive staff heading into 2016 would project that to continue. And it certainly did. Now with the Musgrave out and Downing taking over, Carr has looked like he’s taken a step back to his rookie season, perhaps worse because that season he didn’t have nearly the weapons he has now.

Everyone is out of sync. On both sides of the ball. It’s amazing to think how we got here from where the Raiders were a season ago. It stinks top to bottom.

“We all share [the blame], all of us, starting with me,” said Del Rio. “It’s coaches and players, it’s a team game. We’re all in it together. Nobody is coming to help us.”

So, now what? What does this move accomplish now 11 games into the season? What does Del Rio hope comes from it?

“What I’m looking for at the end of the day is to play fast on defense,” Del Rio continued. “We weren’t playing fast enough. We weren’t playing confident enough.

“You’re not going to reinvent the playbook after 10 weeks, 11 weeks,” he continued, adding that the Raiders aren’t “going to completely reinvent [the] playbook.”

Well, based on what we’ve seen and heard, the system the Raiders are running is coming more from Del Rio than Norton, so you’d have to assume that would continue. Though if they don’t implement some new wrinkles from Pagano as they get set to face their former offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave, they’re just asking for trouble.