Both owner Mark Davis and general manager Reggie McKenzie were in attendance with Del Rio, and both made it very clear that it was both of their decisions to hire him.
Davis and McKenzie used almost a blitzkrieg attack to the coaching search, splitting up and interviewing as many people as they could, or as McKenzie put it “casting a wide net to interview coaches.” They both agreed that Del Rio emerged as the best possible candidate for the job.
“Coach Del Rio has the experience, and the success as a proven head coach,” McKenzie said.
After a quick introduction by Davis and McKenzie, it was Del Rio’s chance to take the stage.
The 21st head coach of the Oakland Raiders was impressive, carrying himself well and appearing confident. The veteran leader talked of wanting to bring back the “toughness” that is necessary in the sport, and with the Raiders. And McKenzie agreed.
“Jack Del Rio will bring toughness, discipline, and passion that this organization values. Coach Del Rio is a true Raider,” McKenzie said of his new head coach.
Del Rio is confident that he’s the man to bring the once-proud organization.
“I’m excited to join this group of men and pursue the idea and the goal of bringing back the Raiders to greatness,” Del Rio said in the press conference. “This is an organization has been an excellent organization for a number of years, and it’s fallen on some hard times recently, but the foundation is in place for us to be great again.”
Throughout the press conference, the new coach emphasized the word “we” as a whole instead of making the press conference about him.
“I’d like to look at this moment, as not really about me, even though I’m being introduced as head coach, it’s more about ‘we’,” Del Rio said. “I’d like to think about this as a unifying moment in the course of the history of the Raider Nation, where this football team, this organization, this family, Reggie and I, unified in building this roster strong; unified in assembling a very strong coaching staff and unified in doing everything in our power to make everybody that’s a part of this organization proud.”
One of Del Rio’s first goals is the change the culture of the locker room.
“We want to create a winning culture, and a winning culture is one in which everyone comes to work every day excited to be there,” Del Rio said. “A winning culture where people are looking forward to going into work, where they understand the sacrifice that is needed. If we all sacrifice for each other, we can accomplish great things.”
Davis says he met with Del Rio first a couple of Sundays ago, and mentioned that he was likely looking for an offensive coach. At that point, Del Rio said “woah, woah, woah, I know offense too,” according to Davis. Davis says Del Rio then met with Davis and told him all about the Raiders offense and its players.
Del Rio also plans to get the Raiders back to doing the basics, as it’s “always necessary” to get back to the basics. Whether it’s in shorts or in pads, the team must get back to the fundamentals of the game.
“It’s always necessary to go back to the basics,” Del Rio said. “It is one of my core beliefs, that you don’t ever forget about the fundamentals. You need to work on the fundamentals, and that is not something that goes away when we are in shorts practices.”
Now that Del Rio is officially hired, his next task is to assemble a staff and look at the roster to determine how to move forward with the players.
Let’s just hope that he can be a coach that can stay for awhile, after being named the fourth head coach in just six years.