CM: Jack Del Rio bring 18 years of coaching experience, including the last three after replacing former Raiders head coach Dennis Allen as the Broncos defensive coordinator. What should Raider Nation expect from the coaching style of Del Rio?
CJ: His players love him. He'll re-connect the relationship with between the players and coaches. He'll also cultivate an environment of accountability, which is often an issue with under-perfoming teams in the NFL. He's a defensive guy, so my worry is him finding a suitable OC to continue to develop and accentuate the talent of Derek Carr.
CM: The Denver Broncos have reportedly told all assistant coaches to look for employment elsewhere. Do you see Del Rio bringing any of them into Oakland? Who is most likely to be brought with him?
CJ: That's somewhat of a misconception, based on a premature report. The Broncos have informed their coaches that they are still under contract with the team, but that they are free to look outside the organization and/or accept interviews. I can see Del Rio bringing linebackers coach, Richard Smith and his defensive line coach. He's the most likely to join JDR.
CM: Tons of Broncos defensive players have been vocal about the coaching abilities of Del Rio, none more vocal than free agent Terrance Knighton, who was drafted by Del Rio in Jacksonville. What is it about Del Rio that players love so much?
CJ: He cares about them. And he makes them better. Knighton's career was was resurrected off the scrap heap, when Del Rio reclaimed him, following his release in Jacksonville.
Del Rio is good at cultivating great individual performance. Where he struggles, at times, is at the collective level; as a unit. At the end of the day, Del Rio coached two top-5 defenses in Denver (2012 & 2014). He knows defense. But his history in Jacksonville suggests that offensively, he needs an assistant with a strong track record and an propensity for producing a productive attack.
CM: Rookie linebacker Khalil Mack drew comparisons to Von Miller heading into last year's draft. Del Rio had Miller, and now will have Mack to utilize on defense. How do you see Mack fitting into his new head coach's defensive scheme?
CJ: Similar to how Del Rio deployed Miller in a hybrid OLB/DE "Joker" role. Sometimes Miller would line up with his hand in the dirt, sometimes standing up. But roaming across the line.
Hopefuly Del Rio learned from his failures in putting Miller in coverage on occasion. Miller and Mack belong close to the line of scrimmage, where they can wreak havoc.
CM: The Denver Broncos finished third in the NFL in total defense last year. What kind of defense can Raider Nation expect Del Rio to run? What are some key types of defensive pieces they need to run his defense?
CJ: Del Rio is a 4-3 scheme guy, who likes to rely heavily on zone coverage. In his time in Denver, he wasn't keen on blitzing often, much to the chagrin of Broncos fans. Some would argue, myself included, that he lacked creativity and too often lapsed into predictability.
His first priority will be to stop the run. And force teams into third-and-long situations. So everything will be set up to accomplish that on the early downs.
As far as the pieces, Del Rio needs a behemoth lane clogging defensive tackle, who can two-gap. Look for him to potentially try to recruit Knighton to Oakland. He needs a fast, instinctive weakside linebacker, who can be disruptive on the edges. And corners who excel in zone coverage.