The Oakland Raiders were busy adding more to the defensive side of the ball this offseason and draft and having been through the system now for a year, linebacker Tahir Whitehead is ready for a smoother ride this year.
“I think I learned a great deal of the system. That experience last year, just basically playing 100 percent of the snaps, allowed me to really grasp the system and understand the ins and outs of everything. Now when we’re out there, I’m communicating with Vontaze [Burfict] and he’s like, ‘Okay, dang, you got it.’ So, either one of us, we’re not taking out the brunt of the work, the whole thing and taking on all of that stress. We’re divvying it up and we’re just breaking it up to make it easier on everyone. Like, ‘Look, you give this call, you handle these checks. I’ll handle the other.’ Then everything works a lot smoother.”
Adding players such as Vontaze Burfict and Brandon Marshall has helped Whitehead and others to see how things can work differently.
“Obviously, when you add veteran guys like that with experience that have played a lot of great football in the league – B-Marsh that’s been to a Super Bowl, won the Super Bowl – that’s a major, major bonus. And just the wealth of knowledge that they have being around the league for a long time. That helps the younger guys, that helps themselves to be able to go out there and see it from different sides just picking each other’s brain.”
Whitehead likes having Burfict around because of his knowledge of the system so it can help him understand it more.
“It helps a lot having a guy that is extremely familiar with the scheme for the most part of his career I believe. Six year he was in the system. Being in the system for that length of time, you know the nuances of the defense and all of the checks, all of the calls and just having Vontaze has definitely been a huge help.”
Veteran pieces coming together to sure up the defense and help the Raiders win games will make the fans happy, and Whitehead can’t wait to get started.