Raiders free safety Michael Huff, who has been a lightning rod of both praise and criticism for fans since the team selected him with the No. 7 overall pick in the 2006 draft, said the Raiders were running a "real defense" under new coach Dennis Allen. Obviously, those would be strong words for late owner Al Davis.
"Obviously, we're learning a new defense," Huff said following Wednesday's practice in Day 2 of the Raiders' three-day mandatory minicamp. "We're just looking forward to playing for a defensive head coach, getting to play a real defense. So, I'm definitely looking forward to that this year."
Wait, what? A "real" defense, meaning what, exactly?
"Well, nothing personal but, obviously, before with Al, rest in peace, he had his hands in all the defense. He had all his little things he liked to do. Now, with D.A. out there, we've got all kinds of blitzes. We've got 3-4, 4-3 fronts. Just a lot of different variety and a lot of different things going on.
"So, I'm going to love it."
In years past, the Raiders defense was as predicable as the team's colors in that they'd run a 4-3 scheme with a man-to-man philosophy and very little, if any, blitzing.
"Everybody knew," what the Raiders were going to do on defense, Huff said. "I’m in the middle of the field, I’m in the post, we’re pretty much man-to-man on the outside, it was pretty simple. We really didn’t blitz much. We let our front four get after them. That’s how it was, so we dealt with it."
"We don’t want pre-snap, them knowing what we’re in," Huff said. "So, the main thing is, they have to learn as the QB drops back, still guessing what we’re in, kind of learn on the fly…and then hopefully our front four will get after them."
Huff also said the new scheme is much more aggressive under Allen and new defensive coordinator Jason Tarver.
"A lot more," he said. "He came from Denver, he was with the Saints when they were blitzing. That’s his M.O. He wants to blitz, get after the quarterback and just make plays. He puts us in position to make plays so that’s what we have to do.
"I watched Denver, I watched the Saints and I watched San Francisco (when) J.T. was out there. We watched a lot of Dashon Goldson and he had success in that defense. I’ve been watching him and just trying to learn everything. It’s my seventh year but I’m still learning, just trying to learn from everything and be the best."
Huff is also looking at former Raiders defensive back Charles Woodson as a role model, of sorts, in a myriad of roles in the secondary. Even if the two never played together in Oakland.
"That’s what it seems like, just a lot of variety and doing it all," Huff said. "You never know where he’s going to line up at. He’s just out there making plays. Hopefully I’ll kind of emulate him and play like him."
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