MOBILE, Ala. -- Coaching in the 2013 Senior Bowl is a responsibility Oakland Raiders head coach Dennis Allen and Detroit Lions coach Jim Schwartz take very seriously.
Schwartz and Allen will square off in the Senior Bowl on Saturday afternoon, but in the five days leading up to the game, the two coaches will continue to focus on teaching the players the ways of the National Football League.
“You feel a sense of responsibility that that’s part of your job and that’s part of the reason why we’re here,” Allen said following Tuesday’s practice. “For us, as the Oakland Raiders, we want to get an opportunity to evaluate these players and see what makes them tick, both as a football player and as an individual.
“We’ve got an opportunity to teach them what it takes to be a football player in the National Football League. There’s a higher sense of activity that you’ve got to do to be successful in the National Football League. You’ve got to really increase what your expectations are of yourself because the expectations of the organization you’re going to go to are going to be greater than anything you’ve experienced so far.”
Counting the 2013 Senior Bowl, Schwartz has now been on the sidelines for the annual all-star game five times in his NFL coaching career. It is the second time he has been down to Mobile with his staff from the Lions.
When describing the week of practices, study sessions and interviews with players, Schwartz said there are “a lot of different objectives.”
“One is to get the players ready for a game on Saturday,” Schwartz said. “Number two is to highlight the players, give them a chance to show their athletic ability. Give them a chance to make a play, not just in the game on Saturday, but also in the practice. Those two things go hand-in-hand.
“We do have insight into how well guys can handle themselves and are picking things up both on the field, and also, off the field. There’s a lot of things for these guys to do. They have a lot of media responsibilities, a lot of scout commitments. So far, they’ve all handled themselves well, and it’s reflected well on their professionalism. That’s one of the things they’re being evaluated on.”
RICH CROP OF LINEMEN
Through the first two practices of Senior Bowl week, the North team coaches have worked in several offensive linemen at different positions, including former University of Wisconsin standout, Ricky Wagner. Wagner has worked at right tackle, opposite Central Michigan’s Eric Fisher, who has bookended the line at left tackle.
“It’s a good situation to be in,” Allen said. “You look at our 53-man roster, and I’d like to be in that situation every week during the regular season. It’s a good situation there. They’re good football players. We’ve got a lot of good football players, and it’s exciting to watch them work. It’s exciting to watch them grow as the week goes on.”
Allen said Fisher has stood out because of “his footwork, his athleticism.”
“He’s obviously a very big man, but to be that agile and that athletic at the offensive tackle position is pretty impressive,” Allen said.
Allen said the players put in a good day’s work during Tuesday’s practice.
“I thought today’s practice was even better than yesterday’s practice,” Allen said. “It’s a good thing for us as a football staff that we get to work with these guys and really get a chance to find out a little bit more about them as individuals.”