SAN DIEGO -- For 15 years, John Pagano worked as a defensive coach for the Los Angeles Chargers, including the last five as the team’s defensive coordinator.
But in January the team moved on from Pagano when they let head coach Mike McCoy go. And Pagano landed with the Chargers’ AFC West rival as the assistant head coach/defense for the Oakland Raiders.
Ken Norton Jr. remains the defensive coordinator and play caller in Oakland, and the Raiders will remain a 4-3 base team. However, Pagano offers a fresh look at how they do things on the defensive side of the football.
“I think the big thing in just talking to Jack [Raiders head coach Jack Del Rio] is I’m another set of eyes and a different perspective,” Pagano told Xtra 1360 Fox Sports Radio. “To be able to help with those types of things -- to be able to help the guys on the defensive staff implement that plan we’re putting in place -- you also learn new things.
“You learn how guys do things differently, and you keep growing in this process. I think the big thing is to help and keep improving our communication as a defense. I know that was one of the first responsibilities coming in here was to be able to help in those things, and be able to listen and hear.”
Pagano also said he will be relaying how he did things against the Raiders while with the Chargers, including conversations with quarterback Derek Carr on the chess match between Pagano and Oakland’s offense on game day.
“Anytime you come into a new organization like this, you have an opportunity to truly grow as a professional,” Pagano said. “I look at it as a great opportunity for myself to see how it’s done from a different perspective, from the draft meetings to the evaluation process to how we set up practices.
“It’s always a win-win when you get somebody new, especially someone that’s in the same division that you play twice a year,” Pagano added. “So it’s been good. It’s been fun.”