Bobby Johnson

NFL TIGHT END COACH - BOBBY JOHNSON

"You can't pay the game back. I try and come in and be the BEST VERSION of me to GIVE BACK to the players and coaches I work with." - Bobby Johnson, tight end coach, Oakland Raiders

PREVIEW:

WATCH THE FULL INTERVIEW HERE

ON EPISODE 40 - INTENSE PASSION:

On Science, NASA is testing a new reusable spacecraft, the 'Dream Chaser', which should be bringing cargo and crews to the International Space Station by 2019. This is just one of the handful of new space ships being put into use in the next few years. Then on What Fuels You, we talk about the idea of being the best version of yourself, to be able to pay back those that made you what you are, and to inspire others to be the best versions of themselves as well. Then on the Update, the date of the RUNDEAD mug is announced and the World's Strongest Coffee gets ready for National Coffee Day on September 29th.

ABOUT BOBBY JOHNSON:

Bobby Johnson is the current tight end coach for the Oakland Raiders and he is an intense fan of the game of football. He joins the podcast to talk about his love of the game and his career as a coach. Plus we discuss what it is like to travel internationally as a team and the rabid fan base of Raider Nation. He also discusses the upcoming move for the team to Las Vegas and his passionate outlook on the life he has because of football.

TRANSCRIPT:

Jeff: It's crazy. The season lasts for like 16 games and it feels like it's gone in a blink of an eye, but then it's back in a blink of an eye. I think that something to do with all of us getting a little too old. The years are going by too quick.

Bobby: I think time moves a lot faster than we want it to. I know the season is not over nearly as long as it seems like to everybody else because I know my vacation goes really fast. I'm not nearly off as long as I'd like to think I am.

Dustin: How long does a vacation last for you?

Bobby: We usually get five to six weeks off. Basically, we are done after the second week of June and then we typically come back the third week of July. It all depends on when your first preseason game is when you determine when you come back. It's typically like the beginning of the fourth week of July is when you come back. Anywhere from five to six weeks depending on when you finish your off season program to when you have your first preseason game. It's a pretty decent chunk of time, but I know it goes by fast.

Jeff: Yeah, totally. How long have you been in football? I know you've now coached for a bunch of pro teams and college, but when did you actually start getting into the game?

Bobby: Well, actually, at the beginning, even the first time I got into the game was as a nine year old. I played youth football, but I was your classic fat kid when I was younger. I could make the weight when I was nine and I never made weight again until I got to high school. I played when I was nine and then did not play again until I was in high school. I was that fat kid that could never make it.
I really got into though in high school. I hadn't played in a long time, but I've always had a passion for the sport. That's when I got into it and I actually chose the high school that I went to because, hey, they've got a football team and I want to play football so that's where I'm going to go, because I was at a ... I don't know what you call it. A school that was from seventh grade all the way through 12th and they didn't have football, so I left after the eighth grade from there to go to a school that had football. That's when I really got into it and, obviously, things turned out well for me.
I had a little bit of an up and down career as a high school football player, broke my arm and didn't play my junior year and things of that nature. Then I come back my senior year and I had gained like 20 pounds and it's like, "You're a lineman now." I had a good senior year, got recruited, wound up getting a college scholarship and it kind of went from there.

Jeff: Who was your team when you were a kid?

Bobby: You know what? I'm going to say this, I'm going to catch some grief. Growing up, when I was rooting college football.

Jeff: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Bobby: Okay, college football. I, for some reason, like Michigan. You know? Growing up in Ohio. I did not really like Ohio State. I think my dad didn't like Ohio State, but we were right in the middle of Ohio State country. I think we liked Michigan a little bit more because for some reason my dad really liked Bo Shambeckler.

Jeff: Yeah.

Bobby: Was with some foreshadowing in my life, Bo Shambeckler is also from a little town just outside of my hometown. Like 10 minutes outside of my hometown. So there was a little bit of a connection there.

Jeff: Oh okay.

Bobby: Growing up pro-wise, I was torn. Once again, it was a weird conflict in the fact that I grew up in the heart of Cleveland Browns territory. So I liked the Browns.

Jeff: Yeah.

Bobby: But when I was a kid, the Steelers were winning Super Bowl. Terrible towels, all that stuff. So I kind of liked the Steelers.

Jeff: Oh hell yeah.

Bobby: I couldn't say it out loud. But once I got to college, I kind of threw out any allegiances and I purely became a fan of the game.

Jeff: Yeah.

Bobby: I've become that way to this day for different reasons.

Jeff: Yeah.

Bobby: But I'm a true fan of the game. I just love the game of football and everything about it. So people ask me now 23 years later, "What are your teams?" All of them.

Jeff: All of them.

Bobby: Except the team I'm playing next week.

Jeff: Right. Exactly.

Bobby: That's the only team I don't like that I refuse to root for that I hope nothing good happens for them. But college football, I could watch every single game right now today and find a reason to love the game whether it be that, diet cokes on that staff to "Wow, I really like what they're doing" on one side of the ball to the other. I really love it, I want to watch this to "Hey, that college town seems like it's got a great day game bar and I'm going to watch this."
Even pro games. I've coached enough players that have gone on other teams now. I can't watch another team and go, "Oh, I don't like them." And I also have a reason to like them, or want to pull for them, or root for them.

Jeff: Yeah.

Bobby: So for various reasons, I'm just a fan of the game. I love football, I love everything about it, and I don't know what I'd do without it.

Jeff: I think that's the best attitude to have in any sports and it's funny that you brought up that you liked specific teams because of your dad, and I think that's a normal addage. A lot of kids see either their father, or their uncle, or someone who is into this sport and they kind of gravitate towards that. But then you make your own decisions as you grow older, but even if you are a die hard fan of a specific team, if you don't love the entire game then you're doing it wrong. Because that's the whole point. It's a sport first and foremost. I mean loyalty is obviously great.

Dustin: And I think that's why everybody likes to tune in for the Super Bowl is because everybody knows that's going to at least, more often than not, going to be like a really fun, entertaining game to watch.

Jeff: Yeah. Exactly.

Bobby: No doubt. That's the thing about it is in my ... I've been coach now for my 23rd season coaching now.

Jeff: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Bobby: And it's funny when ... Whether it be even college football or pro-football, the fan bases that have grasped that mentality of the true passion of the sport, whether it be the spectacle or the actual sport, the combination or whatever. There's certain places you go to as an opponent.

Jeff: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Bobby: You go, "You know what? It's going to be okay today." Because even though they got a really good team or whatever is [inaudible 00:06:23], at least they got a knowledgeable fan base that's not going to be one of those games like, "Ugh, I hate the fans here. All they do is just ..." Because when I was coaching college football, we played at Nebraska and it's a really weird environment in the fact that there's a ton of people there, which is not unusual, but they walk you through kind of a bunch of fans coming out to the field.
You go out there, they kick your ass and then walk into half-time. They're like, "Hey!" And then they're being genuine. "Keep fighting! This is a heck of a game! You guys are playing your butts off!" You're like, "Hey! Hey thanks man!" They're giving words of encouragement. It's almost like a reverse psychology thing. You're like, "Okay, they got to be ..." But they're being genuine.
Green Bay fans are really knowledgeable of the game. You go there and they got a really good team and you're almost like you hate going to places where they have really good teams. Sometimes their fans are jerks, but Green Bay, they're super knowledgeable. They understand the game, they love the game. Green Bay is probably not one of the top 10 tourist destinations in the world, but the people are there for a reason. A lot of them, they're there for the Packers and it makes a great place to go and compete, and that's when you're coaching or playing that's what you're going to do. You live for the competition.

Jeff: Yeah.

Bobby: When you go in somebody else's back yard, and they're knowledgeable, and it's a great environment, it's a great energy, and there's a buzz in the stadium, there's not a better reason to compete in than that. So that's why ... There's certain places, like you said, they kind of get it. There's certain coaches that get it, there's certain players that get it, there's certain fans, certain sports that get it, but it's awesome when you put them all together and you go play at some place, and everybody gets it and it just makes it an absolutely electric environment. That's kind of why you do all the crazy prep we do to coach or play in this profession.

Jeff: Yeah.

Dustin: That's awesome. What would you say out of all those awesome stadiums, if you had to name one your favorite stadium to go to?

Bobby: Oh that's a tough one. That's a tough one. I really, probably ... I'm not going to regret saying this, but people are probably going to be a little bit surprised. It's not even a pro stadium.

Jeff: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Bobby: It's college. I'll tell you what. It's pretty, pretty crazy to go down to the LSU in a night game.

Jeff: Oh.

Bobby: If you're a bucket list guy, that's got to be ... If you're a fan of just sports and putting together a bucket list, I'd say throw that one in there because that's a pretty hair-raising environment. It's night time, they have crazy tailgates, they love, they're passionate about their tigers, it's night time, and it's ... Just the way the whole thing goes from their entrance music to them coming out in their whites at home, it's got to be awesome to be in the stands to watch that.
There's probably another eight or nine I could name in college football, but that one has always resonated with me of just the game day environment. It's been pretty crazy. I also have a bit South Carolina go to their game and the entrance at least of ... It was a 20 something, 2012 Space Odyssey the music comes on and they turn out all the lights, and the fog machines kick on, and these guys are coming out to black strobe lights. I think that one was pretty cool too, but for me it'd probably be LSU night game would be probably the best place to take any game.

Jeff: That's crazy. What a spectacle a lot of teams make it out to be. You, kind of go back to what you were talking about. You were talking about fan bases and stuff like that as well, and you are the current tight end coach of the Oakland Raiders.

Bobby: Yes sir.

Jeff: And talk about fan bases. The Raider Nation is ...

Bobby: The best in the world.

Jeff: Yeah.

Bobby: The best.

Jeff: So rabid, so amazing. How cool is it? I mean cool is probably even a lower word to use, but what is it like to be part of a club like that, that has a fan base that's so rabid?

Bobby: It's surreal to be honest with you. I mean it's ... I cannot, in a brief amount of time, probably or accurately depict you what it's like to be involved with it. They are bar none, bar none, the most passionate fan base in professional football. I can say that without batting an eyelash and that's not because I'm here. I've fought that when I was on a posing teams and had to play against them.

Jeff: Yeah.

Bobby: It's just ... The total package. It's just ... There is not a fan base that represents the identity of a sports organization more so than Raider Nation. We can go to any team, go to any stadium and they are representing hard. They're repping hard, and people know they're coming.

Jeff: Yeah, they are.

Bobby: Al Davis always wanted ... His image of his team was a band of misfits, bullies, just tough guys. It was basically, "Hey, give me all your land in misfit toys and I'm going to make an NFL football team and we're going to kick everybody's ass." That is what the fan base is. It's like, "Hey, if you don't have a team that'll take you because you're just a little too hardcore? Come root for us."

Jeff: Yes.

Bobby: "And you'll fit right in." It just goes. It just works. The first time I got a glimpse of it was we were going to play our first pre-season game, I think it was, my first year in 2015.

Jeff: Okay.

Bobby: And the offices are just over by the airport, which is not too far from the stadium. It's a couple of exits away. There's a strip of hotels right between the highway and the airport where our facility is at, and it's like Thursday. It might have been Thursday. Yeah, Thursday afternoon. I'm driving home and there's people, there's cars backed up out into the street to the hotels. I'm like, "It's Thursday man. This can't be because of the game." I'm driving back Friday morning to go back to the office and there's still lines.
It's people all flying in from LA, Vegas, from all over to come to this game and they were hitting town early and they return to a long weekend.

Jeff: Wow.

Bobby: And it was just like, "Are you shitting me? For a pre-season game? The fans are like this?" And we beat the Baltimore Ravens in the last two minutes of the game in that same year, it's the first time as coach I've ever been some place where I was coaching for a team that we scored. The stadium got so loud, I couldn't hear over the head set.

Dustin: Oh my gosh.

Jeff: Wow.

Bobby: And the place is going bananas. I'm trying to talk to our assistant line coach in booth and we couldn't hear one another.

Jeff: Oh my gosh.

Bobby: We just got ... Derrick had just hit Seth Robertson in the end zone on a two-minute drive to go win the game and the place went absolutely freaking bananas.

Jeff: Oh my gosh.

Bobby: And it was like ... It truly gave me goosebumps.

Dustin: Wow.

Bobby: It gave me goosebumps. I was like, "This is the first time in the NFL I've ever gotten goosebumps. This is just game number two even." So there an awesome fan base, they're behind this 100% of the time no matter where we go. It doesn't matter if it's Mexico City, it doesn't matter if it's Green Bay, Wisconsin, it doesn't matter where we go. They're there, and they're repping hard, and they're intimidating I think there's some other fans that get a little psyched out. Like, "I don't think I'm going to go to the home game this week. I think the Raiders are coming to town and their fan base is a little too out of control. I think we're going to stay home and watch this one on TV." Which happens a lot.

Jeff: That's crazy.

Bobby: Pretty cool. It's pretty cool man.

Jeff: That's really neat to be a part of that. Again, what a spectacle.

Dustin: Yeah. It's got to be electric man.

Jeff: Yeah.

Dustin: It's insane. That's insane. So you mentioned Mexico City. I wonder as a coach, with cities that are such high elevation, do you train differently for situations like that?

Bobby: It's form an X's and O's stand point you know? We're not going to scheme different plays, or things of that nature. But we do alter ... And we don't alter just for that game. When you have something like that come up, the sport science involved at this level anymore is out of this world. I think most people, the common fan would be alarmed, even shocked at the level of sports science. Whether it be the training, the nutrition, the rehabilitation, things of that nature that buildings into playing this game once a week. It is up there with any profession.
But when it goes into a game like that where you're going to train at an elevation, one of the things that helps us is we already play a game every year in elevation because of the Denver Broncos.

Jeff: Right.

Bobby: So we already train from a strengthened condition stand point for that. However, the altitude in Expo City is even higher than that.

Jeff: Yeah.

Bobby: Everything just happens a little bit quicker. We just start our preparation for altitude further out.

Jeff: Gotcha.

Bobby: So what we do is the things that we do, which I don't want to go into great detail because it's a little cutting edge.

Jeff: Yeah.

Bobby: But what we do, we just start it further out. So what we'll do instead of saying if you're going to prepare for a game like that and you start your altitude training three weeks out.

Jeff: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Bobby: We start ours further out, whether it be six ... To be honest with you, what we do with our guys because we do play one altitude game every year is we start with a little altitude training each week from the beginning of the season on and we just kind of crescendo up to peaking prior to those altitude games.

Jeff: I think that's-

Bobby: So we just treat it ... Go ahead.

Jeff: I think that's got to be the smartest way to do it though because I mean you're so worried about your players getting hurt going from altitude to low to high and everything. So I mean, from you telling us that you're spending that much more time, I think that's just ... That's got to be much more safer for the players.

Bobby: Right. Well part of the thing with altitude is one, obviously it's a cardiovascular condition thing, which is why when we start further out we got to do cardiovascular fit anyway, but we start further out. I think with [inaudible 00:16:53] is when you start too close.

Jeff: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Bobby: All of a sudden it becomes a bigger mental hurdle for the players. They're like, "Whoa, you're right. Oh my god. We're going to altitude. What are we going to do? Oh shit."

Jeff: Yeah.

Bobby: Now when you start further out, it's like, "Okay, I'm training for this, not a big deal." The other piece to training in altitude is hydration. Well, because anytime we play east of the Rockies, we leave an extra day early to adjust the time zones and things of that nature.

Dustin: Yup.

Bobby: But one of the things that helps fight jet lag is your hydration levels.

Jeff: Right.

Bobby: You're really supposed to be drinking a bottle of water every hour that you're in the air. So we are keen that we are super hydration conscious. I mean we're constantly over-hydrating probably.

Jeff: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Bobby: But that's a good thing. So that's the other piece of the altitude training is making sure your guys is super hydrated. So those are things that we handle on it. So like I said, most of the things that we do from a training aspect, we kind of incorporate it into our program all year round and we peak it when we need to peak, and you pull back when you need to. But the thing is, none of it also introduced for a particular game. It's just part of our regimen.

Jeff: Right.

Bobby: So it's not as big. So when our guys get to those things, we're like, "Not a big deal."

Jeff: Yeah. They're confident that they're ready. They're have the experience.

Bobby: Very much so.

Jeff: Yeah. They're not freaked out, they're ready to go.

Dustin: Very cool.

Bobby: I'll tell you this. The one thing we did sign out is from the field in Mexico City to the locker room.

Dustin: Yeah?

Bobby: Is a haul. So we have a [inaudible 00:18:19]. We use our trainer every day because there are quite a few coaches that were doubled over and we still had a quarter of the way to go back up to the locker room. We have to start training for that Mexico City half-time run because it's got to be a half a mile.

Jeff: Holy moly.

Dustin: God.

Bobby: So we have some bad shaped coaches. We could use our training now.

Jeff: So NFL has actually been implementing this in the last couple of years. The aspect of international play. Playing in England, playing in Mexico City. Do you think this is good for the sport is to widen it into an international kind of arena?

Bobby: I look at it this way. Let's not kid anybody. As much as I love the game, and as much as excited I am to be in the NFL, and as much as this was a goal for me, the NFL is a business, and it's in the business of making money.

Jeff: Yeah.

Bobby: And that's one thing. If you look at all the sports entities in our country, the NFL is probably the best at making money.

Jeff: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Bobby: It's got it figured out and right now the league and owners are basically printing money. Anything they touch turns to gold and from that aspect, yeah it's great.

Jeff: Yeah.

Bobby: Because they're making money.

Jeff: Right.

Bobby: From a coaches' stand point, we as coaches by nature, we're grumpy.

Dustin: Yeah.

Bobby: We're routine driven.

Jeff: Yeah.

Bobby: We like a routine, you want to stick to your routine, and nothing breaks your routine more than traveling internationally and playing the game.

Jeff: Right.

Bobby: I've had the opportunity to do a couple of international games. To be honest with you, maybe I'm just a little bit different. Some people say I'm crazy, I tend to speak my mind, I will say things that people in the room are thinking about, but are afraid to say.

Jeff: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Bobby: And I'm free spirit. That's how I live my life. To be honest with you, I'm like, "Hey, I appreciate the positive attitude. Hey, there's always going to be something we can find something to complain about. Whatever. Let's just deal with it and move on." I said, "And I'm just a poor kid from Akron, Ohio. Who would've thought I was going to be in London, England because of football?"

Jeff: Right.

Bobby: Or, "Hey, who would've thought I'd be in Mexico City because of football?" I actually interviewed a coach in two football clinics in Japan for a week at a time back in the day. Who else would've thought? "A kid from Akron, Ohio coaching football in Japan?"

Jeff: Yeah.

Bobby: So I think it's great for exposure. If you love the game, you want everybody to love the game. So I think it's great exposure that way. I think the NFL has done a wonderful job marketing it and getting what they want out of it from a financial stand point and exposure standpoint. I think some coaches like myself appreciate it because of the opportunity to travel. Players, I think it's probably 50/50.

Jeff: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Bobby: I think they like the fact that a lot of them probably take the same approach that I do. A lot of them probably come from disadvantaged backgrounds and probably would've never gone to London, England or wherever because of the game of football, and that's really what it's about is the game of football is providing something to a group of men or people that normally would not have had access to that.

Jeff: Yeah, totally.

Bobby: So do I ever think the NFL will spread to those places? Now you're talking about a whole lot of semantics that I think may be a bigger hurdle than having a yearly contest there.

Jeff: Yeah.

Dustin: Yeah.

Bobby: But I think the NFL has done a wonderful job marketing it, I think they made a lot of money, I think they've exposed themselves to the right markets. When we went to play at Mexico City, the amount of Raider Fans were ridiculous. Well, when they did the demographic studies, the number one fan base for the Raiders are Latino males 18 to 35.

Jeff: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Bobby: Well, there are probably not more Latino males 18 to 35 than in Mexico City.

Jeff: Correct.

Dustin: Yeah.

Bobby: And they were rooting for us.

Dustin: Yeah.

Bobby: So at some point, that's going to be the largest part of the population in the United States.

Jeff: Yeah.

Bobby: It seems likely that they get a lot of people ... People a lot smarter than me figuring it all out seems like they got it figured out.

Jeff: Yeah.

Bobby: So I think it's been a good experience, I think they've got what they wanted out of it, I think now they're probably at the point where they just need to decide what they're learning from these experiences. The next step is expanding the league to those foreign cities and that's just something they got to decide whether the players will be willing to go along with that and the coach.

Jeff: Yeah. Speaking of this year actually and your job as a tight end coach for the Raiders, when you guys go to Mexico City this year, you guys are playing the Patriots.

Bobby: Yes sir.

Jeff: I kind of wanted to ask you this question. Because the New England Patriots seem to have be this force in the NFL is how I'll word it in the last couple years. Do you prepare to play that team differently than the rest of the teams in the NFL?

Bobby: I don't know that we prepare differently.

Jeff: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Bobby: I think you're just aware of the issues that playing them presents.

Jeff: Yeah.

Bobby: And what I mean by that is I coached for the Buffalo Bills for two years and the size and the same division as the Patriots. There are certain things. I mean coach Belichick is going to go down as the greatest coach in NFL history and I believe that rightfully so. Whether you like him or not, you can't discredit what he's done.

Jeff: Right.

Bobby: You can grum up all these other deflategate, all these other crazy things. Just look at the wins and losses. The man has one loss.

Jeff: Yeah.

Bobby: And his idea is win. I think he's the best football coach in the history of the NFL. With that being said, you understand a couple things when you deal with that is there are certain things that they're going to do, and they're going to find a way to do them.

Jeff: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Bobby: Whether it be offensively or defensively, you just have to understand that they're going to find a way to execute certain concepts and you have to prepare yourself defensively to defend those concepts. Conversely, on offense, you're going to have to, when you go into a game, understand that they're going to have a couple of different wrinkles that they're going to present to you in defense that they had not put on tape.

Jeff: Right.

Bobby: So when you put in offensive plays, you're going to have to answer for problems that maybe you have not quite seen yet. So I used to work for a coach, Terry Hepburn, he passed away. He was the head coach my Indian University and I worked for him. He used to always say, "I have a plan, work the plan, plan is pretty unexpected." Nothing rings more true than when you're getting ready to play Bill Belichick and his defense. There's going to be something unexpected to pop up because you better be able to have an answer for it.

Jeff: Yeah.

Bobby: You know? You better have a solution whether it's, "Hey, get out of that play." Or, "Hey, we have an adjustment to this play that will allow us to still do it versus the look they're giving us." So they just really, what they do is they force you to quality control and fact check your work before you go into game because if you have a flaw in it, you have a weakness in your game plan on either side of the ball or in special teams, he's going to find it. He's going to notice it, he may have already seen it in film somewhere and he's going to try to exploit it.
So if you fact check yourself and quality control check yourself and go, "Oohh, we can get away with this all year, but here's the weakness." Understand that he's going to check it and he's going to test it early.

Jeff: Yeah.

Bobby: And that's what happens. Obviously they have the greatest quarterback ever to play too. I was going to say, if I was coaching on the other side of the wall on defense.

Jeff: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Bobby: My ass might be a little bit tighter than on coaching on offense, you know what I mean? I might be a little more nervous, but you don't prepare differently. I think you're just a little more conscious of your preparation. You don't necessarily try to do things differently than what you've done before and really if you're doing things the right way, it's not like you should be more dilligent in your work getting ready for the patriots. You just got to understand. You got to have answers for things you haven't seen yet, and that's probably the thing that you do a little bit differently, that's all.

Dustin: Do you think it works to your advantage to play such skilled team right off the bat? Like you mind your P's and Q's before you even really start to play some serious games.

Bobby: I think so. I think one it's a good litmus test for where you're team is at. You know what I'm saying?

Jeff: Yeah.

Bobby: Because really, we're the gold standard.

Jeff: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Bobby: In the AFC there's a gold standard and people don't like to say that because they don't like the team.

Jeff: Right.

Bobby: So everybody hates winners. Haters going to hate.

Jeff: Exactly.

Bobby: You know? Haters are going to hate, but I had somebody tell me, "Haters are like crickets and make all this noise when nobody is around, but when you walk by they become silent." That's going to happen when you play the Patriots. You might talk all this noise when you're not around them.

Jeff: Right.

Bobby: Well, then do something about it when you do play them.

Jeff: Right.

Bobby: That's the bottom line. So I think it's good because you get a litmus of where you're at as a team.

Jeff: Yeah.

Bobby: Offensively, defensively in special teams. You find out where you measure up to the gold standard. I think too with the way coach Belichick, and his coaches, and his team, the problems they present for you, what it does it allows you to get kind of tested early.

Jeff: Yeah.

Bobby: Okay, here's some things that we're not very good at and they expose it. So we got to get it fix because you put it on film.

Jeff: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Bobby: And then in coaching, you get it added to your players. Now, you put bad tape out there, you got a bulls eye on you for a while.

Jeff: Right.

Dustin: Right.

Bobby: You need to get it fixed. So I think it is good when you play really good teams like that early because you might find out, "Hey, boy we really tighten that up and we need to fix and they didn't need to expose it." Or, "We fix it before they could expose it." Or, "Hey, the exposed it. We got to get it fixed because if we want to go where we say we want to go and that's to the Super Bowl, we're not going to be able to do it if we don't fix this problem."

Dustin: Yeah.

Bobby: Whether it be a scheme problem or a player problem.

Jeff: Do you think it's more important than, let's say, building up your players confidence to play a weaker team and get a win in the column early on?

Bobby: I think if you ask any guy in the NFL, this is ... NFL is made up of alpha males who love to compete. Period.

Dustin: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Jeff: Yeah.

Bobby: You go to that local gym, there's always that alpha male walking around, chest puffed out, waiting for people to go on the bench press and he's ready to go throw down because that's what his gig is.

Jeff: Yeah.

Bobby: He wants to compete against somebody. He's looking for somebody to size himself. The NFL is just full of those guys. Not necessarily those meatheads, but alpha males love to compete.

Jeff: Right.

Bobby: And I guarantee if you asked any guy who's truly competitive in this league, would you rather play a weak team and build your confidence up? Or should you play the best and measure yourself? They go, "Why do I need to build my confidence? I'm already confident."

Jeff: Ah.

Bobby: "I want to compete." They would rather go compete. They want to be the king of the hill and you don't become the king of the hill beating up somebody down at the bottom of the hill.

Jeff: Right.

Bobby: You get to become the king of the hill by going to the top beating that guy's ass. I think if you asked anybody on our team, are we a cocky team? No. Are we a confident team? Yes. I guarantee if you asked our guys out there, "Hey, would you rather play the Browns or the Patriots week one?" They go, "Bring 'em on."

Dustin: Yeah.

Jeff: Just listening to that-

Bobby: We want the belt.

Dustin: Just listening to that raised my testosterone level by 50 points.

Bobby: Yeah. Hey, if you got lucky and lasted this long in this league, I don't care whether you're a coach, whether you're a player, the equipment manager, you better have the T level be right. So you're making a point with your voucher.

Dustin: Yeah.

Bobby: They got coats for that.

Jeff: Yeah. So speaking on the season, I mean the Raiders, you guys are already making waves with your offense and your defense, and you specifically have got some new names in your camp. You're training for that one. That starts in pre-season and stuff. When you've got guys coming from other teams or rookies coming into the game, what are some of the obstacles that you have to kind of get over that? Like integrating a new team each year?

Bobby: I would say this: When it's a rookie, it's easier.

Jeff: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Bobby: It's much easier because you're like, "Hey, this is the Raider Way, all right?"

Jeff: Right.

Bobby: "So figure it out. This is how we do things around here and I'm not really adjusting to you. You're learning us."

Dustin: Yeah. He's malleable.

Bobby: Yeah. When it's veteran, it's different. One, you kind of get an idea of what type of guy- Obviously, you the watch film and you find out his skill set.

Jeff: Right.

Bobby: Or you get a pretty good idea of what his skill set is. You make phone calls, you get to meet the guys, so you kind of get an idea of his personality.

Jeff: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Bobby: Until you get your hands on him, you truly don't know. Is this guy a self-starter? Is he not a self-starter? What does he really know? What does he not really know? Yeah you can sit there and watch him on film, but really are his warts?

Jeff: Yeah.

Bobby: The thing is your going to find out what he can't do.

Jeff: Right.

Bobby: And I was fortunate this year. We went and had Jared Cook from the Green Bay Packers.

Jeff: Yeah.

Bobby: And he has been nothing short of awesome.

Jeff: Awesome.

Bobby: Nothing short of awesome. He's a self-starter, he's extremely intelligent, he's harder on himself than I can ever be. So it makes it really easy to coach when you got to keep a guy from beating himself up too much. Like, "Whoa, hey. That's what I get paid to do."

Jeff: Right.

Dustin: Yeah.

Bobby: "Come on, don't go and beat yourself up." You know what I mean? And to be honest with you, with him the biggest thing is making sure that my first speech with him was, "Hey man, you made that play."

Jeff: Right.

Bobby: "You made a mistake and my job is to fix mistakes, that's what I do. I fix things. So tell me what you saw, tell me what you're thinking, then I can fix it." I said, "If you sit there and beat yourself up over a play that you just did and you cannot ... You can't change the past."

Jeff: Right.

Bobby: "You can affect the future, but you can't change the past. So let's talk this out so I can help u fix it for the future so it doesn't happen to become a problem again." But as far as that, that's easy to do. That's the easy part of coaching. Fixing problems. You know? He's not an error repeater. You tell him one time, he gets it right the next time.
The biggest thing is, like I said, not beating himself up, and also, he is not afraid of work now. This guy constantly wants to be something confident. It's refreshing to me as a coach that's been doing stuff for 23 years. I got to find some more shit for this guy to do.

Jeff: Yeah.

Bobby: I got him together he's like we'll watch films like, "Hey, they call me OG" From the movie South Central back in the day Bobby Johnson with the gangster [inaudible 00:33:12].

Jeff: Yeah.

Bobby: "Hey OG, watch this right here. This guy gets his outside hand on me on this press coverage. What's the best way to do that? He's tall and he has smaller DB's. How do I deal with that?" I'm like, "Let me sit with this, let me think about it. I'll figure it out." Then I'll tell him, "Hey, I was thinking here there are a couple of things. Let's try to work on these couple of tools right here and make you do three tools that defeat that." And he's like, "Well, why three?" I said, "Well, because if I give you one and that one doesn't work against somebody else, they we got to start this whole process over. So I'm going to give you three and basically it's like a tool belt man. We'll fill your tool belt and you'll find a tool you need work in a given situation. All right?"
He's like, "I like that. Where were you nine years ago?" We kind of work our way through that of just finding tools so that the guys can be confident. He has been awesome. He wants to learn, he can't watch enough film, he can't watch no practice. He constantly wants to be doing something because he wants to be great.

Jeff: That's awesome.

Bobby: And when you're a coach, that's what you want because that's what I'm trying to do is be great. I want to be the best coach for him so that one day he can be the best player in his position. He's been awesome. Veterans, you kind of got a hurdle through learning them and things like that, but also he has a great memory. He remembers all these different offenses he's been in and it's how I'll be talking to him, and he'll go, "Do you mean three mix?" I'm like, "Yeah, you should call this version to cover three, your own place." Here we call it whatever.

Jeff: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Bobby: So there's a little bit of a language barrier. Just trusting football like a foreign language.

Jeff: Oh yeah.

Bobby: When you come from different teams. Everybody has a different language so ...

Jeff: I'm sure.

Bobby: There are times that I say stuff to him and he'll look at me and go ... I'm like, "Wait, where were you coming from? I know that coach. Hey, did he call it this?" And he'll go, "Yeah." "Well that's what this is and I call it this." And he's like, "Okay, I got you boss." I'm like, "Cool."

Jeff: Crazy.

Bobby: So there's always kind of the information stuff, but that's easy.

Jeff: Yeah.

Dustin: Yeah.

Bobby: That's easy.

Jeff: Awesome. So you've said it a couple of times that you've been coaching now for over 20 years, been in the game for even longer than that. What fuels you to keep going? What fuels you to keep showing up every year and trying to make your team the best that they can be?

Bobby: It's a combination of things. One, like I said, it's intense passion of have for the game and I really love this game.

Jeff: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Bobby: And it probably is a bigger than that as effective. Like I said, I was a kid from Akron, Ohio. I had two parents and not your traditional home. My parents have split, but they're both are involved. They put me before everything else.

Jeff: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Bobby: And we didn't have much, but they found a way to pay for me to go to Catholic school so I could get a good education and play football, and turn it into a scholarship. I had a high school coach investing in me when he really didn't have to. I had a college coach who spent a lot of time and energy, investing time with me when he took a chance on me. I was just some kid that one year that had high school football to his name. When I got into coaching, I had a coach hire me that just ... I don't know why to be honest with you. And he mentored me.

Jeff: Yeah.

Bobby: He mentored me in football and in life. What I come to love this game is because this game represents just so much for me. It's given me so many opportunities and a life that I never would've thought I had. So every day I come in with a great attitude. Hey, this game has given so much to me that I can't honestly ... You can't pay the game. I can't pay the people back that helped me get where I am. So what I try to do is come in and be the best version of me I can be every day to give back, and give back to my players, and give back to the coaches I work with and things in that nature because I love X's and O's, and I love playing the game.
I can't play it anymore, but it's just the fact that I tried every day, carrying myself thought out the day to pay back the game for what's given me. I can't pay my dad back because my dad has passed away. I can't pay him back for what he gave to me. So I'm going to represent the last name he gave me the best I can every day. The two could've coached I played for and the coach that I coached for both passed away. Well, I can't pay them back so I'm going to carry myself the best way that they showed me how.
I coach because I want my players to, at the end of the day after a game, I want them to be able to walk up to their sons, their fathers, their brothers, and be proud of what they did on game day.

Jeff: That's awesome.

Bobby: Those are kind of the reasons that I do it. I want my daughters to be proud of me when I walk off the field like, "Dad, your team won!." "Yeah, isn't that awesome?" "Hey dad, can I get a high-five?" "No!" I love the game. I can't pay it back, so I try to handle myself every day like being grateful for where I'm at and helping my players in one of my tight ends Lee Smith, who I've been with him to two different teams now. He's a coach's dream because he's crazy. He's a big, giant, crazy as he calls himself for red neck, and he just wants to beat the shit out of people as we play.
But he's also the father of four and a great husband. I just want to coach him the way that when he walks off the field, his sons and daughters are run to him and they're proud of what their dad did, and they're like ... That's got to be cool being a player and walk off, and you got your son going, "Dad! Those two guys could've tackled you and you just ran them over!" He's like, "Yeah, you'll never see one man tackle here dad!." That's got to be like the coolest shit ever.

Jeff: Oh yeah.

Bobby: You walk up to your sons and your sons ... I mean your sons to them, they're your superhero, which you kind of are.

Jeff: Dear god. Some football players definitely are super heroes. 100%.

Bobby: Yeah. I just want to coach him right so at the end of the day, he can walk out and his kids think he's Superman, his wife thinks he's Superman. In his mind, you know what? Maybe he is a little bit of superman. But that's kind of why I do what I do man. I got to find ways to keep myself going for the long hours and that's where the death wish coffee comes in.

Jeff: Awesome.

Bobby: The caffeine addict.

Jeff: Awesome.

Bobby: It's kind of getting my chops busted around here because I'm one of the few guys who can drink and not absolutely go into full metal. So I just kind of keep operating at a high level with it, so it's been pretty awesome.

Jeff: Well good. I'm glad that we're helping to caffeinate you.

Bobby: More than caffeinate me.

Jeff: Well good, good. Finally, I wanted to ask you, looking into the future, what are your thoughts on the inevitable move? The Raiders, it has been announced this year that the Raiders are going to be moving to Vegas.

Dustin: We can't talk about the Raiders without the move to Vegas.

Jeff: Yeah. What are your thoughts on that?

Bobby: You know what? I'll be honest with you guys, Jack Del Rio, when it all went down, he was very transparent with the players and coaches. Like, "Hey guys, this is ... You're not living in a vacuum. You've seen the news, and you know what? That's the decision the ownership made. Hey, but guess what? Does it affect us this year? No."

Jeff: No.

Bobby: We're playing here at Oakland in 2017.

Jeff: Yeah.

Bobby: Does it affect us next year? No. We're playing in Oakland in 2018. When it becomes pertinent, we'll discuss it. But until then, yes it's going to happen, but the stadium is not going to be ready until 2020. So it's just not going to affect us in 2017 season. So we're not going to talk about it. Obviously we talk about behind closed doors. There's places and stuff.

Jeff: Right.

Bobby: Hey, we as coaches, we've learned. A lot of us has coached for a bunch of different teams and moving is not a big deal to you.

Jeff: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Bobby: You don't always want to do it, especially when kids are involved, but you go where your job is.

Jeff: Right.

Bobby: And this is the one that's had their [inaudible 00:41:11] teams for years. It's kind of crazy because it's my third year in Oakland and I've been kind of forced myself into this city and Oakland, and the divide here is insane. It's awesome.

Jeff: Yeah.

Bobby: And I never would've thought that mid-western [inaudible 00:41:26] never lived west in the city. Now I'm in Oakland, California living in the city and the vibe here is crazy. Like you said, the fan base is key in this city. I don't know how you separate them.

Jeff: Yeah.

Bobby: Because they're the same thing and it's like they were made for each other. Is it a shame that it turned out that way? Yeah, in my personal opinion. But when it happens, it's going to happen and to be honest with you, the fan base is going to make up for the different because our fan base is going to travel.

Jeff: Yeah.

Bobby: And they're going to be there. So I think that's the biggest thing is, it's not going to affect our ... Actually, I shouldn't say it's not going to affect our fan base. But our fan base because of who they are.

Jeff: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Bobby: Because they're the best in the league is going to cover for the loss with the city.

Jeff: Yeah.

Bobby: So I'm kind of ... I hate to see it just because I see how passionate the city is for the team.

Jeff: Right.

Bobby: But I also understand is, what I said before is the NFL is in the business of making money.

Dustin: Yeah, it's a business.

Bobby: And that's what's going to make them the most money.

Dustin: Yeah.

Jeff: Yeah.

Bobby: And how they're going to be when we go to Vegas? I don't know. Vegas is crazy. I try to stay away from it.

Jeff: Yeah.

Bobby: So I'll find out. It seems like that the degenerates that are in Vegas may be a perfect fit for the image. We'll see. I think it may work.

Jeff: I was just going to say that I don't think there's a team in the NFL that would be a better fit for Vegas than the Raiders. It's perfect. Like 100%.

Bobby: Yeah. You know what? Deep down, the players and the coaches are probably going, "Yeah, when we do move there, there's no stadium [inaudible 00:43:06] 13% raise rough tops."

Jeff: Yeah.

Bobby: Honestly, it's just coaches and players look some much in the now.

Jeff: Yeah.

Bobby: That I think it's hard to predict how it's going to turn out. I think right now, there's a lot of people that are being naysayers because their feelings are hurt.

Jeff: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Bobby: I think in the long run, I think they'll probably will let you say ... It'll probably work out just fine.

Jeff: Yeah and you're definitely of the right attitude because you need to be focused on this season, which is starting next week when this episode is coming out. That's where the focus lies. Who knows where you'll be in a couple years? All the players, the coaches, everybody could be changing hands, changing teams. The great thing about the NFL is even though it is only 16 games a year, there's so much that happens all year round.

Bobby: Oh, no doubt.

Jeff: It's quite the game to be a fan of.

Bobby: Yeah. Well that's the thing. They want to make it a year round event. Trust me, the NFL will find something for you to watch, to hear about, or tune into all year round.

Jeff: Totally. Well, thanks so much for taking time to talk with us. Obviously, fans of the Raiders can follow the Raiders all over on social media. Is there any of your own personal social media that you might want to shout out? Do you do any social media if people can follow you?

Bobby: I do a little bit of Twitter. I'm more of a retweet and like guy, but I'm @B0BBYJ0HNS0ON all caps, and actually the O's are zeros. That's about what I do.

Jeff: Okay.

Bobby: The reason I'm on social media is really I have two teenage daughters and they know that I stalk them.

Jeff: Yes.

Bobby: And I'm not a shamed of that, but all those guys who might know my daughters, Maddie Johnson and Libby Johnson out there, just know this young men, I will be stalking you as well if you show up on any of their social media.

Dustin: Whoa.

Jeff: I love it!

Bobby: And I am six foot three, and I am 260 pounds, and I am still very active.

Dustin: That makes me sweat.

Bobby: Yeah. And I'm all hopped up on that Death Wish Coffee, so I can go for a while. But yeah, I just do a little Twitter. But it's been awesome. I appreciate you guys calling and hopefully you guys can ... I can treat you guys to the Buffalo Bills game when we come to town.

Jeff: Yeah.

Bobby: You guys can make that close by, but I'd love to have you and get a chance to meet you face to face. But it's been awesome and I appreciate you guys asking me to be on. I hope I wasn't too boring.

Jeff: Oh no man, it was awesome. Obviously, best of luck to the entire Raiders camp this year as from one fan of the entire game to another, I'm just excited for the season. Like you said, obviously I'm rooting for you and your team, but hoping that the entire season is exciting.

Bobby: Yeah. That's what I want. I want some good football, I want some competition, and I just want people to enjoy the game. So I'm you guys are fans of the game, that is awesome. If you ever have any questions, anything I can do to help, do anything for you, just short of answering any fantasy football questions for the Raiders. But if you want some insights on some opponents for fantasy football, give me a shout. I'm your guy because I'm a former fantasy football head.

Jeff: Okay.

Bobby: So just let me know how I can help.

Jeff: We've got our own fantasy league in Death Wish Coffee, so I will relay that information to the head of the league and we might be hitting you up.

Dustin: Bobby Johnson, thank you so much man. You are the man and you're inspirational, and you are highly intelligent, and you can tell, it's very interesting to listen to you man. Thank you so much for joining us.

Bobby: I appreciate it guys. Anytime man. Anytime. Talk to you soon.

Jeff: All right. Have a good day man.

Dustin: Cheers man.