Raiders LB Robert Spillane racking up interceptions in camp, says it's all about 'trust'

I think it’s fair to say Robert Spillane isn’t known for forcing turnovers. As much as he has been preaching the defensive mindset of taking the ball away, the veteran linebacker has done it just once in his five-year career.

It’s great to preach about forcing turnovers. That’s a mindset every defender should have. It’s another to put it into practice. Doing so moves it from an idea to a reality.

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A week ago, Spillane did that. He had his first pick. It was one of seven interceptions for the Raiders over two days, but it was the only one not by a defensive back.

It sent the message that Spillane isn’t just expecting the secondary to do the work of getting their hands on passes and getting the ball back to the offense.

No one was happier about that than his position coach Antonio Pierce who sees Spillane as an extension of him on the field and in the huddle.

“It’s good when you just do your job. Sometimes you just do your job and you’re Johnny on the spot. And that’s what he’s done,” Pierce said of Spillane. “He’s come to work every day prepared, studies. If there’s a mistake from the day before, it doesn’t happen the next day and those are just examples of it.”

Friday Spillane had his second shot at facing the 49ers offense in joint practices, and the result was his second and third interceptions of camp.

Spillane’s picks were two of a total six interceptions overall, and one of two in 11-in-11 drills. The other pick in team sessions was by Marcus Peters. Which mean the Raiders had four interceptions combined in 11-on-11s over two days of practices against the 49ers — two by Peters.

The key to this? Trust.

“You trust the guys around you, you’re able to go make plays,” said Spillane. “And without that trust, you can’t play outside the box. You need to just play standard football. But good defenses all trust each other. I know my guys are going to set the edge here, I know my safeties are behind me. Give me an opportunity to play fast and go eat. It’s our job to clean you up. I get safeties behind me ‘Rob, go fly around. We’ll make you right.’ So, it’s that three levels of trust throughout a defense.”

If that trust holds up, the Raiders may be able to get their hands on a few balls a season after finishing tied for the fewest interceptions (6) in the league last season.

Seems ironic, really, for a guys who has one interception and hasn’t had any the past two seasons.

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Mike McNamara

Mike McNamara

A Las Vegas Realtor since 2008. Mike has a wide range of knowledge around all things Las Vegas.

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