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Raiders’ free agent signee Burfict and defensive coordinator Guenther work well together

Raiders have high optimism for 2019 season

The Oakland Raiders are in its third week of organized team activities before three-day mandatory minicamp next week.
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The Oakland Raiders are in its third week of organized team activities before three-day mandatory minicamp next week.

It didn’t take long for Vontaze Burfict to forge a relationship with Oakland Raiders defensive coordinator Paul Guenther when the two were with the Cincinnati Bengals.

It was a little round of golf that started the relationship.

“We just started talking about golfing around that time because I was just getting into golf,” Burfict said Tuesday. “We went out and played a couple holes and ever since then it was like, ‘Man, this my guy. I can trust him.’ He tells me, obviously, little things about defense and offense that can give you keys and since then he made me a smarter football player.”

Burfict spent the past seven seasons with the Bengals — his first six with Guenther.

After this past season, Burfict became a free agent. And the Raiders signed him in the offseason, reuniting the linebacker with Guenther in Oakland.

“When he became available, it was very attractive to us,” Guenther said. “He knows the system inside and out. He can get us in and out of calls.

“I think some of the returning players are seeing the knowledge of the system he has out here on the practice field. It’s good to have him.”

Burfict describes Guenther as a smart coach who “understands the game.” With Guenther, he had 571 tackles and 8.5 sacks and 25 pass deflections during their six seasons together.

“He knows when to call certain plays, he doesn’t put his players in the wrong position,” Burfict said. “He understands his players’ weaknesses. ... He doesn’t put us in the wrong position.”

OTAs coming to a close

The Raiders’ organized team activities ends Thursday before next week’s mandatory three-day minicamp.

The minicamp runs June 11-13 before the teams takes a month-long vacation and reports to Napa in late July for training camp.

Anthony Galaviz writes about sports for The Fresno Bee. He covers the Oakland Raiders, high schools, boxing, MMA and junior colleges. He’s been with The Bee since 1997 and attended Fresno City College before graduating from Fresno State with a major in journalism and a minor in criminology.
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