Raiders sign DE Burgess

The Oakland Raiders offseason moves have been geared to making the offense more explosive but on Saturday they took a step toward improving defensively.

The Oakland Raiders signed Philadelphia Eagles defensive end Derrick Burgess Saturday. Oakland's offense, at least on paper, has more firepower after acquiring wide receiver Randy Moss in a trade from Minnesota and adding New York Jets running back Lamont Jordan via free agency.

Oakland hopes that Burgess can help improve a defense that ranked No. 30 in the NFL for total defense. More specifically, the Raiders hope that Burgess can improve a pass rush that was mostly invisible last season.

The 26-year old Burgess was a key component in helping the Eagles reach the Super Bowl. Burgess record three sacks as many postseason games for the Eagles, including two of Atlanta Falcons quarterback Michael Vick in the NFC championship game.

"We're excited to add a veteran performer of Derrick's caliber to the Raiders roster," Raiders head coach Norv Turner said in a statement released by the team. "Derrick is an extremely athletic player who can have an impact for our football team."

The 6-2 ½, 265-pound Burgess spent the first four seasons of his career with Philadelphia, which drafted him in the third-round choice of the 2001 NFL Draft.

"I'm ecstatic and proud to have the opportunity to wear the Silver and Black," Burgess said in a statement released by the Raiders. "I'm joining a quality organization in the Raiders with a great tradition and history."

Burgess started 11 of the Eagles first 12 games last season, totaling 44 tackles and 2.5 sacks. Burgess also received the Ed Block Courage Award for his efforts in returning from injury.

As a rookie in 2001, Burgess ranked second in the NFC and fifth in the NFL among rookies with six sacks.

The Raiders could use all the help they can get with improving their pass rush. Granted, sacks do not always tell the entire story with pressuring quarterbacks but when you record the second fewest sacks in the NFL at 25, that does not say much about your ability to get to opposing quarterbacks. It's also worth noting that seven of those sacks came against then-Buffalo Bills quarterback Drew Bledsoe, whose mobility is such to where his feet might as well be nailed to the ground.

Vince D'Adamo can be reached a vdad7@yahoo.com


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