Burgess sets the standard

Art Shell says the most impressive thing about Derrick Burgess' record-setting season last year wasn't the NFL-leading sacks the Raiders' defensive end recorded. Instead it was the way Burgess went about business throughout Oakland's turbulent season that had Shell smiling the most.

''The most impressive thing was, with all that was going on and the way the team was just playing, he kept fighting,'' Shell said Wednesday. ''He kept saying, 'I am going to come and I'm going to sit at the table and I'm going to bring everything I've got.' He worked his butt off. He kept working and kept working. That's why he was the sack leader. That's excellent. That's work ethic, commitment.''

It's also a standard Shell would like the rest of the Raiders to follow.

Burgess' 16 sacks were tops in the NFL and set a Raider franchise record. They also earned the six-year veteran his first trip to the Pro Bowl.

That Burgess was so effective in his first season with Oakland caught many by surprise. A free agent who signed with the Raiders after spending his first four NFL seasons in Philadelphia, Burgess had only 8 1/2 sacks to his credit before busting out in 2005.

Given that the rest of the Oakland defense was in disarray for much of the season, Burgess' accomplishments were even more remarkable. Once defensive tackle Warren Sapp went out in Week 10 with a torn rotator cuff, opponents began sending more protection toward Burgess' side of the field.

Sapp is back healthy and the Raiders signed free agent defensive end Lance Johnstone to help alleviate some of the attention opposing teams pay to Burgess. Oakland also added speedy players like strong safety Michael Huff and weakside linebacker Thomas Howard to help the pass rush as well.

Burgess had his way against right tackle Langston Walker during the morning practice Wednesday. Twice Burgess used bull-rush moves to push Walker deep into the backfield, once getting around him for a sack. On a third play, Burgess came in on a delayed blitz, faked to his left which got Walker jumping in the air, then came back around Walker to the right to get in and pressure backup quarterback Andrew Walter.

''We can have a formidable defensive front four with a guy like (Johnstone) coming in,'' Shell said. ''On passing situations, he's able to rush the passer from that corner, and now Sapp is able to push up the middle and force the quarterback to those outside guys. And you know Derrick is going to be coming off the other corner. It's a pretty good group.''

* Rookie receiver Will Buchanon continues to turn heads in practice. Buchanon, who had four catches for 50 yards in the win over Philadelphia, made another solid play when he raced past veteran cornerback Duane Starks down the sidelines and hauled in a 60-yard touchdown pass from Marques Tuiasosopo.

* Wide receiver Jerry Porter, who continues to work out with the second-team offense, made his most impressive play of camp when he went across the field and, with his arms stretched out, caught a pass on his fingertips from Tuiasosopo.

''Hey Porter,'' yelled safety Jarrod Cooper from the sidelines.

''Why can't you do that with the (starters)?''

Porter, showing a rare moment of levity, chuckled and replied, ''I'm not with the (starters).''

* Former Raider legends Cliff Branch, Lester Hayes and Raymond Chester visited practice Wednesday. Hayes spent time with Cooper and other defensive backs, perhaps sharing tips from his playing days.


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