Ryan prepares defense for sacks

Defensive coordinator Rob Ryan knows that if the Raiders are going to have any chance of slowing down Cleveland's suddenly vaunted passing attack on Sunday, they're going to have to get more out of their pass rush.

"It all starts up front," Ryan said Thursday. "You've got to collapse the pocket, get the quarterback off his spot, and then you've got to play tight coverage.

"The tighter the coverage, the harder the throws, and we've got to do both. We've got to collapse the pocket better as pass rushers and we've got to keep the quarterback contained."

Through two games, Oakland has been able to do neither. The Raiders have just four sacks so far this year and have yet to mount a consistent attack up front, allowing quarterbacks Jon Kitna of Detroit and Jay Cutler of Denver to operate without worry.

As a result, Oakland's pass defense -- tops among all 32 NFL teams in 2006 -- has dropped to 29th so far in the early season.

Considering they still have to face the likes of quarterbacks like Philip Rivers (San Diego), Vince Young (Tennessee), Brett Favre (Green Bay) and Peyton Manning (Indianapolis), the Raiders obviously need to improve quickly.

"Our pass rush is coming and we know we've got to step it up," Ryan said. "We've been working hard at it. We didn't get off to a great start but our tempo's improving in practice. We're getting better every day so it's going to come together for us."

Oakland will likely have to make due without defensive end Derrick Burgess, who was held out of practice for a second straight day while nursing a calf injury.


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