Raiders go back to basics to find tackling

Oakland Raiders head coach Lane Kiffin said it doesn't matter whether the Chiefs use Larry Johnson or Priest Holmes at running back in Sunday's game.

If the Raiders don't improve their tackling, Oakland's head coach says, it won't make a difference who runs the ball.

"It's not going to be about (Holmes) or Larry, it's going to be about us right now," Kiffin said. "It always is. It really is, when you're talking about stopping the run game. It's us doing things right and us playing with pad leverage and playing gap control defense and tackling.

"We're not playing consistent as far as responsibility-wise, and we're missing tackles. That will get you in trouble real fast. You'd better be sound in your gaps and where you're supposed to be, and you'd better tackle. We've struggled with both."

The Raiders, 28th in run defense, need to get healthy along their defensive line first. Warren Sapp missed his second straight day of practice Thursday with an ankle injury. Gerard Warren hasn't practiced since the bye week, and defensive end Derrick Burgess only recently returned from a thigh injury. Kiffin said he expects Sapp to be available to play against the Chiefs but Warren remains questionable.

That's not good news for a defense allowing opposing running backs an average of 5.4 yards per carry.

"Those are high school numbers," Kiffin said. "It's obviously the biggest emphasis on our team right now."


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