Raiders defensive line finds chemistry

It wasn't all dark clouds following the Raiders' 12-10 loss to Kansas City on Sunday.

Defensive tackle Warren Sapp notched his first sack of the season to move into a tie for 28th place on the all-time list. More importantly, Sapp and defensive end Derrick Burgess have finally brought life back to Oakland's pass rush.

Sapp, who led all NFL defensive tackles in sacks a year ago when he had 10, got off to a slow start this year while Burgess was sidelined with a calf injury and sat out the first four games. Since the two-time Pro Bowler's return, however, the Raiders' pass rush has improved.

Oakland sacked Kansas City quarterback Damon Huard only twice but rushed him out of the pocket on several other occasions and forced Huard into several hurried throws.

That came on the heels of the Raiders' loss to San Diego in which Sapp and Burgess -- who is still searching for his first sack of the season after getting 27 over the past two years -- spent the day chasing down Chargers' quarterback Philip Rivers, hurrying him into an interception that linebacker Thomas Howard returned 66 yards for a touchdown.

"Those two guys play really well together," Raiders coach Lane Kiffin said. "When you play together, you learn more about your players, your team, and they learn more about each other. That's why sometimes it takes a little bit of time when you add a quarterback in the middle of training camp, why rookies take time to gell together, especially when they're in the quarterback position.

"Think about how many times those guys have run ETE's an TE stunts together. They've run thousands of them, as opposed to Gerard Warren, who just got here. Those two guys feed off each other and they both bring a high-energy level to the game and our defense plays off them as well."

The Raiders definitely need big games from both this week against Tennessee. Titans quarterback Vince Young, who sat out Sunday's win over Houston, is expected to return to practice this week. Young or former Raider Kerry Collins will get the start against Oakland.

"I remember (Young) really clearly scoring 41 points and he had 500 yards of offense in the Rose Bowl," said Kiffin, who had a birds-eye view of that performance by Young, seeing that he was across the field as USC‘s offensive coordinator.

"He's not very easy to tackle. He presents a lot of challenges because you can have everybody covered up and you can have a good rush and it only takes one seam for him to go. He's not going to slide after 6 yards. He's going to make somebody miss and go get 30 yards. He's a big challenge. We're going have to prepare for them both. I don't know who's playing obviously. They are completely different quarterbacks."


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