Wilson lays the smack down

The Raiders added Gibril Wilson in the offseason to add some production and physical presence to their secondary. The veteran safety is doing just that, as evidenced by his work in practice on Friday.

During the first team scrimmage of the morning workout, Wilson came flying in and stripped the ball away from wide receiver Javon Walker after Walker had made a nice catch in front of DeAngelo Hall on a pass from quarterback JaMarcus Russell.

As Hall scooped the loose ball up and ran it back, Wilson jogged alongside as Oakland's coaching staff beamed.

"Gibril really is bringing a good mentality to our defense," Raiders head coach Lane Kiffin said. "He's extremely physical out here and it's good to see. It borderlines right now on the safety of our other players but our defense needs to see that, so it's something I don't want him to back off on right now. I want to let them feel him so that it grows around the rest of the defense and we become more physical."

The Raiders have had issues at safety ever since the team relocated to Oakland prior to the 1995 season. Except for a few brief respites -- Eric Turner, Rod Woodson -- the production out of the safety position has been minimal.

This offseason Stuart Schweigert was released and Michael Huff was moved to free safety. Greg Wesley was recently added after being cut by Kansas City but the focus at safety will be on Wilson.

"I'm just trying to bring the way that I know how to play into the secondary and the whole defense," Wilson said. "Kirk (Morrison), (Derrick) Burgess, those guys have all been doing a good job of it, and I'm just trying to get everybody to get that physicalness in the open defense. I like to be physical. I don't like to have guys get extra yards or anything like that. I'm a very physical guy and the other team knows it."

Wilson has a rooting interest in the Raiders' success. He grew up in nearby San Jose and has several friends and family in the area.

"A lot of my friends and family are Oakland fans, so I don't want to have to listen to the negative talk or whatever," Wilson said. "It's just very important to just get back to winning, to get back to the Oakland mystique, the silver and black. I know when I was growing up, when I thought about silver and black I thought about nasty, knock guys out on defense, type of defense, type of team, that's what we need to get back to."

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