Raiders defense should improve

Though the Raiders still lack big names at linebacker, they seem to be taking a saner approach to defense.

Updated: August 12, 2005, 11:59 AM ET
By John Clayton |
NAPA, Calif. -- Here are five observations on the Oakland Raiders, based on their Aug. 10 practice:

On defense, the Raiders are making better use of their personnel. The best sight is seeing Warren Sapp back at defensive tackle when they line up in a 4-3. The experiment of making Sapp a 3-4 defensive end was silly. Sapp played his entire career as a quick defensive tackle who rushed through a gap and disrupted play. Putting him in a defense in which he had to wrestle a blocker didn't work. Plus, he ended up going against left tackles. "I'm allowed to use my feet and my quickness to get off the ball and get in somebody's backfield," Sapp said. "I'm really encouraged by it."

John Clayton

NFL senior writer