Raiders Blog and Q&A

News, observations and reader questions about the Oakland Raiders

August 11, 2008
Are the Raiders ready for the Titans?

NAPA - The Raiders run defense suffered a lot in recent years because too often the defenders were either easily moved out of the way or seemingly wanted no part of physical play around the line of scrimmage.

That's why Lane Kiffin is looking forward to Friday night's exhibition game in Nashville against the Tennessee Titans.

It will be an early indication after a strong effort in the exhibition opener as to whether the Raiders want to be the aggressors.

"I love the matchup of a very physical team, not a team that tries to trick you," Kiffin said. "They come right out you so I'm really glad. It's the perfect opponent that we can have right now."

The Raiders lack of aggression in the run was embarrassing at times. Watching (fill in the blank) run through the defense for 100-yard games should have hurt the pride of the group.

For the short stint the starters were in, the defense showed some early strides in stopping the run.

"We tackled well," Kiffin said. "That was the whole key, was us tackling."

Discipline also helps. As one coach put it, in a one-gap scheme like the Raiders play with a safety back deep, one player out of position guarantees a seven or eight-yard gain if the back sees the hole.

That happened a lot last year, along with the missed tackles.

Early in the exhibition season the Gibril Wilson effect is being felt.

"We got ourselves a real strong safety, that was obvious in the few plays he was in there," Kiffin said. "I like the direction we're going but we're going to have a heck of a test this week. They put up 350 something on the ground, Tennessee, so I love the test that we have the week."

--Jason Jones

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About Raiders Blog and Q&A

Matt Kawahara was born in Sacramento and attended McClatchy High School and UC Berkeley, where he wrote for the independent student paper The Daily Californian. He graduated from Cal in 2010 and started at The Sacramento Bee as a summer intern. He joined The Bee's sports staff in fall 2011.

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