Just like last year, Raiders defense well ahead of offense Print
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Saturday, 04 August 2007 15:04
NFL Headline News

 NAPA, Calif. (AP) -When the Oakland Raiders held their first intrasquad scrimmage of training camp, it looked a lot like last season. The defense was well ahead of the offense.
There were a pair of turnovers, two sacks, dropped passes, and miscommunication between the receivers and quarterbacks at times during the one-hour scrimmage. An offense that managed only 12 touchdowns last season still has plenty of work to do under new coach Lane Kiffin.
``I felt the defense really showed up today,'' Kiffin said Saturday. ``There was a lot of tempo, energy, hitting and flying around. I was very pleased with them.''
There were nine series in the scrimmage, with quarterbacks Andrew Walter, Josh McCown and Daute Culpepper each getting three. Walter was the only one not to lead a scoring drive, fumbling a snap from center, throwing an interception to Chris Carr and going three-and-out on the first series.
Walter finished 3-for-8 and his most memorable play came when he dropped a snap from center Jeremy Newberry, looked at it for a moment, then kicked the ball before it was recovered by defensive lineman Kevin Huntley. Kiffin scolded Walter as he walked off the field.
``Sixty plays, two turnovers. That's two too many obviously,'' Kiffin said.
The offense did put together two long touchdown drives to end the scrimmage, though the first one anchored by McCown was aided greatly by friendly spotting on running plays that turned losses into gains. Rookie fullback Oren O'Neal scored on a 1-yard run to cap that drive.
Culpepper completed just one of his first seven passes - a pretty 18-yard third-down conversion to Chris McFoy - but finished strong. He went 5-for-7 on the final drive, ending the scrimmage by throwing a perfect 20-yard strike to Carlos Francis between Hiram Eugene and Levonne Rowan for a touchdown.
Culpepper, who had his first practice with the Raiders on Wednesday, is still behind the other quarterbacks in terms of knowing the offense.
``He did do well on that last drive and obviously we have to protect him in the way we called plays because he only knows so much of the playbook right now,'' Kiffin said. ``You saw that's why I went out there as opposed to going on the walkie-talkie just to help him through things with his reads. He did finish well.''
With most of the defense back from a unit that ranked third in the NFL last season, it's no surprise that there is a discrepancy in the play on the two sides. But Kiffin said he doesn't tell defensive coordinator Rob Ryan to go easy to help the offense gain confidence.
``I tell him to compete to win, win the drill or win the scrimmage whatever it is,'' Kiffin said. ``Call the defense against us as if you're playing us, as if it were a big-time game. That's what we need. We want to put ourselves in the hardest situation. We don't want to go out and they play cover 3 so we can have some success here. I just don't believe in that.''
Kiffin said the best part of the scrimmage was that there were no injuries. But the Raiders did get some bad news on a knee injury that occurred earlier this week to linebacker Isaiah Kacyvenski. He is expected to miss about a month, Kiffin said.
 

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