|Frustrated Sapp lashes out at undisciplined Raiders|
|Written by Admin|
|Monday, 19 November 2007 14:30|
Following Sunday's 29-22 loss at Minnesota that was Oakland's sixth straight, Sapp railed against the team's poor run defense, sloppy turnovers and other mistakes that have doomed the franchise the past few years.
``Am I excited about every comment that Warren makes? No, and I'm sure as you catch Warren after a day of sitting back and thinking, he wouldn't make the same comments,'' Kiffin said Monday. ``But it's that type of game and you're dealing with those type of competitors. I know this: I'm glad he's on our side and on our team because it's a lot better than the guy who, when the game's over, really doesn't give you anything because he doesn't really care that much.''
The targets of Sapp's criticism on Sunday were a defense that allowed 228 yards rushing to a Vikings team missing star rookie Adrian Peterson and a 79-yard reverse pass on the game's first play from rookie wide receiver Sidney Rice to wide-open tight end Visanthe Shiancoe.
The team also committed 11 penalties, including a false start by receiver Tim Dwight in the final seconds on a spike play that cost Oakland one or two extra shots into the end zone.
``It's not going to change until we get out of our own damn way,'' Sapp said Sunday. ``There's nothing else to be said. We're just an undisciplined unit from top to bottom.''
Sapp was not available during the open locker room period Monday.
Kiffin has known Sapp for years as his father, Monte, was defensive coordinator for eight years while Sapp played in Tampa Bay. The two sit and talk on the bus ride home from the airport following road games so Kiffin can get a read on what one of his wisest veterans thinks of the team.
Right now, it's not very positive.
``You've got to remember that Warren's been a part of great defenses,'' Kiffin said. ``When Warren's frustrated at something happening, it's not just some rookie or second-year guy saying what he thinks might be happening. Warren knows what it's like to play great defense.''
Right now, the Raiders (2-8) aren't great at doing anything and that has Sapp riled up. Oakland has lost 28 of 32 games dating to the end of the 2005 season, changing coaches twice and much of the roster, but failing to alter the results.
The Raiders are tied for the fourth most penalties in the league with 76, leading all teams with 13 holding calls and 31 false starts.
``When you lose, I think things are magnified,'' quarterback Daunte Culpepper said. ``I think we could be a more disciplined team as far as guys on the field doing what they're supposed to do, doing their own jobs. I think that's one thing you have to look at. We just have to get better all the way around the board.''
Culpepper completed 23 of 39 passes for 344 yards and a touchdown in his first game back as the starter after playing behind Josh McCown the previous two weeks. He also lost a fumble and threw an interception, but will remain the starter this week.
Kiffin downplayed reports that No. 1 overall draft pick JaMarcus Russell would make his first start on Dec. 2, at home against Denver, calling the speculation ``premature.'' Kiffin did say that when Russell does make his debut that it will be in a relief role rather than as the starter. He said it's possible that could come this week.
``That way, we can really control what exactly he's doing,'' Kiffin said. ``We can say we're going to play him for this set amount of time or this many plays. That enables us to really lock into what plays are we going to give him. He doesn't have to have everything mastered.''
Kiffin said he would talk with owner Al Davis before playing Russell, who missed all of training camp and the exhibition season in a contract dispute.
Russell signed three days after the season opener and has been playing catch up ever since. He has been mostly working with the scout team and in extra practice sessions the coaches have put in place for him. But he got extra practice time last week because McCown was injured.
``I think it has something to do with that we weren't playing very well on offense over the last month and I think it really clicked in to him, 'Boy look how close I could be to really doing this thing and my team needs me,''' Kiffin said. ``He's really working hard with the conditioning and weight room stuff and the playbook. He's coming along really well.''