Oakland Raiders: Derrick Burgess Stands Up!

Jeff LittleSenior Writer IJuly 31, 2008

The Oakland Raiders have been working on several different scenarios in training camp, but one thing remains the same. No one can handle Derrick Burgess.

He has been wearing out whoever has been placed in front of him. He has appeared unblockable.

The Raiders' offensive tackle positions are still a work in progress, but based on Offensive Line Coach Tom Cable’s resume they’ll be ready to go on Sept. 8.

Teams will have to game plan against Burgess due to the fact that he is so good.

For him, last season was off as he dealt with the setback of an injury that slowed him. He still finished the season with 40 tackles and tied for the team lead with eight sacks.

Despite a rare offseason spending spree bringing in new talent, he didn’t receive the new contract he was after. The hope is that he will after the season is over. Burgess came into camp ready for work.

As usual, the defense as a whole is ahead of the offense in training camp and Burgess is healthy and back to being his usual destructive self. The 6’2”, 260-pound DE remains a fast, aggressive pass rushing force and a player to watch for the Oakland Raiders.

To limit the damage of Derrick Burgess, teams have used tight ends to double team him with offensive tackles. He has also experienced teams using both tight ends and running backs to chip him to slow him down.

To adjust to this tactic the Raiders have Burgess pulling double duty, working at his customary DE position as well as OLB. Moving him around will limit obstacles between Burgess and the opposing QB.

He will draw the attention of every offensive tackle in the league and set up some one-on-one situations for one of his teammates.

This is something new for him with the Raiders because he will in a sense be turned loose to create more damage.

He has all of the traits you look for in an OLB: instincts, athleticism, and range. The most important is athleticism, with the ability to tackle in the open field, blitz, rush the passer, and drop into coverage.

An OLB operates in space and needs to have great range and speed to flow to the ball and chase down backs from sideline to sideline. In a three-four an OLB can be used to get upfield and bring pressure.

I’m aware that the Raiders run a base four-three defense, but it must be said that so many different things can be done with the versatility of the three-four defense, and it is one that Defensive Coordinator Rob Ryan knows well.

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