Anyone wondering if there is a residual effect to working for Dan Snyder need only look at the training camp that former Mr. Nice Guy coach Norv Turner ran for the Raiders. The first practice was at 6:30 a.m. There was an 11 p.m. curfew. Players had to have their playbooks with them at all times, except when practicing. The 16-hour days included several team meetings and rigorous practices.
"We wanted to be physical, and we had a good mix of really physical practices," Turner said.
You can understand his frustration. The Raiders switched to a 3-4 defense last year; the unit finished 30th. Defensive tackle Tommy Kelly led the team with four sacks despite starting just three games. They likely will play more 4-3 this year. That should help outside linebacker-defensive end Tyler Brayton (45 tackles, 21/2 sacks) and, in particular, defensive tackle Warren Sapp. Sapp had two sacks in the first three preseason games; in the 3-4 defense, he had 21/2 all season.
Starting defensive end Derrick Burgess was acquired from Philadelphia. Another new face is linebacker Kirk Morrison, a rookie from San Diego State.
"We feel like we've got an offense that can do anything," Burgess said. "Now it's up to us as a defense to keep people from scoring."
The defense doesn't have to be perfect. The offense includes wide receivers Randy Moss (49 catches, 767 yards, 13 touchdowns with Minnesota), Jerry Porter (64 catches, 998 yards, 9 TDs) and Ronald Curry (50 catches, 679 yards, 6 TDs).