By the end of the football season there may not be a better Defensive Line than "Warren's 8" in all of football.
Beginning with the signings of Warren Sapp and Derek Burgess this defensive line has evolved into the strength of a defense that ranked 1st against the pass and third in fewest yards allowed in the Raiders 2-14 season.
The defensive line's ability to rush the quarterback allows the defensive backs to press their receivers more and also be more aggressive in man coverage.
The leader of the D-Line in performance on the field is Derek Burgess.
Burgess has become one of the most prolific pass rushers in the League since joining the Raiders. His quickness and developed pass rushing technique have him in a world of his own. I can only have nightmares about what our past two seasons would have been without his 27 1/2 sacks. His mere presence on the field makes the opposing offenses game plan differently. He is often double teamed and is at least chipped on every play.
Derek Burgess Bio:
Burgess on the outside of the line opens up mismatches for the vocal leader of this team, and one of the most feared pass rushers at his position, Warren Sapp.
If you've never visited his website, QB KILLA, here it is:
The self professed "QB Killa" has endured the pain of 3 losing seasons in Oakland. All of this losing has come at a time when the 1999 NFL Defensive Player of the year has been experiencing a renaissance of sorts.
After recording 12.5 sacks and forcing 4 fumbles, in his Award winning 1999 season, Warren went out and tallied, an incredible number for an interior lineman, 16.5 sacks for Tampa in 2000.
Last year was the first time since 2000 that Warren was in double digits in the sack department.
From the DT position Warren had 47 tackles, the fourth best of his 12 year career, and 10 sacks, also the 4th best of his career.
In the last few years Warren has also emerged as the vocal leader and "sound byte rock" of the entire team.
The man who plays next to Sapp in the trenches is another beast Terdell Sands.
Terdell really found his stride last year, and was one of the most sought after defensive linemen on the free agent market. It really says a lot about Rob Ryan and the chemistry of our defense that he chose to return, to a team that went 2-14 last year, without even taking offers from other teams.
So far, in the preseason, he has been a pocket collapsing, run stuffing monster.
Sands is not the sack happy sort, but at 6 foot 7 and 335 pounds he is a great run stuffer as his 41 tackles last year attest to.
Flanking Terdell will be the play making fourth year pro, Tommy Kelly.
Kelly has, not so quietly for Raider fans, quietly moved BACK into the starting right defensive end position. This is a position that was seemingly handed to Quentin Moses before the kid had even played a snap this year.
Kelly's play making ability led the Raiders in sacks as a rookie and has him also leading all defensive linemen with 7 forced fumbles.
This starting team has great balance and promises to give fits to any and all who scheme against them.
The scary thing is that three more beasts back them up. In fact, someone will be supplanted on that line as a starter this year.
(ARTICLE IN PROGRESS)