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- In the Dawg Pound: The Oakland Raiders

Kevin Figgers December 15, 2004
Kevin Figgers
NFL Columnist

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Optimism, hope, and contention. All words that were used when the Raiders opened training camp in August. The team that many people felt was poised for a comeback remain at the bottom of the NFL barrell. The Raiders came into the 2004 season knowing that it would be imperative to improve their performance, particularly on the defensive side of the ball. Have they made strides? Yes. Have the made significant strides? Not even close. Last season the Raiders were dead last in stopping the run, allowing just under 160 yards per game. This season they have narrowly improved, only giving up 135 rushing yards per game, good enough for 8th worst in the league. Not to mention the fact that the Raiders are tied for last in the league with quarterback sacks with 17. Certainly the $50 million investment in nose tackle Ted Washington and over-the-hill defensive tackle Warren Sapp has gone to flounder. The team being -17 in the turnover ratio certainly does not help an offense that has made major strides of improvement as the season has progressed. However, until the Oakland Raiders can figure out a way to stop the run, presure the quarterback, and play more consistently as a whole, they will remain 'In the Dawg Pound'.

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