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Oakland Raiders defensive coordinator Chuck Bresnahan holds up a play chart during their NFL football training camp in Napa, Calif., Sunday, July 31, 2011. Looking on is linebacker Chris Francis (47). (AP Photo/Eric Risberg)

Even by the buoyant standards of Raiders coach Hue Jackson, it seemed a little over the top.

Defensive end Trevor Scott shed a block during a recent practice, dumped Rock Cartwright for a 2-yard loss, and Jackson reacted as if Scott had pushed the entire offense into the end zone with one hand and recovered a fumble with the other.

Even after practice Wednesday, Jackson was still gushing.

"Wow. Wow. What a tremendous competitor. What a tremendous football player," Jackson said.

Then again, given the Raiders' problems defending the run over the past eight years, maybe a little hyperbole is in order to get things turned around.

When the Raiders host the New Orleans Saints on Sunday night at O.co Coliseum, Jackson will be watching for signs of improvement after a disheartening performance defending the run against the 49ers on Saturday. Worse than the 17-3 final score was the way San Francisco pushed the Raiders around, running for 239 yards on 41 carries and 14 first downs.

"I don't think anybody is locked in right now," defensive tackle Tommy Kelly said. "That's what preseason is for. Coach is going to keep his foot on our necks. All you can do is go back to work and try to get a little bit better."

Jackson has promised to "build a bully," and he can't do it without a defense that stops the run.


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"When I put my name to something and say I'm going to do something, I'm going to do it," Jackson said. "This run defense thing has baffled this organization for years."

The last time the Raiders had a decent run defense was 2002, when they gave up 90.8 yards per game and won the AFC championship. They haven't done better than 22nd ever since, and the last four years have been 29th, 29th, 31st and 31st.

Even the arrival of five-time Pro Bowl defensive tackle Richard Seymour two seasons ago has not made a big impact on the way the Raiders defend the run.

"That's something that is dear to me. If you can't stop the run, you aren't going to be successful in this league," Seymour said. "It has to be important to the team. There has to be a mindset."

Defensive coordinator Chuck Bresnahan, who also ran the defense in 2002, said, "It starts with an attitude, an attitude we build from the beginning."

Aside from attitude, problems addressed by every Raiders coach over the past several years include maintaining gap assignments, fitting those gaps correctly, shedding blocks and simply doing the job assigned without freelancing.

Weakside linebacker Quentin Groves, who played with the first- and second-team defense against the 49ers, said, "The second-team guys were way too anxious because they want to make a play and make the team. You have to be sure you're where you're supposed to be."

Said Jackson: "There's no magic to it. You guys have heard all the clichés. We have to get it done. We're not going to make excuses."

  • The Raiders took Thursday off and practice Friday for the last time in Napa.

  • Sunday's home game against New Orleans will be blacked out locally on NBC Bay Area.