Today, Tuesday, August 20, two more key players for the Oakland Raiders Defense returned to practice from the injured list. DT-Pat Sims and LB-Kevin Burnett were out on the field running with their respective squads today. This is definitely a good sign for Sims considering he has missed almost the entire training camp due to injury. He had initially returned to practice two weeks ago, but he re-injured his hamstring and had to leave the field.
This marked the first day of training camp where the entire starting line-up for the defensive line was practicing together. The first team defensive line has been marred by its inability to penetrate the offensive backfield in the last two pre-season games. However, this was without DE-Lamarr Houston, DT-Vance Walker, and DT-Pat Sims. With the return of these players, the dynamic of the defense should be changing. Raider Nation will get their first look at Houston and Walker on Friday night, but there is no guarantee that Sims will be on the field with them. I guess it will all depend how healthy he is. Regardless of whether or not Sims plays, the defensive line should show improvement with the additions of Houston and Walker.
A key piece of the new Raiders defense is LB-Kevin Burnett. He has played very well in the past two weeks, and I’m glad that we will see him out there again against the Chicago Bears. Luckily his knee injury was not as bad as initially thought. Burnett is a very good edge rushing linebacker and he has racked up a lot of tackles throughout his career. He is pivotal to the Raiders defensive resurgence in 2013.