Edge to Raiders for having been there, done that

Five on Oakland roster have won a Super Bowl


Super Bowl

January 24, 2003|By Ken Murray and Jamison Hensley | Ken Murray and Jamison Hensley,SUN STAFF

SAN DIEGO - Bill Callahan has it. Jon Gruden doesn't.

If Super Bowl experience becomes a factor on Sunday, it will be an advantage for Callahan's Oakland Raiders. That's because Gruden's Tampa Bay Buccaneers have precious little of it.

Of the five Bucs with Super Bowl experience, three of them (tackle Lomas Brown, wide receiver Joe Jurevicius and special teamer Jack Golden) played for the New York Giants two years ago in a blowout loss to the Ravens.

Punter Tom Tupa kicked for the New England Patriots in the January 1997 loss, and wide receiver Keenan McCardell was on injured reserve in January 1992 when the Washington Redskins won.

The Raiders have Super Bowl winners in wide receiver Jerry Rice, safety Rod Woodson, linebacker Bill Romanowski, defensive tackle Sam Adams and cornerback Terrance Shaw.

"I believe it matters," Gruden said. "The way that team [Oakland] was put together, to acquire players who have not only won rings, but players that have blue chip ability as players, as leaders ...

"We see Bill Romanowski and Jerry Rice, and when you look down the roster, you see the Rod Woodsons and guys that have played in this game and won it and had a huge hand in it. That can only be an advantage for you. Believe me, I wish I had some stories to tell and some insights about what to expect and how to go about business."

Callahan deferred, but only slightly.

"I don't know if it's an advantage or not," he said. "It's just ... a situation we feel very strongly about. We encourage older veterans to come to the Oakland Raiders because we feel they have quality years still left."

Fatigue factor

The Bucs have been feeling the drain of their emotional NFC championship victory in Philadelphia and the quick turnaround to get to San Diego.

"We have been in San Diego, been in Tampa and been in Philadelphia - three different places and I don't know how many different times zones - and we've got a lot of guys that were fatigued a little bit," Gruden said.

"When you prepare for a game of this magnitude, you want to be fresh and I was struggling, as was our staff, during the early part of the week."

Fact or friction

Bucs wide receiver Keyshawn Johnson and defensive tackle Warren Sapp had a falling out after last season's playoff loss in Philadelphia. They're not tight friends, but Johnson was suggesting yesterday that the relationship is not as poor as it appears. You judge:

"There never was friction there," Johnson said. "That was reported stuff. Like I say, fact or fiction: it is more fact that we're friends, teammates and it's more fiction that there's friction. I'll tell you right now, Sapp talks too damn much. That's who we are. That doesn't mean anything."

They're not Ravens

When comparing Tampa Bay's defense to the Ravens' defense from 2000, Raiders receiver Tim Brown said there is no comparison. Brown was a part of the Oakland team that lost to the Ravens, 16-3, in the AFC championship game.

"I don't see [Tony] Siragusa, I don't see Sam Adams, and I don't see a Ray Lewis-type," Brown said. "They obviously have the best player, the best linebacker in the league this year in Derrick Brooks. You certainly have to give him his respect.

"But he doesn't play the game like Ray Lewis. Ray Lewis is the kind of guy who is going to try to come in and intimidate you. Derrick Brooks is just a great football player. He's using his quickness and speed to make plays.

"They don't play defense like Baltimore. They don't play smash-mouth football or have guys who are 350-360 pounds up there. They have guys who are 300 pounds at the most, who rely on their quickness to get to the quarterback to make plays."

Raiders fined

Oakland was fined $50,000 yesterday for violating the league's Super Bowl media policy on Wednesday, when a group of players and coaches either left early or failed to appear at the mandatory morning interview session at the team hotel.

According to a statement by league spokesman Greg Aiello, the failure to make all players and coaches available for the session was "the result of a communications breakdown on the part of the club."

Crockett the finisher

The Raiders' formula all season has been riding running back Charlie Garner to the red zone and running back Zack Crockett into the end zone.

Crockett's specialty has been bulling in from the goal line. He's had 40 carries for 118 yards and eight touchdowns. Although it's no secret, few teams have been able to keep him out of the end zone.

"It's very satisfying," Crockett said. "You beat all the odds. Everyone knows what's coming, but they can't stop it."

Garner said it isn't easy to carry the load up and down the field and then watch Crockett score.

"We're all not happy about that," said Garner, who was speaking for all the Raiders' running backs. "But we're running backs by committee. We're pulling for each other and for the team. If that's what it takes to win, then it's good for the team."

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