Scouting: The Raiders Defense
By Ernie Padaon
The Oakland Raiders are ranked 11th in defense, 3rd against the pass, but 2nd to last against the run. Only the Buffalo Bills give up more rushing yards a game then the Raiders. They have given up the 4th MOST points per game with 26.8 points per game. The Raiders have only forced 2 fumbles this season, so the Bolts and their running backs may be able to finish a game without a fumble.
Key players on Defense:
Nnamdi AsomughaNnamdi is arguably the best cover corner in the NFL. The Raiders may match him up against TE Antonio Gates. Nnamdi normally covers receivers on the outside and will be placed in a different position if he has to cover Gates. Gates will own a 50 pound advantage on Nnamdi and will be able to still use his ‘basketball skills’ to position himself for the ball. If Nnamdi covers Gates, it will be the best match-up to watch on the field. This would also allow receivers Malcom Floyd and Legedu Naanee to find openings on the outside.
Richard SeymourSeymour is a 5x Pro Bowl selection, 3x All Pro, and a 3x Super Bowl Champion. He came over from the New England Patriots last season and added a big presence in the middle of this defensive line. In game 1 last season vs. the Chargers, Seymour was able to dominate the line of scrimmage and provide constant pressure to Philip Rivers. Seymour will be matched up against offensive lineman Nick Hardwick, Kris Dielman, and Tyronne Greene. These 3 o-lineman should be able to open up the rushing lanes and the first person that they will need to block is Seymour.
Rolando McClainMcClain was drafted this year with the 8th overall pick in the draft. He was considered one of the top linebackers in this year’s draft. If Nnamdi is not matched up against Gates, McClain will have his opportunities to cover the Pro Bowl Tight End. This would be a difficult situation to put on the rookie linebacker and would be something the Chargers would take advantage of. McClain has 24 tackles this season.
OVERALL:The San Diego Chargers is explosive and can beat a team with it’s rushing attack or passing attack. Since the Raiders have one of the best pass defenses in the league, expect them to attack with rookie running back Ryan Mathews andMike ‘Tank’ Tolbert. If they are able to break off chunks of yards, the passing attack will open up and Rivers will be able to go over the top deep to Gates or his other receivers. Expect the slot receiver, Buster Davis or Patrick Crayton, to get more targets in this game with Gates and Floyd covered by pretty good corners. Another high scoring game could be in store for the Bolts.