The Unpredictable RaidersNovember 4th, 2012
Joe’s done more than his share of homework on the Raiders over the past 10 days.
Joe watched the Raiders-Chiefs game last Sunday. Joe had an in-depth chat with a Raiders beat writer before that, and Joe was able to bark out questions to Darren McFadden and Raiders head coach Dennis Allen at One Buc Palace earlier this week, along with studying all things Raiders.
Joe’s biggest takeaway is that it’s a brutally tough task to prepare for the Raiders defensively. What the Raiders will do on offense is a giant crap shoot.
Oakland is struggling to find a balance between their new zone blocking scheme and the power blocking that was there before Allen took over this offseason. Nobody knows what’s coming in the running game. Darren McFadden is healthy and running very hard but has horrendous stats on the season. He broke a 28-yarder last week but only finished with 114 yards on 29 carries. There’s a really sense, however, out of Oakland that the running game is about to break out.
Carson Palmer is a having a stellar season and has been using a load of no-huddle in some games and not much in others. Plus he’s got weapons. Denarius Moore and Darius Heyward-Bey have sick speed, which is the one thing the Bucs don’t have much of in their secondary. Eric Wright’s got an Achilles issue, and the rest of the cornerback crew, Myron Lewis, E.J. Biggers, Brandon McDonald and Leonard Johnson are now known for their wheels.
If the Bucs’ play a lot of zone to contain the Raiders, Palmer’s top target is tight end Brandon Myers, and Palmer has the patience and experience to dink and dunk the Bucs successfully, and McFadden is dangerous out of the backfield in the passing game.
This will be a great chess game today. Joe suspects the Bucs will play a little wait and see to determine if their front four can get any pass rush. If they can’t it’s going to be a long afternoon, but Joe remains confident the Bucs can win a shootout with the Raiders.