I have invited Chris Thorman from Arrowhead Pride to join me in some Chiefs-Raiders matchup preview talk. Chris responses will be posted by me, via emails he has sent. Let’s get started.
Raiders Pass Protection vs Chiefs Pass Rush
There are lots of interesting matchups in this one. Obviously, with the leagues top two rushing attacks, the focus will be on the ground game, but as it has been all season, a huge question mark and priority for the Raiders will be protecting the passer. The Raiders need to keep the threat of the pass legitimate to keep the opposition from loading up the box. It is also wildly apparent that Jason Campbell is a much different QB when he has time to throw the ball. While it is officially still a question mark who the Raiders QB will be, chances are it will still be Campbell.
The Raiders are 26th, allowing 2.6 sacks per game and 27th with a 8.4 sacks allowed percentage. The majority of the Raiders pass protection woes come from a failure at the Tackle position and the Chiefs will likely test the Tackles this week.
The Chiefs bring into town a middle of the pack pass rush. They have 14 sacks on the year, half of which are from OLB Tamba Hali. The Chiefs are 14th with 2.1 sacks per game and 20th with a 5.24 sack percentage. All of the Chiefs sacks have come via the front seven.
While rookie Jared Veldheer is improving and raising the quality of LT play, the Raiders have been protecting him in pass protection and they will likely have to protect their Tackles this week.
The Raiders like to bring in an extra lineman and last week he was most often on Veldheer’s side. Lately, this has been T Khalif Barnes. Barnes gave defensive coordinators something extra to think about this week as he even caught a pass. I look for the Raiders to bring in the extra lineman to whichever side Hali lines up. The Raiders also will do some rollouts, screens and three step drops to protect the passer as well.
The screens have been especially effective and all of their back, including FB Marcel Reece excel at catching the ball. The most effective weapon at keeping the QBs off of the ground has been the ground game, but I am sure we’ll get into the ground game later. When they do get the ground game going the Raiders like to use the play action pass to try and take some shots down the field. Hue Jackson has done an excellent job the past two weeks keeping defenses off balance with his play calling. They have called plays to go against tendencies in certain formations.
Last week, the Raiders spread out the injury depleted Seahawk secondary out with 4 WR sets. Still, more often than not, if the Chiefs are going to pressure the QB they will have to beat max protection.