Chiefs Blogger, Chris Thorman:
Chiefs’ secondary vs. Weakened Raider attack
The Kansas City Chiefs secondary hasn’t been the strength of the 2010 Chiefs’ defense but this weekend it has the potential to be a difference maker. The Chiefs are currently 23rd in the NFL against the pass, which is a number that has to be slightly inflated because of the Chiefs’ 7th ranked rush defense.
The Chiefs have playmakers in the secondary – Brandon Flowers, Brandon Carr, Eric Berry – but they’re all young and still prone to mistakes. However, I think with Louis Murphy potentially out this weekend; Zach Miller on crutches early in the week; and DHB nursing a sore shoulder, the Chiefs’ secondary should be able to handle the Raiders’ passing game quite easily.
Oh, I forgot to mention that Oakland doesn’t know who the QB will be this weekend. Pretty sure that works in the Chiefs’ favor too….
A response from the Raiders perspective:
To call the Raiders passing attack weakened may be a bit misleading as I am not sure you can weaken something that was already weak. Still, good points are raised. Most notably, Zach Miller, the Raiders attack begins and ends with Miller.
While Tom Cable says he is progressing nicely and doesn’t seem to be concerned about it, we will see how effective Zach can be. He was noticeable limping and came out of the game for a few series early in last weeks contest and after that, he was not involved in the passing game at all.
On area that was not addressed, however, is the Raiders ability to pass to the backs and the Chiefs ability to defend it. On the season, the Raiders backs are averaging 9.9 yards per catch and 7.4 catches per game.
The Chiefs are ranked 21st in pass defense DVOA against backs. They are allowing 7.8 yards per catch and 6.9 catches per game to backs.
The Raiders get the ball to their backs in a variety of ways. They are finding new ways to get Marcel Reece the ball every week and I will expect them to be even more involved if Zach Miller has any reduced role.
Combine this with the fact that, Campbell’s strong point has never been getting the ball to WRs and I expect the RBs to get their fair share of action in the passing game. When Campbell does throw to the WRs or if Gradkowski is the QB, they may have to look towards the “smurfs” unit (Jacoby Ford and Nick Miller).
I would expect DHB to struggle against Brandon Flowers, but Jacoby Ford picked up a couple of big 3rd downs last week and Jason Campbell has thrown a deep pass the last two weeks to Nick Miller. The Raiders, especially with Campbell, like to throw deep off of play action. This, obviously, works better once they get the run game going and I am sure it will be something they try to execute against the young Chiefs secondary.
Of course, as it was pointed out the Raiders still do not know who their QB will be. This has not seemed to effect them in any way. They are actually 2-0 in games in which the QB was switched in game and they prepared last week in the exact same circumstances QB-wise that they are this week.