We’re getting ready to enter the home stretch on the road to the post-season as we head into week 13. The Raiders have several winnable matchups on the way but none of them will be easy. Today we’ll discuss the Miami Dolphins.
Coming into this game Miami has the 7th ranked run defense in the league. This shouldn’t be a problem though based on the way Bush has been performing lately. He’s already ripped off over 100 yards from scrimmage in 4 of the last 5 games and damn near 100 last Sunday against Chicago. He put up close to 200 yards total vs the Chargers. These are elite numbers and should put to bed any doubt about his effectiveness against Miami.
Miami’s pass defense is ranked a lowly 24th. This is where the Raiders need to turn it on. Jacoby Ford is still looking unlikely to return this week, as is Darren McFadden. Fortunately Denarius Moore was practicing Wednesday. Although his participation was limited I fully expect him to play. This kid is a fighter and he’ll do anything he can to get back out there. Assuming the Raiders have him back in the lineup they’ll be doing great. If not, oh well. The caliber of play we saw from the rest of the receiving corps last week, to include Marcel Reece, was astounding. Hue Jackson’s “next man up” philosophy seems to be working for him.
What the Raiders need to do on defense:
CONTAIN THE QB!
QB scrambles for 20+ yards are becoming all too common for this defense. While I like blaming this solely on Bresnahan, there has been some real WTF moments from our linebackers this season.
The Raiders key to success through the next 5 games is linebacker play. No more half-assing from McClain and Curry needs to stay focused. I’m not too worried about Wimbley, he’s pure beast. If our secondary can stay healthy we’ll be great there as well. Chris Johnson actually practiced Wednesday which is exciting. Chekwa and Van Dyke are not on the injury report which is good news but there are still a few player listed that concern me. Rolando McClain did not practice Wednesday, but this could just be precautionary to give his ankle some extra healing time. My major concern is at right defensive end. With Shaughnessy out for the season, Jarvis Moss was filling in nicely until he went out. He was then replaced by Lamarr Houston, who is now also on the injury report. Moss did not practice but Houston was a light participant. This is kind of good but there is little to no depth now at that side of the line. With Richard Seymour listed as did not play as well Hue better come up with a backup plan quick. Matt Moore will post big numbers if we can’t get a decent pass rush going. Plus he’s quick on his feet, leaving our linebackers with double duty again.
Personally I think they need to run some scramble drills in practice with Pryor under center to help curb the QB scramble issue. Pryor is lightening quick and could prove to be an invaluable crash test dummy for this Raiders defense.
As far as Sunday, we need to just stay mentally focused and keep penalties to a minimum. Our win vs the Bears is testament to what the Raiders can accomplish when they play a clean game, and even though there weren’t many flags those they did get were huge and poorly timed. Play smart ball and we win. Period.
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