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Oakland Raiders: Against the Titans, mission impossible?

Not quite, but not that simple.

Oakland, going up against the Titans Sunday will be facing two primary weapons, either which can kill your game, either on the ground with Chris Johnson, or a passing, running attack from Vince Young.

So how do the Raiders solve this two-headed monster?

Well, one solution is to limit the attack. Either stopping the run, which is not easy, or working against the passing game. Considering that Johnson ran over everyone last year, breaking 2000 yards, limiting him will be the task for the front seven of the Raiders.

One belief that works well to this end is the "stack the box" method, packing 7-9 bodies into the middle area and enough players can either tackle him, slow him down and eventually drop him to the ground.

Tackle, drop, repeat.

However, with this method, two things tend to happen. Eventuallly your players will start to get tired. The other option, is the Titans QB might mix in a passing play, forcing the box to lose a few key players, to cover a Tight End, or a WR on an outside route.

With both patterns, Rolando McClain will start to show his value to the club, by first of all becoming a "good friend" to Chris Johnson. Not as in "let's go play cards", but as in, "i'm going to stick to you and not let go". If Rolando McClain can advance, meet Chris at close range and then make contact at the line of scrimmage, hopefully McClain can lock him in his tracks until either he goes down, or Rolando's teammates can join in the process.

The second way that Rolando can affect the game comes from his size factor. A tight end last year running over the middle might have to worry about Kirk Morrison...but this year, that middle linebacker is going to be a bit bigger...and has a head for picking up the middle ground. During practices, Jason Campbell was surprised that McClain could swat the ball that quickly, and even bring it into his body, picking it off. With this, the Raiders could buy a break, killing a drive.

Two other major factors that didn't work for Oakland last year, should help them this season.

First factor, is the defense will actually be able to rest during the games. Last year with Jamarcus Russell, the Raiders were pathetic on scoring and converting 3rd down possessions. To give a painful illustration of how bad things were, Russell had 9 games to pick up over 1000 yards. Bruce Gradkowski almost matched him, in 3 games. So the team knows it can simply took a different quarterback to make it all work together.

The other factor, that works with the first is the ability to challenge in a game. Oakland last year had several games that were lost when they couldn't score anymore. Teams would come back and unless the defense did something amazing, like an interception against KC, the other team would score, winning the game.

Against Tennessee, the Raiders need to both shut down their offense, but put points on the board, early and often. With the Raiders last year, 13 points seemed like a high point for us to win, with a defensive powerhouse. We could score more, but would lose a contest.

This game, if we can get at least 21 points by halftime and finish with over 30, we stand a good chance at taking this game on the road....otherwise, Oakland will have to hope the defense is up to the challenge.


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