Raiders-Chiefs matchups to watch


Raiders-Chiefs matchups to watch

ALAMEDA -- Carson Palmer, or Kyle Boller? Kyle Boller, or Carson Palmer?No, we're not talking about rising senior quarterbacks in the old Pac-10 back in 2002. We're dishing about the main talking point heading into Sunday's Oakland-Kansas City game -- who starts at quarterback for the Raiders.A more prescient question, though, may be, who gets the majority of the snaps?And even then, the most pressing topic of the day might be surrounding the status of injured record-setting placekicker Sebastian Janikowski.A look, then, at some key on-field matchups to watch Sunday afternoon:Raiders cornerback DeMarcus Van Dyke (23) vs. Chiefs wide receiver Dwayne Bowe (82)TALE OF THE TAPEVan Dyke: 6-1, 180, Miami, rookieBowe: 6-2, 221, LSU, fifth seasonGenerally, Bowe lines up on the same side of the field as Stanford Routt. But with Routt being given the Nnamdi Asomugha Treatment thus far (teams are tending to shy away from him), we have a sneaky suspicion the Chiefs might move Bowe around to test out the rookie Van Dyke.Especially since Bowe enjoys a 41-pound weight advantage."He's a big guy, man, physical guy," Van Dyke said. "He's from Miami, same place I'm from, so I know he's a great player."I got to step up to the plate. He's a great receiver; I'm a great cornerback."At least Van Dyke, who weighs 180 pounds soaking wet and with rocks in his pockets, is not lacking in confidence. Because when the top receivers in the league are discussed, names like Calvin Johnson, Larry Fitzgerald and Andre Johnson roll off the tongue. Bowe, with his unusual combination of bulk and speed that has resulted in 23 catches for 420 yards and four touchdowns in five games this season?"They'd better talk about him," said Raiders coach Hue Jackson. "The guy can play and he makes plays. He's a big athletic receiver with strong hands who can run with the ball after the catch who's had some very dominant football players in this league, so he is a problem for us."We're going to have to make sure we contain him and know where he is at all times. But he's a really, really good football player."And another potential test for Van Dyke."I was going against Chaz (Schilens) some this week in practice and he's a big, physical guy," Van Dyke said, "so hopefully, I do O.K. on Sunday."Other matchups worth watching:
Raiders running back Darren McFadden (20) vs. Chiefs outside linebacker Justin Houston (50) -- With so much relative uncertainty as to who will be under center for the Raiders, the focus turns again to the league's leading ground-gainer in McFadden, who has rushed for 610 yards on 111 carries.Thing is, if the Raiders quarterback cannot establish a decent passing game, the Chiefs will simply flood the box and dare McFadden to beat them by himself.And with McFadden more dangerous in open space and creating around the edges, that's where he might run into the rookie Houston, literally and figuratively."I have to come in and step up," McFadden said. "I feel like Carson has been doing a great job with the huddle. He has to get the plays down, but for the most part he's been doing good."Then there's the Boller situation, seeing as how he has been in the system for a few years already and developed a chemistry."He knows the offense and he knows the receivers and has the timing down with those guys so that's one of the things that's going to be (important). We have confidence in him so that's not going to be a problem."Might it be one, though, for Houston, a third-round draft pick from Georgia?Chiefs coach Todd Haley vs. memory of Al Davis -- We're joking here, somewhat, but Haley's lone personal encounter with the late Raiders owner is worth discussing again.It was at the Combine early in Haley's coaching career when Davis summoned the young coach over and asked to look at the cap he was wearing."I handed him the hat, of course," Haley recounted this week. "It was nothing special. It was like a New York Jets hat. He looked at it, studied it, looked inside it, outside, said, 'Thank you, coach,' and he handed it back."To this day, Haley has no idea what Davis wanted with his headgear.Might that memory creep back into Haley's noggin just long enough to distract him against the Raiders?Probably not. But it's still a good story.

Raiders snap count: Riley over James; Murray a feature back

Raiders snap count: Riley over James; Murray a feature back

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Malcolm Smith was fully recovered from a quadriceps strain, ready to assume his typically extensive workload at weakside linebacker.

That allowed the Raiders to make a personnel change in the middle. They started relative newcomer Perry Riley at middle linebacker over rookie sixth-round pick Cory James, a young player forced into action due to Ben Heeney’s ineffectiveness and health.

Riley has six seasons and 72 starts to his name, given the Raiders experience at a position expected to make reads and checks and communicate information to teammates before the snap.

Riley fared well in that spot in Sunday’s 33-16 victory over Jacksonville, with a pair of tackles in 100 percent of the defensive snaps. He was Pro Football Focus’ highest-rated Raiders defensive player, with positive marks against the run and pass.

It was uncertain how much Latavius Murray would play in his return from turf toe, but the Raiders did not attach a short leash. Murray played 42 snaps and had 20 touches in this game.

He was the feature back in this one, a new approach after the Raiders used a near-even split with DeAndre Washington and Jalen Richard. That wasn’t the case this time. Washington got the start but played just 13 snaps and six touches. Richard only had two touches in limited action.

Murray sparked the Raiders run game, with 18 carries for 59 yards and two touchdowns. The work left him no worse for the wear, a positive sign for a team that needs Murray running strong.

Let’s take a look at the entire Raiders snap count:

72 – OL Donald Penn, OL Gabe Jackson, OL Austin Howard, OL Rodney Hudson, QB Derek Carr
71 – OL Kelechi Osemele
68 – WR Amari Cooper
50 – WR Michael Crabtree
49 – TE Clive Walford
47 – WR Seth Roberts
42 – RB Latavius Murray
25 – FB Jamize Olawale
17 – WR Andre Holmes, Mychal Rivera
13 – RB DeAndre Washington
12 – OL Matt McCants
11 – OL Denver Kirkland
5 – WR Johnny Holton
4 – RB Jalen Richard
1 – OL Jon Feliciano

67 – CB Sean Smith, S Reggie Nelson, CB David Amerson, LB Perry Riley
66 – S Karl Joseph
63 – LB Malcolm Smith
60 – DE Khalil Mack
57 – LB Bruce Irvin
52 – CB DJ Hayden
42 – DL Denico Autry
34 – DL Jihad Ward
21 – LB Shilique Calhoun, DL Justin Ellis
20 – DL DL Darius Latham, DL Dan WIlliams
7 -- DL Stacy McGee
4 – S Keith McGill
2 – CB TJ Carrie

29 – Darren Bates, Nate Allen
25 – Andre Holmes, Jamize Olawale
24 – Shilique Calhoun
23 – Johnny Holton, Mychal Rivera
16 – Cory James, Sebastian Janikowski
14 – Antonio Hamilton
13 – Jon Condo, Marquette King
12 – Clive Walford
11 – Jon Feliciano
10 – Jalen Richard
9 – DJ Hayden, Karl Joseph
7 – Matt McCants, Denver Krikland, Gabe Jackson, Kelechi Osemele
6 – RB DeAndre Washington, Donald Penn
4 – TJ Carrie, Dan Williams, Darius Latham, Denico Autry, Bruce Irvin, Khalil Mack
3 – Justin Ellis
1 – Jihad Ward, Amari Cooper, Austin Howard
NOTE: Snap counts taken from official NFL game book

Notes: 'Carr to Crabtree was special' in Raiders' win over Jaguars

Notes: 'Carr to Crabtree was special' in Raiders' win over Jaguars

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Raiders receiver Michael Crabtree was a non-factor in last week’s loss to Kansas City, an aberration of the highest order this season.

It proved to be just a one-game lull.

Crabtree was an offensive catalyst yet again Sunday in a 33-16 victory over the Jacksonville Jaguars. He had eight receptions for 96 yards and a touchdown, including a long bomb that changed the game.

Quarterback Derek Carr went big on 3rd-and-5 late in the second quarter, sending a perfectly-arched ball down the right sideline that Crabtree caught over his shoulder at full gallop for a 56-yard gain that set up the Raiders’ second touchdown in five minutes.

Crabtree got it, again on third down, using a quick slant just beyond the goal line.

He refused to speak with the media again, but those around him were again wowed by his impact on the game, especially when Jaguars corner shadowed and largely shut Amari Cooper down.

“Michael Crabtree made some incredible plays today for us,” Del Rio said. “…Throughout the game he came up big for us and I thought he play really, really well for us. Obviously our quarterback is a good player. He did a good job for us hooking up with different receivers, but today Carr to Crabtree was special.”

King shows speed: Raiders punter Marquette King doesn’t have to run much. Players at his position usually don’t, except as a last resort when chasing a return.

King ran forward this time, prompted by a uncharacteristically poor Jon Condo snap. He didn’t have room to punt so he took off running, converting a 4th-and-24 with a 27-yard run down the sideline. It was a move that showed great athleticism, one he

“I just picked the ball up and started running,” King said. “After I passed the orange sticks, I got a little light-headed and realized ‘I’m really running the ball right now.’ It’s been since high school that I ran from the punting formation. I came in as a wide receiver for Fort Valley State and was really good at punting so they stuck with me.”

King ran out without getting hit – a plus in the coaches minds – and extended a drive that ended with a game-icing touchdown from Latavius Murray.

Too many field goals: Sebastian Janikowski had four field goals on Sunday night, which isn’t always a positive sign for the Raiders offense. They let too many touchdown-scoring chances escape, which bothered offensive players despite the fact they scored 33 points.

“When we’re in the red zone, we want points,” Murray said. “That’s most important, but we need touchdowns over field goals. We have a lot of work to do and we’ll keep striving to get seven points over three.”

Winning turnover battle: The Raiders forced three turnovers against Jacksonville and didn’t give up any.

David Amerson had an interception. So did Reggie Nelson. Andre Holmes recovered a punt muffed by Rashad Greene. That’s a recipe for success, something that’s become common for this Raiders team.

They’ve forced three turnovers without coughing it up three times this season. They’ve ended up with a plus turnover ratio six times in seven games.

Notes: Raiders LB Bruce Irvin recorded his fourth forced fumble of the season against Jacksonville, which are the most by a Raiders since Nick Roach equaled that total in 2013. …DE Khalil Mack had his second sack in as many games, and now leads the team with three. … Nelson nabbed his second interception this year and has 32 since 2007, a total that leads all active safeties. …RB Latavius Murray has five touchdowns in seven games, the highest total in that span since 2005. … The Raiders are 4-0 on the road, a mark that hasn’t been matched since 2000.