Raiders key matchup No. 1: Wheeler vs. Lewis

October 21, 2012, 3:29 pm
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EDITOR'S NOTE: This is the final part in a series that spotlighted three Raiders-Jaguars matchups to watch Sunday, 1:25 p.m. (CBS), at the Coliseum.

Matchup No. 3: Rolando McClain vs. Maurice Jones-Drew
Matchup No. 2: Darren McFadden vs. Russell Allen
Raiders LB Philip Wheeler vs. Jaguars TE Marcedes LewisTale of the tape
Wheeler (52): 6-foot-2, 240 pounds, fifth season, Georgia Tech
Lewis (89): 6-foot-6, 272 pounds, seventh season, UCLAALAMEDA -- No doubt Jacksonville is a run-first team that will go as far as tailback Maurice Jones-Drew can carry it. But if the Jaguars decide to get a little froggy with the Raiders on Sunday, might they jump on the passing game with their Pro Bowl tight end?If so, expect Marcedes Lewis to be the focal point of such an attack. And for Philip Wheeler, the Raiders' strongside linebacker, to be there to meet him.Lewis' 14 receptions are tied for the Jacksonville team lead, as are his two touchdown receptions, while his 116 yards receiving rank fourth. He is also considered one of the best blocking tight ends in the NFL.Last week, Wheeler found himself covering Atlanta's Hall of Fame-bound Tony Gonzalez for much of the afternoon. So is Lewis a similar tight end?"As far as a good tight end, yeah, (Lewis is) definitely a good tight end," Wheeler said. "Hes a little bit different in terms of his length and speed, so Im looking for high throws and trying to get my hands on some balls try and not let him catch the ball."Two years ago, in the Jaguars' come-from-behind 38-31 defeat of the Raiders in Jacksonville, Lewis caught four passes for 57 yards, including a one-yard TD.Wheeler was not with Oakland then, rather, he was in the same division as the Jaguars with the Indianapolis Colts, the AFC South. So yeah, Wheeler, who has a team-high 44 tackles and two forced fumbles for the Raiders, has an inkling what to expect.Even if he has an added role with the Raiders in that he now wears the communication device in his helmet to speak to the sidelines, as noted by the green dot on his helmet. Wheeler, who last wore the mic in college, has taken over the duties from middle linebacker Rolando McClain, who was taken off the field in the nickel defense last week while Wheeler and rookie Miles Burris stayed on the field for every defensive snap against Atlanta."It gives me a lot of responsibilities and it makes me work harder," Wheeler said of wearing the mic."Its forced me to get in the film room more, so I can make better calls and do whats right for the defense, and Im up to the job."Check in with Lewis later on that count. Even as Jaguars coach Mike Mularkey wants quarterback Blaine Gabbert to run more and make more plays outside of the pocket. Which would call upon the tight end to bail out his QB.