Raiders key matchup No. 3: Barnes vs. Miller

December 4, 2012, 6:15 pm
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EDITOR'S NOTE: This is the first part in a series that spotlights three Raiders-Broncos matchups to watch Thursday, 5:20 p.m. (NFL Network), at the Coliseum

Raiders RT Khalif Barnes vs. Broncos LB Von Miller

Tale of the tape
Barnes (69): 6-foot-5, 325 pounds, eighth season, Washington
Miller (58): 6-foot-3, 237 pounds, second season, Texas A&M

ALAMEDA -- Yes, technically, Von Miller is a strongside linebacker in Denver's 4-3 defensive alignment. But he is a sack-happy strongside linebacker, and Raiders right tackle Khalif Barnes was watching film on the Broncos defense when something in particular caught his eye.

"Usually, on my side, is mostly Von," Barnes said, "and Elvis (Dumerville) is on the other side. But they switch. I’ve seen them do both. But the majority of the time, Von Miller is on our right and Elvis is on our left. But they have the capability to play both sides and they do a good job at it, those two. They can rush from either side.

"I’ve even seen Von Miller line up at the 3-technique and rush from the inside. So, he can do pretty much everything. They have a great scheme, so anytime you play those guys you have your hands full."

No doubt Barnes will have hands full with Miller, who already has 15 sacks this season, a year after his 11 1/2 sacks helped earn him the NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year. And when he's not rushing the passer, Miller is dropping back into coverage and doing a decent job, as evidenced by his 26-yard pick-6 interception against Tampa Bay's Josh Freeman last week.

Even Raiders quarterback Carson Palmer said Miller does not get enough credit as a run-stopper or for his pass coverage skills.

"I mean, it’s very important to me, but that’s what I do the best is rush the passer, so that’s what I get viewed as," Miller said. "That’s all great, but I’m working on being an all-around guy. Pass rushing is definitely what I do best, but I think I do other things well too.

"I think I’m a long ways away from being the type of linebacker that the Denver Broncos brought me in to be and my teammates expect me to be. I’m just taking it one day at a time. I do need to cut down on mental errors. I think I’m doing a good job of that this year, but I still think I’ve got a long way to go."

Check back in in with Barnes after Thursday night, then.

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