Raiders key matchup No. 3: Palmer vs. Barber


Raiders key matchup No. 3: Palmer vs. Barber

EDITOR'S NOTE: This is the first part in a series that spotlights three Raiders-Buccaneers matchups to watch Sunday, 1:05 p.m. (Fox), at Coliseum.Raiders QB Carson Palmer vs. Buccaneers FS Ronde BarberTale of the tape
Palmer (3): 6-foot-5, 235 pounds, 10th season, USC
Barber (20): 5-foot-10, 184 pounds, 16th season, VirginiaALAMEDA -- At 32 years old, Carson Palmer is seen as an elder statesman, of sorts, in the NFL.Then again, Palmer was a high school senior when Ronde Barber was playing his rookie NFL season, in 1997.RELATED: Ageless Barber keeps on keeping on
Welcome to Sunday's Battle for the Ages, er, Aged. The two have a combined 26 seasons of pro football experience and seven Pro Bowl selections. That both are figurative old dogs learning new tricks -- Palmer is in a West Coast offense for the first time in his career while Barber has made the switch from cornerback to free safety -- makes this matchup all the more intriguing, but not necessarily more fun.
"Enjoy is definitely not the right word," Palmer said of facing Barber. "Ive played against him a handful of times over the years, and nickel, dime, safety, wherever he is, I looked at his age today and hes 37 years old. But he absolutely flashes on film."He makes plays, hes great in coverage. He makes a couple of unbelievable interceptions off tipped balls. Hell come up and tackle Adrian Peterson and stuff him. Hes everywhere. He makes plays. Hes playing as good a football as Ive seen him play."You could say the same of Palmer, who is on pace to to pass for a career-high 4,436 yards with a career-low-for-16-games 11 interceptions. And his current passer rating of 85.7 would be his best since 2007.Seems both Palmer and Barber, who already has three interceptions, are enjoying renaissance-type seasons."Im sure he was at the point in his career where he knew the defense inside and out," Palmer said of Barber. "Probably didnt look at the playbook very much. Now, with a new defensive coordinator, new calls, new position, Im sure it is energizing for him. I know Ive gone through a similar thing, but you cant tell. It doesnt look like its his first year playing safety."Palmer, meanwhile, has started 16 games for the Raiders now since being acquired from the Cincinnati Bengals last October. His numbers in those 16 starts: 4,578 yards on 353-of-576 passing (61.3 percent) with 22 touchdowns and 18 interceptions.The 4,578 passing yards are obviously more than Palmer's had in any single season, eclipsing the 4,131 yards he passed for in 2007."The few times I faced him when he was in Cincinnati you would always prepare for him like hes the true pro," Barber said of Palmer. "He understands where to deliver the football. If you give him certain looks hes going to make the right reads. You've got to expect that out of him. Hes not one to make many mistakes. Obviously, were going to do our best to try to force him into them."In two career games against Barber and the Buccaneers, Palmer is 2-0 with 470 yards passing with three TDs and three INTs."Hes a 10-year guy now so theres not much that he, like me, hasnt seen," Barber said. "Were going to have to be on our details, finish our preparation this week and see if we can pick up anything on him. If we do, well try to exploit them."

Raiders 'don't mind tough things,' ready for adverse conditions vs Chiefs

Raiders 'don't mind tough things,' ready for adverse conditions vs Chiefs

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Arrowhead Stadium has literally become a frozen tundra. Heaters under the playing surface malfunctioned on Wednesday night, allowing a layer of ice to form under the tarp in below freezing temperatures.

That information comes courtesy of an NFL Network reporter on site Thursday morning in advance of an evening showdown between the rival Raiders and Chiefs.

The field is expected to thaw by kickoff, but any remaining ice patch would add to the adversity facing the Silver and Black in a pivotal AFC West showdown.

They are the only NFL team to travel more than one time zone to play on “Thursday Night Football,” adding another wrinkle to a game that deserves to be played on regular rest. Instead teams will square off in a made-for-TV event without much time to prepare

Raiders head coach Jack Del Rio could’ve griped about an adverse lot, but he refused to line up reasons why his team might not play well.

“We’re going to be excited to play,” Del Rio said. “It’s a tough set of circumstances. We don’t mind tough things. We’re looking forward to the challenge.”

Beating the Chiefs is a daunting task. The Raiders weren’t up to it earlier this year, when Kansas City came to Oakland and made it their home. The Raiders must even the score or find themselves in a bind. Kansas City would own the divisional tiebreaker with three games remaining, and would be in great position to win the AFC West.

The Chiefs have been Raiders kryptonite in recent seasons. They have won six of seven matchups, a trend the Raiders hope to buck on Thursday night.

“Everyone mentions, ‘They’ve beaten you this many times,’ and these things and all of that,” Raiders quarterback Derek Carr said. “When I’m preparing for these guys, it never goes through my head. That stuff never has a determining factor on anything I write down, anything that goes on in my brain or anything like that. I just prepare for them just like I do any other game. I prepare for them the same way that I do for everybody. I’m going to go out there, and I’m looking forward to competing against them though this time.”

Carr won’t compete from under center. The Raiders will stay in shotgun and pistol formations for a second straight week to protect a right pinky finger dislocated in two places against the Carolina Panthers. That shouldn’t limit them much, though it makes life harder on the run game.

The Raiders performed pretty well on the ground against Buffalo, totaling 139 yards on 32 carries. Latavius Murray led that effort, with 82 yards and two touchdowns on 20 carries.

Murray missed the last game against Kansas City with turf toe, but will be ready to take a heavy load this time around. He has been taking more carries over the last month, with a previously equal running back rotation now shading his way. Murray should be a play a big role in this contest, which should come down to the fourth quarter.

“The Chiefs are a rival that we’ve struggled with,” Murray said. “We know what’s at stake for this season. They stand in the way of our goal of winning the division. We need to take care of them.”

The Raiders must take care of Kansas City on a short week, in loud, hostile environment. Oh, and in the bitter cold. It’s expected to be 20 degrees at kickoff, with wind coursing through Arrowhead Stadium.

The Raiders don’t mind that either. They’re 6-0 in games away from Oakland Coliseum, and are confident they can overcome adversity this particular game presents.

“You just have to get your mind right and go play,” Del Rio said. “We’ll be ready to go. We have a good group of guys. Feel like we’re weather proof. We’ll go play.”

Injury report: Joseph out, Latham questionable for Raiders vs Chiefs

Injury report: Joseph out, Latham questionable for Raiders vs Chiefs

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Raiders safety Karl Joseph hurt his toe in Sunday’s victory over Buffalo, and was still in pain early the next week.

That gave him virtually no shot to play Kansas City on Thursday night with a short week to recover. The Raiders made his omission official on Wednesday, and ruled the first-round pick out of the AFC West clash at Arrowhead Stadium on their official injury report.

Veteran Nate Allen will take his place in the starting lineup. He played well in Joseph’s stead against the Bills, and has the versatility to play back or closer to the line of scrimmage as Joseph did.

The Raiders defense is still ailing on the interior, with defensive tackle Stacy McGee (ankle) ruled out of his second straight contest.

There is slightly better news for Darius Latham, who was deemed questionable after missing two light practices but returning in time for limited work on Wednesday. Getting him back would help a thinned rotation that heavily features Denico Autry, Dan Williams and Jihad Ward, who has struggled some of late.

The Chiefs have a healthy team despite the short week. Receiver Jeremy Maclin will return from a groin injury. Edge rusher Tamba Hali will play despite limted practice work, and defensive tackle Dontari Poe is questionable with a back issue.

Raiders Status Report

LB Shilique Calhoun (knee), S Karl Joseph (toe), DT Stacy McGee (ankle) Questionable
DT Darius Latham (ankle), LG Kelechi Osemele (knee), LB Cory James (shoulder)

Chiefs Status Report

DT Dontari Poe (back), DE Kendall Reyes (knee)

NOTE: Kansas City’s WR Jeremy Maclin, OLB Tamba Hali and CB Phillip Gaines did not receive an injury designation, meaning they will play.