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Scouting the Raiders

Discussion in 'Chargers Fan Forum' started by Johnny Lightning, Sep 8, 2009.

  1. Johnny Lightning

    Johnny Lightning Go Bolts

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    Chargers first opponent: Oakland Raiders, 7:15 p.m. Monday at Oakland

    7:39 p.m. September 8, 2009

    The Raiders have won 24 games and lost 72 in the past six seasons, but they're 0-0 this season, opening the season at home against a team they led 15-0 at halftime the last time it visited Oakland, and they just traded for a top defensive player to shore up the league's worst run defense over those six dreadful seasons. Of course, Richard Seymour hasn't reported yet, which puts his status for Monday's game in doubt, at least for now. The Raiders defense also added veteran end Greg Ellis.

    Offensively, the Raiders are counting on JaMarcus Russell to continue the improvement he showed late last season, but he doesn't exactly have the 2009 version of Branch and Biletnikoff as targets. The jury remains out on No. 1 pick Darrius Heyward-Bey. Oakland does, however, have three very capable backs in Darren McFadden, Michael Bush and Justin Fargas. And the special teams are strong, with veterans Shane Lechler and Sebastian Janikowski punting and kicking, and the explosive return specialist Johnnie Lee Higgins.

    – Jay Posner

    THREE PLAYERS TO WATCH

    JaMarcus Russell, QB. No. 1 overall pick in 2007 finished his first season a starter last year by – no kidding – playing well. In his past three games, Russell completed 63 percent of his passes with six TDs, only two INTs and a 102.8 passer rating. Al Davis drafted a fast receiver for Russell in the first round in April, but will Darrius Heyward-Bey catch more than he drops?

    Zach Miller, TE. OK, so he's not likely to be in any Pro Bowls any time soon – but he might if he could face the Chargers each week. Miller is the perfect example of the Chargers never having met a tight end they couldn't make look like an All-Pro. In his last three games against San Diego, Miller has averaged 7.0 catches for 81 yards. In his other 29 NFL games, Miller has averaged 2.8 catches for 33.8 yards.

    Kirk Morrison, LB. For a couple of weeks, it looked like the former San Diego State standout would not get to face the team that occupies his college stadium, after he dislocated his elbow. But the Raiders say he's going to play. Now, what's he going to do about fixing a run defense that has allowed 141.7 yards rushing per game for the last six seasons?

    FAMILIAR FACES
    Coach Tom Cable was a graduate assistant coach in 1989 at San Diego State, where Raiders linebacker Kirk Morrison and wide receiver Chaz Schilens played. Tackle Khalif Barnes and receiver Todd Watkins are San Diego natives who played at Mount Miguel and Helix high schools, respectively. Passing game coordinator Ted Tollner was Chargers offensive coordinator from 1989-91 and SDSU head coach from 1994-2001. Linebackers coach Mike Haluchak served in that role for the Chargers from 1986-91.

    INJURY REPORT
    Ex-Aztec Chaz Schilens (foot), who had been Oakland's most impressive receiver early in camp, won't play until Week 2. Another ex-Aztec, Kirk Morrison, dislocated his left elbow Aug. 22 but will start, as will cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha (wrist). Tackle Khalif Barnes (ankle) is questionable at best, while running back Justin Fargas (hamstring) likely will be available.

    SERIES HISTORY
    Oakland leads the overall series 54-42-2 despite dropping the past 11 meetings. The Raiders' last win was in overtime at home in 2003 – the last season Oakland finished above .500 and the Chargers didn't. The Chargers have won the past five at Oakland by an average of 13.8 points, although they needed to score 25 fourth-quarter points to rally from a 15-0 deficit last September.

    DID YOU KNOW?
    Before their current run of six straight losing seasons, the Raiders had never gone more than three years in a row without finishing at .500 or better (1960-62).

    DID YOU HEAR?
    “He's got to get here. We need him. I don't care if he's mad. Maybe that will make him play even better.” – An anonymous Raiders player, speaking about Richard Seymour to the Contra Costa Times

    NUMBERS
    5 – TDs of 55 yards or longer last season by Johnnie Lee Higgins (three punt returns, two catches).
    6 – Consecutive Monday night games lost by Raiders from 2003-08.
    24 – Games won by the Raiders in past six seasons.
    77 – Games won by Richard Seymour's former team, the Patriots, in past six seasons.
     

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