Raiders Face Tough Task in Defending Philip Rivers

There could not have been a worse time for the Oakland Raiders to see their strength become a weakness. With Nnamdi Asomugh and Chris Johnson injured, the Oakland secondary has suddenly become easy prey.

Chad Henne exploited rookie Walter McFadden on Sunday as a dormant Dolphins passing game came to life in dramatic fashion. That doesn’t bode well with the league’s top passer as the next opponent.

Philip Rivers is on a record setting pace having torched the NFL for over 3,300 yards in just 11 games. Rivers is one of the few quarterbacks in the league unafraid to test Nnamdi and he’s got to be licking his chops knowing Aso is on a bad wheel.

In the previous meeting in Oakland, it was the Raiders who had the last laugh as they ended a near decade-long losing streak to the Bolts. Despite the Raider W, Rivers still shredded the Oakland secondary with a monster 431-yard afternoon that included some long bombs that made Aso look average. Mind you, that was a healthy Nnamdi.

To compound the issue, Rivers is doing all this with a patchwork group of receivers. Charger receivers are dropping faster than a Dolphin fan running smack in the Coliseum. Every week there is a new target for Rivers to play catch with and every time he’s finding ways to make them look good.

As if that weren’t enough, the Raiders are facing San Diego during their annual second half win streak. The Chargers are rolling while the Raiders are reeling.

It might seem like an impossible task to defend against Rivers given all the circumstances facing Oakland but there is a dirty four letter word that could help: Zone.

I know…I know…I can hear Al Davis rolling his eyes. But that might be the best bet.

Stanford Routt has had an impressive season but since he’s the best healthy cover corner the Silver and Black currently have, he’s been playing the Nnamdi role. Opposing quarterbacks are simply ignoring Routt and instead choosing to throw at his counterpart.

In all, it is a headache John Marshall has had all week long and most likely won’t get any better come Sunday unless his defensive line can get some pressure on Rivers.

Last week the front four were MIA against Miami. Henne had all day long to throw and took his time in picking the Raiders apart.

With the season hanging in the balance, the Raiders can’t afford to fall any further behind their AFC West rivals. Another lopsided loss could spell certain doom for any playoff hopes and will only further the speculation around Tom Cable’s prospects of being on the sideline next season.

Tags: Al Davis, Oakland Raiders, Raider Nation, Fans, Popular, Featured Chad Henne Chris Johnson John Marshall Nnamdi Asomugha Oakland Raiders Philip Rivers San Diego Chargers Stanford Routt Walter McFadden

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