Sometimes life is just unfair. In the book on sportsmanship you’ll likely find an entry that instructs you to not kick an opponent while they’re down. Well, that book only applies to amateurs. In the big boy professional world picking on an opponent’s glaring weakness is mandatory.
On Sunday the Minnesota Vikings will take the field with a secondary depleted by injuries, arrests and general poor play. If Carson Palmer doesn’t throw the rock at least 30 times it had better be because Michael Bush has more than 200 yards rushing.
Last week Hue Jackson unleashed his bully on a San Diego Charger offensive line that was as weak as Mr. Burns trying to bench two plates. This week Jackson needs to let his bully fly. More specifically he needs let Palmer let it fly.
Now attacking the secondary is one thing. Finding enough time to scan the field and make good throws when the NFL’s best pass rusher is coming after you is another.
It will be Jared on Jared violence as Veldheer will be pitted with trying to contain Allen.
Coach Jackson has already stated that the Raiders are going to give Allen “special attention”. Rightfully so. Currently Allen is on pace to push Michael Strahan out of the record book for most sacks in a season. But that is nothing new to the Raiders who faced Jared back when he was a Chief.
Luckily for Oakland they have a dominant ground game even without Darren McFadden. Keeping the Viking defense honest will go a long way in keeping Jared Allen’s rodeo sack celebration from being on an endless loop.
Even with the offensive balance, Palmer must make quick decisions and be precise. While Carson carved the Chargers he did have to rely on his receivers to make some impressive catches on a couple inaccurate throws. Mind you we’re not talking Tebow inaccurate. On one toss Palmer underthrew Jacoby Ford who would have put six on the board with a better toss. On another Palmer overthrew Denarius Moore who made a sick finger tip grab for a big gain.
Chalk some of that up to the little rust that remains on Carson.
Overall the reviews on Palmer have been very good. Tomorrow could be the moment it all comes together. Or it could be when it all falls apart. That is the NFL and that is what the Raiders must avoid.
By picking on the misfit Minnesota secondary the Raiders will keep themselves ahead of the AFC West competition. It might not be the most sporting thing to do but in pro football it is the only thing to do.
Just exploit, baby!