Oakland Raiders: Ravens Gameplan

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August 30, 2015; Oakland, CA, USA; Oakland Raiders outside linebacker Khalil Mack (52) during the second quarter in a preseason NFL football game against the Arizona Cardinals at O.co Coliseum. The Cardinals defeated the Raiders 30-23. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports


The Raiders should start Aldon Smith at the Leo and move Khalil Mack to strongside outside linebacker. That way, all Smith has to think about is playing the run on the way to the quarterback to make him a more effective presence in disrupting Joe Flacco in the pocket. From there, defensive coordinator Ken Norton Jr. should dial up blitzes so Mack and Smith can rush the passer in their base defense.

The Ravens couldn’t handle it when the Denver Broncos blitzed with Von Miller and Demarcus Ware rushing at the same time. They blitzed Flacco seven times and he went 0-7 with two interceptions and was sacked once. Having Smith and Mack on opposite sides would negate the Ravens’ ability to scheme against Mack like the Bengals did too.

Ravens head coach John Harbaugh sounds like he has that in mind as CSNBayArea quoted him saying. “I think they have a lot of very good players on defense, but he’s probably the focal point. He’s a potential game-wrecker. That guy can potentially wreck the whole game. You have to pay close attention to him.”

To let you know how important it is to blitz Flacco he completed 72% of his passes when the Broncos didn’t blitz him. Flacco has a big arm and likes to throw the deep ball and blitzing him won’t give him time for that. The pressure made him throw a lot of short passes and you see that didn’t work out so well for the Ravens last Sunday.

Next: Bump and Run