Oakland Raiders at San Diego Chargers: Keys to the Game

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Oct 18, 2015; Green Bay, WI, USA; San Diego Chargers tight end Ladarius Green (89) catches a touchdown pass during the third quarter against the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field. Green Bay won 27-20. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

2. Don’t Underestimate Ladarius Green

While the Raiders are certainly familiar with what Antonio Gates can bring to the Charger offense and the damage he can do, and are no doubt breathing a sigh of relief that he will likely be absent on Sunday, it is imperative that Ken Norton’s troops don’t underestimate his understudy.

Ladarius Green is now in his fourth year, and through five games has already exceeded his career high in receptions, logging 22 for 259 yards and three scores. Green was drafted in the 4th round of the 2012 draft, likely to be the eventual replacement for the exemplary Antonio Gates.

Like Gates, Green is tall and athletic, with a rangy frame at 6’6″ and 235 pounds. He ran a 4.53 second 40 at the 2012 Scouting Combine, making him among the speediest tight ends in the league and on par with the average NFL wide receiver.

Green is a dangerous seam target who has the height, reach and leaping ability to be a lethal red zone target. While he’s not quite in Antonio Gates territory, he’s a far more athletic player than tight ends that have burned the Raiders all season, so it’s imperative that he be dealt with through scheme and finding a favorable matchup, like Neiron Ball, who can keep him from doing any real damage.

Next: Keys to the Game: Use the Interior Blitz