Oakland Raiders vs. Chargers Preview: Keys to the Game

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Oct 25, 2015; San Diego, CA, USA; Oakland Raiders wide receiver Michael Crabtree (15) is defended by San Diego Chargers cornerback Patrick Robinson (26) during the second quarter at Qualcomm Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

4. Exploit The Chargers’ Small Corners

With their top cover corner – Brandon Flowers – out on IR, the Chargers come into Thursday’s matchup with a group of young, undersized corners looking to hold their own against the Raiders’ very talented wide receivers group. This will create physical mismatches all over the field and Bill Musgrave and Derek Carr should look to exploit these mismatches at every opportunity.

Right now the tallest active corner for San Diego is 5’11” Craig Mager, who will likely see very limited action, as the Chargers will most likely be using Steve Williams and Jason Verrett – both 5’10” – on the perimeter with 5’10” Patrick Robinson likely to see most of the snaps as the slot/nickel cornerback.

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Michael Crabtree evokes painful 49ers memory after Eagles Super Bowl loss
Michael Crabtree evokes painful 49ers memory after Eagles Super Bowl loss /

Niner Noise

  • Oklahoma State football: Determining Justin's Blackmon's all-time ranking Pokes Post
  • Texas Tech football: Michael Crabtree to be inducted into Ring of Honor Wreck'Em Red
  • Texas Tech football: Graham Harrell; Michael Crabtree selected to Texas Tech Hall of Fame Wreck'Em Red
  • Texas Football: 12 biggest villains in Longhorns history Hook'em Headlines
  • Raiders: Could signing Michael Crabtree save Derek Carr's season? Golden Gate Sports
  • While Amari Cooper – who is about 6’1″ – has a significant height advantage on any of these three, the Raiders may look to the 6’2″ tandem of Michael Crabtree and Seth Roberts on the perimeter to create height advantages outside and use Cooper in the slot so he can use his speed and route-running ability to create separation and make it tough for the Chargers to bracket him using safeties Eric Weddle and Jahleel Addae.

    Another potential alignment to create mismatches would be finding ways to put the big bodies up against San Diego’s tiny corners, guys like Clive Walford and Andre Holmes, who are both 6’4″, or Marcel Reece and his fullback frame that can box out and simply wear down the slender San Diego cornerbacks. The Raiders have the guys to use a lot of different looks and exploit the talented but small San Diego secondary, meaning Carr will be able to get the ball out even against good coverage simply because he knows the corners can’t compete with his guys for the ball.