After spending the week in Florida after their dominant win over the Jacksonville Jaguars, the Oakland Raiders (5-2) will look to cap off their stay in the Sunshine State with another victory over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (3-3).
“I think the biggest thing is we don’t have to fly back and forth,” Oakland Raiders head coach Jack Del Rio said in reference to his team’s 10-day stay in Florida. “For us, mainly as far as being here and acclimated, I don’t know that you ever acclimate in as short a time as we’re here. We understand what we’re up against. We traveled to Tennessee before and played in similar conditions in terms of heat and humidity.”
In an effort to return to Oakland with more positive memories than just the weather, Del Rio and company must come away with the win against the Buccaneers.
Here we take a closer look at how the Raiders’ matchup against Tampa Bay will go down on Sunday.
Raiders’ Edge-Rushers to Take Turns Bullying Donovan Smith
Because Raiders edge-rushers Khalil Mack and Bruce Irvin haven’t taken the league by storm in terms of sacks, their impact is often overlooked. However, Irvin and Mack have an opportunity to finally add to the stat sheet against second-year offensive tackle Donovan Smith.
Smith is in the midst of a sophomore slump, as the former second-round pick out of Penn State has graded out as the 66th ranked offensive tackle this season, per ProFootballFocus.com.
Opposite of Smith, Demar Dotson has exceeded expectations at right tackle, making a positive impact in both pass protection and run blocking concepts.
With Smith underperforming at left tackle, look for Raiders defensive coordinator Ken Norton Jr. to target the young, inexperienced tackle early and often. With that being said, Mack and Irvin will obviously attack Smith on nearly every down, and Norton Jr. should dial up some blitzes off the edge to specifically take advantage of Smith’s poor play.
If the Raiders’ defense can successfully create pressure on the Buccaneers second-year quarterback Jameis Winston, the former first overall pick will have a hard time finding his rhythm throwing the football, and their impact should also help them effectively defend the run along the edge.