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News » Oakland Raiders Strategy and Personnel 2008-12-25

Oakland Raiders Strategy and Personnel 2008-12-25

Oakland Raiders Strategy and Personnel 2008-12-25
With the Bucs having been susceptible to the run, the Raiders could opt to use Tony Stewart as a second tight end for a larger portion of the game, which would serve to free Zach Miller in the passing game as well as give an additional blocker in the running game.


--CB Nnamdi Asomugha did not practice with a neck injury but is expected to start against Tampa Bay.

--LB Ricky Brown did not practice with a groin injury and is not expected to play against Tampa Bay.

--WR Ronald Curry missed practice with turf toe and the team is considering putting him on injured reserve for the season finale.

--FB Marcel Reece would likely be elevated from the practice squad should WR Ronald Curry be put on injured reserve.

--TE Zach Miller needs 44 yards receiving to surpass the 787 by Rickey Dudley in 1997 and have the most yardage for a Raiders tight end since Todd Christensen had 1,153 yards in 1986.

GAME PLAN: It's not complicated. The Bucs have been shredded against the run of late and the Raiders are running the ball more consistently at any time this season. It becomes a difficult game for the Bucs if they don't slow Justin Fargas, and much easier if they manage to keep the Raiders at 3.5 yards per carry or less and are able to get after Russell. Offensively, the Raiders were much better against the run against Houston but are giving up an average of 162.0 yards per game, 31str in the NFL, and 21 rushing touchdowns. Those numbers alone will cause Jon Gruden to be persistent even as long as the Tampa defense is holding its own. In the meantime, he'll look to get Antonio Bryant in position to do some damage against single coverage.

MATCHUPS TO WATCH: Raiders CB Stanford Routt vs. Buccaneers WR Antonio Bryant. With 80 receptions for 1,171 yards, seven touchdowns and a highlight reel full of great catches, Bryant has rebuilt his career with the Buccaneers and in his last three games has 23 receptions for 435 yards and four touchdowns. One of Gruden's strengths is orchestrating matchups, meaning Routt, the Raiders third corner, could find himself in one-on-one situations with the NFL's hottest receiver while Nnamdi Asomugha and Chris Johnson are dealing with the likes of Joey Galloway and Ike Hilliard.

Buccaneers SS Sabby Piscitelli vs. Raiders TE Zach Miller. With Jermaine Phillips out for the season injured, Piscitelli, a second-year safety out of Oregon State, takes aim at Miller, a Pac-10 foe from Arizona State. Miller had four catches for 70 yards, all in the first half, against Houston and his far and away the Raiders best and most reliable receiver, ability to work both in the middle against zones and underneath crossing routes with JaMarcus Russell on the bootleg.

INJURY IMPACT: Assuming the Raiders are being on the level regarding Asomugha's neck injury, Oakland finds itself as being extremely healthy with its remaining roster for Week 17. The same could not be said for the Bucs, particularly along their defensive front, which portends a lot of running plays for the Raiders should the game remain close.

Author:Fox Sports
Author's Website:http://www.foxsports.com
Added: December 25, 2008

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Todd Watkins Name: Todd Watkins
Position: WR
Age: 25
Experience: 1 years
College: Brigham Young
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