Chargers look to sack Raiders

The Oakland Raiders spent much of the week sorting out protection issues after watching quarterback Kerry Collins get sacked a season-high seven times in a 33-21 loss to the Miami Dolphins. Enter the Chargers – a team that ranks near the top of the sack lists.

After never being able to get a handle on a Miami defense that uses Jason Taylor as a hybrid end and linebacker, San Diego and its hybrids are salivating.

San Diego has 35 sacks, with seven of them coming from rookie Shawne Merriman, a 6-foot-4, 272-pound linebacker who comes from the edge much in the manner of Taylor.

"Any quarterback – you get pressure on them and it is hard to throw the ball," linebacker Shawne Merriman said. "That is what we have to do this week."

Collins, sacked just 22 times in 506 passes last season, has been dropped 29 times in 406 attempts in 2005.

"Our protection has been one of our strengths," Raiders coach Norv Turner said. "We've been practicing well, and we've protected well – particularly in the second halves of games when we've had to throw it."

Raiders left tackle Barry Sims said the Raiders weren't confused so much as they were simply outplayed.

"It comes down to executing, and there were plays we didn't execute up to the level we are capable of," Sims said. "Those are the types of guys that capitalize on things like that and they did."

With the Raiders running more, long-developing patterns with the addition of Randy Moss, Collins has made the problem worse by holding onto the ball too long.

Steve Foley is feeling much healthier and Shaun Phillips continues to show a burst off the edge, making the Chargers lick their lips with anticipation.

"As long as we stay solid against the run we can be aggressive against the pass," said Foley.

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