Moss a litmus test for Chargers secondary

The Chargers' retooled secondary will get its first test of the new season on Monday night when the team heads to Oakland to take on the rival Raiders. Marlon McCree and Antonio Cromartie have been brought in to aid last season's No. 28 pass defense, and Randy Moss will provide a quick litmus test for the unit's progress.

"Everything he does appears to be very effortless," said Coach Marty Schottenheimer of Moss. "People tend to forget how big he is. When he gets the ball in his hands he is hard to catch because he can fly."

The new Chargers secondary believes itself up to the challenge. Cromartie will offer another big body to put on Moss, and McCree will provide the deep support that has been missing in seasons past. However, it may be the holdovers from last season's squad who have the best chance against the Raiders' All-Pro receiver.

Drayton Florence works out with Moss every offseason at a Florida speed camp, while Bhawoh Jue spent four years in the same division as Moss when they played for the Packers and Vikings, respectively.

"I'd like to think I could take him," Florence said. "He's been a star in this league for nine years, so it's going to be a tough match-up."

Jue also feels his experience against Moss works to his advantage, as he knows what to expect from the enigmatic receiver.

"One of the keys for us is you don't fall asleep," Jue said. "Randy will walk off the line and even when he is running a route he will jog the route. One time he will jog and then it is a jump ball and a foot race."

There is no question the Chargers' secondary will be tested. It will be up to the team's defensive front seven to make that test as easy as possible.

"Any quarterback – you get pressure on them and it is hard to throw the ball," said Shawne Merriman, who will be charged with ensuring Aaron Brooks has as little time to throw as possible.

The Chargers also have to be careful not to pay too much attention to Moss. If they do, LaMont Jordan will romp all over the league's reigning No.1 run defense.

"The overlooked thing in this whole thing is the running back, Jordan," said Schottenheimer. "That kid is a terrific runner. He has got power. He has the speed to get to the edge with it. He is a very good receiver. He is a very talented young man."

Coach has a good point, as the Raiders seem prepared to use the run to set up the pass.

Raiders offensive tackle Langston Walker said the following about his team's game plan: "If the opposing team figures we're going to start running it down their throats, they are going to put more guys in the box and that opens it up for Porter and Moss and the rest of our wide receivers and tight ends and skill guys. It will open it up deep for them."

No matter how they go about it, the Raiders will find a way to get the ball to Randy Moss. It will be up to the members of the Chargers secondary, new and old alike, to find a way to contain him.

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