GAME PLAN: Chiefs vs. Raiders

The Chiefs have been preparing for this day for a while. They just hoped that it wouldn't come this soon. They knew they wouldn't have standout left tackle Willie Roaf forever. But now they're dealing with the likelihood that they won't have him Sunday for a prime-time evening game at Oakland.

Roaf helped pave the road for 86 of Kansas City's 198 total rushing yards in just the two series he played in Kansas City's dominating 27-7 season-opening victory over the New York Jets. Kansas City scored two touchdowns on those two possessions and quarterback Trent Green completed all eight passes for 76 yards.

But then Roaf went down and out with a hamstring injury. And though the Chiefs were feeling better upon learning that Roaf had merely strained, as opposed to tearing the hammy, they know they probably won't have the ten time All-Pro offensive lineman for the next couple of games.

With Roaf in the lineup, Kansas City stood a better chance of mounting an effective ball-control running game that has proven especially important in recent Chiefs-Raiders game. Dating back to 1990, the team with the rushing edge is 23-7 in regular-season Chiefs-Raiders games.

With Roaf out, third-year tackle Jordan Black -- KC's starting right tackle in four games last year -- will make his first start at left tackle. On the right side will be either Chris Bober, who has spent most of his career at guard, or second-year player Kevin Sampson, who missed the Jets opener with a dislocated toe.

The Chiefs spent the spring and summer workouts preparing Black and Sampson for the day when they'd become full-time starters.

"That's a big reason why we gave Willie and Will (Shields) rest in training camp -- we needed those young guys to get more reps," said Brian Waters, the Pro Bowl left guard who will play next to Black. "We knew that somewhere down the line we were going to need them to step up.

"We didn't want it to come this early. We didn't want it to come at all. But we knew that somewhere down the line we were going to need them," he added.

Ready or not, their time is now against a Raider defense that was awful against the run last year -- ranking dead last in the league -- but which improved to hold New England's Corey Dillon to just 63 yards on 23 carries in the season opener at Foxboro.

PLAYER & PERSONNEL NOTES:
FB Tony Richardson - Was listed as questionable for the Raiders game with a knee injury, did not practice Wednesday, but he expressed confidence that he would be able to practice by Friday and play Sunday in Oakland.

TE Kris Wilson - Might line up or shift into the backfield often against Oakland if the Chiefs don't have regular FB Tony Richardson as available as he usually is. Wilson is a classic hybrid player who is part tight end, wide out and fullback.

DT Ryan Sims - Was surprisingly listed as only questionable, is in no position to play after sustaining a major foot injury that likely will keep him out of action for an extended period.

RT Kevin Sampson - Split practice reps with Chris Bober and is listed as questionable.

QB Todd Collins - Said on Wednesday that he could now throw the ball effectively enough with his fractured throwing hand that he expects to return to his role as No. 2 quarterback this week.

CB Dewayne Washington - Who replaced Patrick Surtain in base defenses against the Jets last week after Surtain went down with a head trauma, missed Wednesday's practice with back spasms and is listed as questionable.

GAME PLAN:
With the running game likely limited by the loss of Willie Roaf and the presence of an improved Raiders rush defense, the Chiefs will want to test the Oakland pass defense that New England's Tom Brady shredded in the opener. With fullback Tony Richardson hurting (knee), the Chiefs may go with more one back sets rather than rely heavily on untested first-year replacement FB Ronnie Cruz.

Then again, it would surprise anyone to see them use some three TEs sets, or maybe even occasionally put Priest Holmes and Larry Johnson in the same backfield.

Trent Green has thrown effectively in Kansas City's recent four- game winning streak over the Raiders. He's completed 89 of 135 passes (almost 66 percent) with six TD's and just three INT's. He'll look to get skilled players matched up on Oakland's over-sized outside backers, a pair of transplanted defensive ends.

KEY MATCHUPS:
Raider WR's Randy Moss and Jerry Porter on Chiefs CBs Patrick Surtain and Dexter McCleon. Look for the Raiders to search out McCleon, who will need some Cover Two help and a good pass rush to hang in there.

Chiefs TE Tony Gonzalez vs. Raiders OLB Tyler Brayton, SS Derrick Gibson and maybe CB Charles Woodson. Gonzalez offers match up problems for both Brayton and Gibson, so it wouldn't be surprising to see Oakland occasionally cover with Woodson, its best corner. If that happens, KC will have matchups to exploit elsewhere.

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