When we debuted this column last week, we mentioned that the National Boys generally don't know as much as the true fans who watch these teams on a daily basis. When reading or listening to the national commentary about one's favorite team, it becomes apparent that they don't know the intricacies of the individual teams. That's why in this weekly column we went to the real experts for analysis for the up coming game. Who are these experts?
They are the fans of the various teams. These are the people who analyze every on field and off field move made by every member of the organization. From the owner and general manager to the undrafted rookie free agent, the fans know what's going on, what moves should be or should not be made, and what play should be called.
This week we visit with fans of the Oakland Raiders. Our panel consists of the following:
Robert Bledsoe: A 39- year old office administrator, from Santa Rosa, CA; a Raiders fan for 31 years.
Cesar Kisielewski: A 29- year old project manager, from Antioch, CA; a Raiders fan since 1983.
Andy Dinocola: A 45- year old Webmaster, from Port St. Lucie, FL; a Raiders fan for 40 years.
J. Alan "Jay" Levy: A 40- year old United States Navy - Intelligence Specialist Chief Petty Officer, stationed at U.S. Special Operations Command, Tampa, Florida, and a Raiders fan for 33 years.
Like the Jets fans did last week, these Raider fans believe the Chiefs defense is ripe for the picking for their prime time offensive attack. However, the point of attack will be different. While Jets fans touted the running of reigning NFL rushing leader Curtis Martin, the Raider fans look for their passing game, featuring pro bowl wide receiver Randy Moss, to make a major difference in this game.
Question: What aspect of the Raiders attack do the Chiefs not have an answer for?
Answer: "The Raiders Offense. The Chiefs Defense is not even close to the New England Patriots Defense, and the Raiders offense showed its will to score (See Moss 72 Yard TD) on big plays on the road. With this game being played at home at the HOT for the Raiders on Prime Time TV the Chiefs will have a difficult time covering the WR tandems of Moss, Porter, and Curry." – Andy Dinocola
"Our passing attack. I fully expect Randy Moss to get his looks, however I believe the Raiders will make more of a conscious effort to get more people involved this week after they review film from the New England game. While Kerry Collins put up decent numbers against a tough New England defense on the road, he hasn't scratched the surface of this team offensive potential. If Jerry Porter is 100%, I expect to him to have a big game." – Cesar Kisielewski
"The Chiefs Defense will be hard-pressed to stop the dynamic RB/WR tandems (Crockett/Jordan with Moss/Curry/Porter/Whitted/Morant depending on who plays WR.)" – Jay Levy
Analysis: It's no secret that the Chiefs have match-up problems with the Raider's passing attack. Randy Moss, Jerry Porter, Alvis Whitted and Ronald Curry will present several problems for the Chiefs secondary, particularly Dexter McCleon and DeWayne Washington. However, the Chiefs can have success on defense if they can shut down the running game and LaMont Jordan and get pressure on Kerry Collins with their blitz packages. In the New England game Collins showed that he will make poor throws and poor decisions when he's under pressure. Chiefs' defensive coordinator Gunther Cunningham will need to protect McCleon and Washington with his speedy linebackers harassing Collins.
Question: What aspect of the Chiefs concerns you the most?
Answer: "The Chiefs have their own high powered offense with a very capable QB. T Green can take what is in my opinion a mediocre receiving corps and make them look good; he is also a good field commander. The Chiefs have a huge front line that does a great job blocking for P. Holmes and Larry Johnson. I believe with the two headed monster of Holmes and Johnson it can wear down our defense if they can get anything going. My biggest fear is your running game gets off to a great start and sets up the pass." – Robert Bledsoe
"Defensively, the Raiders have played better so far, but the main concern after last week seems to be the middle of the field on occasional breakdowns in coverage. Despite having some Rookies and playmakers in the secondary, the Raiders often tend to play too soft vs. multi-WR sets, allowing teams to take advantage of underneath routes. If the Raiders can not get the pressure on Trent Green, then Tony Gonzales could have a huge game.." – Andy Dinocola
"Obviously, the Chief's offensive line has been one of the best in the league for quite some time. When you combine that with Priest Holmes' and Larry Johnson's running ability, you have quite the task ahead of you in trying to shut down KC's running game. Our run D has been very stout in the pre-season and did a great job of shutting down Corey Dillon last week, but this will be their ultimate test going against the Chiefs." - Cesar Kisielewski
Analysis: The Raiders' outside linebackers, Grant Irons and Tyler Brayton are former defensive ends who are both around 280 lbs. They help make the Raiders rush defense more stout, but were exposed by the Patriots tight ends last week. The Chiefs rushing attack requires the running backs to run in space (i.e. sweeps and draws). The size of those outside linebackers may cause them to have problems handling Holmes and Johnson is space. Further, their weakness in pass coverage could mean a big day for Tony Gonzalez, Kris Wilson and even Jason Dunn. I look for offensive coordinator Al Saunders to attack the outside linebackers with draws and screens to the running backs and passes downfield with the tight ends.
Question: Who is the Raiders player that Chiefs fans have not heard of that will be a difference maker in the game and why?
Answer: "Chris Carr is a new player that the Raiders found after the draft this guy is fast and smart. Carr has already shown that he can run a kickoff all the way back. Carr is elusive and is very smart when it comes to handling the ball on punt returns." – Robert Bledsoe
"Rookie Free Agent Chris Carr. He's our Dante Hall...a threat to take it to the house at any time. He's got great speed, vision, and balance. I'd be surprised if he doesn't have at least 2-3 Special Teams touchdowns this year." – Cesar Kisielewski
Analysis: I watched this young man last week against the Patriots and he is definitely a concern. The Chiefs gave up a couple of big returns to the Jets last week and Carr is definitely a threat to break a big one. He had some big returns against the Patriots and came close to breaking one or two for touchdowns. The Chiefs will need Lawrence Tynes to place his kickoffs inside the five yard line, preferably in the end zone, and the coverage teams will need to stay disciplined in their lane assignments. The last thing the Chiefs want to do is give the Raider offense a short field.
Conclusion: When these two teams met in Oakland last year, the result was a 31-30 barn burner won by the Chiefs. The offensive prowess of both of these teams points towards another shoot out that could be won by the last team with the ball. However, both defenses showed marked improvement over last year. While it is highly possible that each defense may give up a lot of yards and some points, a timely turnover could very well be a deciding factor in this game.
Finally, the "x-factor" could be the return game. A kickoff return for a touchdown by the talented Chris Carr or the best return man in the game, Dante Hall, would likely shift the momentum enough to secure a victory. Fasten your seat belts Chiefs and Raiders fans. This one has the makings of a very wild ride.
Insight from the Real Experts: Chiefs vs. Raiders
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