FROM THE STABLES: Raiders! Raiders! Raiders!

Raiders Week! Every Warpaint Illustrated and Kansas City Chiefs fan knows what that means. It's time to get to get ready for the twice annual bloodbath that usually takes place when the Chiefs face the Raiders. Jerry Stith reviews what the Oaktown scribes have to say about this week's match up in the in the latest From the Stables.

This week we see what the writers at the Contra Costa, Oakland Tribune and San Francisco Chronicle have to say about the old AFL rivalry and the possible matchups that will decide the game. Will the Chiefs be able to exploit the Raiders base defense? Will the Raiders be able to get their other wide receivers involved in the game or will Randy Moss be their only weapon? Will the Raiders be able to run against the Chiefs new defense? From the Stables breaks it all down in this week's pregame From the Stables.

OAKLAND TRIBUNE (Bill Solliday) - Last week, the Raiders opened in the base but soon thereafter went into their dime package with rookie linebacker Kirk Morrison seeing extensive duty — extensive enough that he wound up the team's leading tackler with 10.

Because the base consists of bigger players, it is considered the best defense against the run. The nickel and dime — with additional defensive backs — are geared to stopping the pass and are standard when opponents insert additional receivers. The answer belongs more to the Chiefs than to the Raiders. If the Chiefs run, figure Brayton and Irons will be in the game a lot. If they pass, look for a repeat of last week.

Given their success with Priest Holmes and Larry Johnson (198 yards last week against the Jets), the Raiders don't expect the Chiefs to flood the field with extra receivers. Instead, they figure an emphasis on the run, which would mean Brayton and Irons would get plenty of playing time.

"You have to adjust to each opponent," Raiders coach Norv Turner said. "Kansas City is considerably different than New England, so there are things we have to approach and handle that they do that New England doesn't do." The Chiefs do not have the wide receiver numbers the Patriots do, so it makes sense. Like virtually any football coach, the Chiefs' Dick Vermeil insists his team strives to be balanced, noting "you will see every variation (on offense) there is."

However, he adds, the Chiefs won't be afraid to insist on the run, even though he saw the Patriots held to 2.4 yards an attempt by Oakland. "We have been able to run successfully against some very, very fine defensive running teams," he said. "Including the Ravens last year. The Jets came in here with one of the best defenses against the run. That doesn't mean we will run successfully (on) Sunday. It means we don't abandon a running approach just because of the team we play."

Now the question is whether Vermeil is to be believed. With the 4-3 base out of favor last week, Brayton and Irons played far less than half the game. After the big buildup for what was expected to be an improved defense, it must have been a big comedown for the two former defensive ends.

From the Stables - You gotta believe the Chiefs coaching staff is looking at the Raiders base defense with Brayton and Irons so they can exploit it with tight end Tony Gonzalez. It was obvious from the Patriots game that the Raiders with those oversized outside linebackers were no match for any TE that was on the field. With the game's ultimate TE on the field, do you think it's possible that offensive coordinator Al Saunders might be looking to exploit that match-up? If the Raiders decide to go with a dime package against Gonzalez, you have to believe you'll see a heavy dose of Priest & LJ against the weak Raiders defense. It will be these match-ups that ultimately decided just how many times the Chiefs decide to run or pass against the Raiders. But ultimately that might be determined by how well Jordan Black plays at left tackle for the Chiefs.

SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE (Nancy Gay) - Someone has to tell Ronald Curry this is a new era of Raiders offensive football. You would have had to search intently in last Thursday's season-opening loss at New England for the man who was leading the Raiders in receptions in 2004 when he was injured in December. There was that one pass quarterback Kerry Collins threw in his direction with 23 seconds remaining in the first half, a little high and wide toss that Curry -- a former basketball guard at North Carolina -- tried to haul in with one hand. That play was dead regardless, wiped away by a false-start call on wide receiver Alvis Whitted.

In the second half, Curry doesn't recall playing in the offense at all -- he was visible on one play -- and the stats seem to back him. "It's not frustrating to the point where you're upset that you're not on the field. But I want to play, I want to go out onto the field and make plays,'' said Curry, who did not record a reception in the Raiders' 30-20 loss to the two-time defending Super Bowl champions. "But I know what the situation is. And it is what it is.'' Maybe this is all Randy Moss' offense now, with a healthy dose of running back LaMont Jordan mixed in there. Jordan, after all, did have five catches for 40 yards in addition to his 70 rushing yards.

Moss, clearly the focus, had five catches for 130 yards with the bulk of that yardage coming from his 73-yard touchdown reception. But where was Curry, who led the team in receptions in 2004 (50 catches, 679 yards, six touchdowns) until he tore his left Achilles tendon Dec. 5 against the Chiefs? And what about Jerry Porter, the eventual '04 receiving leader (64 catches, 998 yards, nine TDs)? He finished with only three catches for 48 yards against the Pats, with a single 17-yard reception in the second half. "It was just the play-calling,'' Porter said Wednesday, not eager to go into specifics.

New England's active linebackers took away his territory, the middle of the field where a big, strong receiver such as Porter can snare a ball on a crossing route, break free and gain big yards after the catch.

Coach Norv Turner blamed the Pats' defensive scheme -- one that held the Raiders to three consecutive series that ended in three or fewer downs (one ended in a Collins' interception) in the third quarter -- for taking Porter and Curry out of the mix.

The Patriots also clamped down heavily on the receivers in the second half. "They were concentrating on our up-the-field stuff,'' Turner explained. Both Porter (hamstring) and Curry were injured during training camp and were limited in workouts and in exhibitions. Porter missed all four games. Curry returned for the Week 3 exhibition game against Arizona. Even though he's coming off delicate Achilles surgery, Curry didn't think coaches were deliberately overlooking him during the New England game as a protective measure.

"I kind of expected to be alternating in and out with (Whitted). He had a great camp, and I was out for a while,'' Curry said. "I don't want to say it's a case of them taking it easy with me.'' Both Porter and Curry say they are 100 percent healthy, and expect to be more of a factor Sunday night at the Coliseum when the Raiders face Kansas City. "If I'm going to be out there, then I want to play full out. I mean, I didn't play the whole second half,'' Curry said. Will that change this week?

From the Stables - Ultimately the game will be decided by the defensive matchups from the Chiefs cornerbacks. You have to figure Randy Moss is going to get his catches, but it is what Jerry Porter, Ronald Curry and Alvis Whitted do that will ultimately decide how much the Raiders are able to do versus the Chiefs. If the Chiefs are able to contain them much like the Patriots did to them the first week, then a Chiefs win will be much easier. It appears from the comments made by Jerry Porter that the Randy Moss offense isn't going over so well. I hope to be reading comments from Porter about the play-calling again come Monday!

CONTRA COSTA TIMES (Steve Corkran) - Bombs away! The Chiefs offense is geared around running backs Priest Holmes and Larry Johnson, and the Raiders have made a commitment to a balanced offense by adding running back LaMont Jordan. Maybe so, but don't be surprised if Sunday night's game turns into an air-it-out affair. Why? Look no further than Oakland's 29th-ranked pass defense and Kansas City's 32nd-, and last, ranked pass defense. The Raiders surrendered 306 yards to the Patriots in their regular-season opener a week ago. The Chiefs allowed 333 yards passing to the New York Jets.

Yet, that doesn't mean that the Chiefs will change up their basic mode of attack, Chiefs coach Dick Vermeil said Wednesday. "For the most part, we try to remain a balanced football team," Vermeil said. "The Jets came in here with one of the best defenses against the run. That doesn't mean we will run successfully Sunday. It means we don't abandon a running approach just because of the team we play."

Home cooking. Oakland has won its past seven regular-season home openers and nine of 10 since relocating from Los Angeles in 1995. Kansas City is the lone team to upend Oakland in the opener at the Coliseum. That loss came in 1997, when the Chiefs prevailed 28-27 on a touchdown pass from Elvis Grbac to wide receiver Andre Rison with three seconds left in the game.

From the Stables - The Chiefs offense is centered on Priest Holmes and Larry Johnson. But it's also diversified enough to exploit any match up that Al Saunders sees on the field. If Saunders sees the Raiders in their base offense, you can bet a sweep, screen or pass to Tony Gonzalez or Kris Wilson might be in the offing to exploit the lack of team speed on defense. Raiders. I'm sure the Raiders would love to run the ball tomorrow night, but if the Jet's starting RB Curtis Martin wasn't able to, do you really think the guy who the Jets decided wasn't good enough (LaMont Jordan) can? What Corkran failed to mention is that the Chiefs played most of the game without Patrick Surtain and that most of the Jets passing yard were garbage yards when the game was already decided. The home cooking won't matter tomorrow night, because the Chiefs have shown that playing in the Black Hole isn't as daunting a task as it used to be. Bring on the batteries and beer, because the Raiders will need more than those to defeat the Chiefs tomorrow night.

Check back in on Monday to find out the thoughts from the bay area scribes on the game. We'll review the columns and commentary to see the spin they put on the game and Warpaint Illustrated's From the Stables will be there to shine the light on them.

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