Chiefs beat the Jaguars, now it’s time for Oakland
What can the Kansas City Chiefs expect from the Oakland Raiders in Sunday’s NFL game? Accuracy from quarterback Derek Carr through short passes, and an improved pass rush from the Raiders’ defense.
The Raiders’ scheme
Jon Gruden got off to a rough start in his return to coaching last season, dropping his first four and eight of Oakland’s first nine. But since then, the Raiders are 4-4, including Monday’s 24-16 victory over the Denver Broncos. Some speculated that a distracted team would take the field in that Monday night opener due to the Antonio Brown situation. That didn’t happen. Give Gruden, his staff and his players credit for tuning out the noise and thumping the Broncos.
The talk of the Raiders’ victory on offense was rookie running back Josh Jacobs, and he deserved the attention after an 85-yard, two-touchdown debut. But just as impressive was Derek Carr’s ability to avoid getting sacked by the fearsome Broncos front. Short, quick passes led to Carr’s 22-of-26, 259-yard game. Only four of those completions traveled at least 10 yards, but Carr was well-protected behind a solid offensive line. The Chiefs saw this strategy in their opener, with Jacksonville rookie Gardner Minshew, subbing for injured Nick Foles and completing his first 13 passes and 22 of 25 overall on mostly quick hits. Carr tossed three touchdown passes against the Chiefs in Oakland last season and owns two victories against Andy Reid-coached teams.
Raiders rookie safety Johnathan Abram is out for the season with a shoulder injury. The team worked out some safeties but Gruden also kept five on the roster, so there isn’t a depth issue. Cornerback Gareon Conley, who left the field Monday strapped to a gurney on the play where Abram was injured, tweeted this week that he’s ready to go. The Raiders got after Broncos quarterback Joe Flacco, with end Benson Mayowa coming off the bench to record two of the team’s three sacks. The Raiders had 13 all of last season. The Chiefs rolled to outputs of 40 and 35 points against Oakland last season, with Patrick Mahomes throwing for six touchdowns and one interception in those games.