WATFORD, England -- Sunday’s Raiders-Bears clash is being set up as a showdown between Khalil Mack and the man who traded him.
One issue with that storyline: Jon Gruden doesn’t have to block Mack. Neither does quarterback Derek Carr.
That unenviable task falls to right tackle Trent Brown and left tackle Kolton Miller … and some chipping tights and running backs. And maybe some guard help on the inside.
The tackles are doing more of the dirty work than anyone.
While he went up mostly against the right tackle with the Raiders, the Bears move him around a great deal. Brown and Miller will each have their crack at one of the NFL’s truly elite edge rushers.
Brown had some success against him last year while playing left tackle for the Patriots. Mack only had one tackle and two quarterback pressures against Brown and the Patriots that day, but the high-priced Raiders right tackle knows what Mack is good at.
“Everything,” Brown said. “The guy is a special talent for sure. You definitely have to bring your A-game on every play.”
Brown’s a massive human who can swallow pass rushers with power and athleticism.
Miller’s a big dude his own right, but he’s focused more on technique than the man or the matchup.
“One of his best moves is power, but he also sets it up,” Miller said. “They are taught to go up-field and rip and try to draw holding calls. He has a select set of moves to try and get offensive linemen off balance. And that works right into his power. He’s great at using his weight and he does a great job at directing his rush toward how you attack him. But you have to be careful because getting too aggressive can hurt you.”
Miller has gone against the NFL’s best pass rushers, with mixed results. He controlled his side against Denver and Kansas City but then struggled against Minnesota’s ends.
Make no mistake: the Raiders are going to have some help blocking Mack, who is highly motivated to play the team that wouldn’t pay top-of-the-market value to keep him.
There will be times Miller and Brown especially will have some one-on-one matchups they simply have to win.
“That’s part of the reason why we signed Trent Brown on the other side, is that we think we have two formidable tackles. I think Trent has shown that he can come in and play the right side and has played very well, and Kolton I think has accelerated his development on the left side.”
[RELATED: Guenther bummed he never worked with Mack]
That will be tested on Sunday by Mack and the Bears formidable defensive front, which creates tons of pressure.
“Mack is a great player, but that entire defense is tough,” Miller said. “We have some hard work ahead of us. They will really test our fundamentals.”