Raiders have utmost respect for Von Miller, Broncos pass rush

Raiders have utmost respect for Von Miller, Broncos pass rush

ALAMEDA – The Denver Broncos have the NFL’s best pass defense. Their secondary is awesome, featuring Aqib Talib, Bradley Roby and Chris Harris Jr. at cornerback.

Those guys cover exceptionally well, but often not for long. Why? Von Miller’s most always on the case. The Denver pass rush is tied for the league lead with 28 sacks. Miller has that sum’s lion’s share.

Miller has 8.5 sacks and a forced fumble through eight games, easily heading toward double-digit sacks in five of his first six seasons. He had five sacks in 2009 when he only played nine games.

Bottom line: Miller is a game wrecker, and could be major a factor in Sunday night’s clash between the Raiders and Broncos. He certainly was in Super Bowl 50, when he earned MVP honors in a Broncos victory.

“Von Miller, I have the utmost respect for, obviously,” Raiders quarterback Derek Carr said. “…He’s one of the best players that we’ve ever seen in this league, especially as a pass rusher. … It doesn’t matter what you try to do, eventually he’s going to make a play. It’s fun to watch him play. It’s fun to compete against him because he’s one of the best. I love that. He’s just a special talent, he really is.”

As the opposition often does against Khalil Mack, teams scheme against the top pass rusher. That’s certainly the case with Miller, though Denver has a diverse pass rush. A total of five players have at least two sacks this season, including edge rushers DeMarcus Ware and Shane Ray and end Derek Wolfe.

“A lot of different players are capable,” head coach Jack Del Rio said. “DeMarcus Ware is one of the more decorated pass rushers of the last 10 years or so. They have a bunch of guys that can get there. They have good cover people. Rush and coverage make up good pass defense.”

Many have compared Raiders edge rusher Khalil Mack and Miller, though they’re different players in style and function.

“There isn’t really a comparison,” Mack said. “We’re two different players in two different schemes. We’re trying to do the most to put our teams in position to win. That’s what you see.”

What many see is that Miller’s a game changer as much by threat as action. In addition to 8.5 sacks, he has four quarterback hits and 31 other pressures. He’s excellent forcing errant throws for an opportunistic secondary. Football people say rush and coverage work together, and Miller’s the catalyst of Denver operating at a staggering defensive clip with opportunities for big turnovers.

Carr is fully aware of the challenge ahead.

“You definitely want to make sure your feet lead you to completions,” Carr said. “You try and train in the offseason to where you’re on a clock all the time, so not just when you need it or things like that. That’s why you train your feet to make sure you’re on time to your throws and things like that then you don’t even have to worry about it.”

Raiders vs. Cardinals live stream: Watch 2018 NFL Week 11 game online


Raiders vs. Cardinals live stream: Watch 2018 NFL Week 11 game online

The Raiders have had to make changes all week due to poor air quality in the Bay Area. What effect that has will be determined soon when they play the Cardinals Sunday in Arizona. 

Is this the week the Raiders get their second win of the season? How much will the absences of Jordy Nelson and Martavis Bryant hurt the offense? Can Derek Carr out-play rookie Josh Rosen?

We're about to find out.

Here's how to watch Sunday's Raiders-Cardinals NFL game online. 

Start time: Sunday, Nov. 18, at 1:05 p.m. PT
TV channel: CBS
Raiders live stream: fuboTV -- Get a free trial

Raiders' Week 11 prep still impacted by poor air quality from Camp Fire


Raiders' Week 11 prep still impacted by poor air quality from Camp Fire

ALAMEDA -- The Raiders downgraded their practice to a walk-through for the second consecutive day because of poor air quality, again moving off-site to work indoors at a local sports complex.

While anyone in Silver and Black is careful to point out that inconveniences brought about by thick smoke in the Bay Area are inconsequential to the lives, homes and other property lost in the Camp Fire itself, the Raiders are at a disadvantage while preparing for Sunday’s road game against the Arizona Cardinals. 

They haven’t conducted a full-speed practice since Wednesday, and even that was conducted in poor air quality. Conditions have worsened dramatically over the past few days, with unhealthy conditions for even normal, healthy adults.

Had a home game been scheduled for Sunday, the NFL surely would’ve moved it to another location. The Environmental Protection Agency gave air quality an unhealthy score of 159 before the previous game against the Los Angeles Chargers. The EPA’s air quality score in Oakland was 256.

Smoky air drove the Raiders indoors, where they got in reps but none at full speed. They don’t have the space or quality surface to do real football work, but the Raiders are making do.

“We’re practicing in an indoor ice rink that was [converted] to a soccer field,” Raiders coach Jon Gruden said. “We didn’t have much room to get the splits and get the routes run. We’re not going to make any excuses. We’re not the only people dealing with adversity right now.”

That last part is true, but this week’s prep wasn’t complete, and it could impact their ability to earn the season’s second win against a beatable opponent.

“The practices have impacted us. You need to see things at speed to generate timing," Gruden said. "Switching stunts in a walk-through in an indoor facility is one thing, in a controlled fashion. Switching them on a practice field at full speed is another. Timing out routes, seeing it at speed. That’s why you see a lot of indoor facilities around the league. It gets bad outside, they go inside. Fortunately for us, we were able to find a place to get some work in.”