Raiders set for challenge of facing Chargers' Joey Bosa, Melvin Ingram

Raiders set for challenge of facing Chargers' Joey Bosa, Melvin Ingram

ALAMEDA – Philip Rivers is the unquestioned face of a Chargers franchise long known for a prolific air attack. The veteran quarterback has been slinging it all over the Raiders for years, with an excellent 9-4 record in Oakland.

A bigger issue may present itself on the other side of the ball Thursday night at the Coliseum. The Raiders must contend with premier Chargers edge rushers Joey Bosa and Melvin Ingram, a dominant pairing adept a pressuring the quarterback.

Bosa in particular is on a tear, with nine sacks on the season and five in his last three games.

Both guys keep head coach and offensive play-caller Jon Gruden up at night trying to prevent these two from wrecking Thursday night’s Week 10 AFC West clash.

“They’re two of the best,” Gruden said. “They’re dynamic players. The effort level that they have is special. They have a range of skills. Ingram is all over the place. Someone needs to do a statistical chart on this guy, how many miles he runs per game. He’s the middle linebacker on your goal-line defense. I mean he’s a rover on third down. He walks around, I don’t know where the hell he is. He’s going to play over the guard, over the edge. He’s sideline-to-sideline. He runs like a linebacker; he’s got defensive end prototype size. And Bosa, he’s a problem. He’s just a really good pass rusher. He’s got tremendous hand usage, get-off. He’s got an arsenal of moves and it’s hard to find him. He moves around, so we’ll have our hands full with them.”

The Raiders will come armed and ready. Their offensive line has been excellent this season, even with presumptive starters playing just 10 snaps together all season. Gabe Jackson, Rodney Hudson and Trent Brown all have battled injury, with the latter two questionable for Thursday night.

Derek Carr’s pocket has remained sparkly clean, allowing just nine sacks and six other quarterback hits.

The Raiders have stared down top pass rushers and won, even when they come in pairs.

“It’s important to get everyone on the same page,” left tackle Kolton Miller said. “You don’t want confusion, so you really have to stay locked in and work as a unit.”

Bosa and Ingram kept Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers at bay with quick penetration and completely disrupted Green Bay's game plan. Bosa will straight come after you, while Ingram moves around the formation more while finding ways to create havoc.

“I mean they’re two of the better pass rushers in the game and when they’re both healthy and on the field at the same time, you can’t chip both sides unless you’re in max protection all day,” Chargers coach Anthony Lynn said. “So that helps. They help each other that way but then you put them on the same side. You know we do that just for matchup reasons and just to see how teams are going to adjust and make another move, but we just try to look for the best matchups.”

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The Raiders believe they can handle Bosa and Ingram lined up on the same side, with solid blocking tight ends to help and guards who can handle speed.

“Melvin is a dynamic guy who will do a spin move on the guards, and can come from a bunch of directions,” Miller said. “Again, it’s about communication and proper execution of the game plan. That’s our focus heading into this one.”

Raiders sign veteran linebacker Preston Brown, add another new face

Raiders sign veteran linebacker Preston Brown, add another new face

ALAMEDA -- The Raiders added another veteran defender on Monday, signing Preston Brown to supplement the linebacker corps. Brown worked out for the Silver and Black and officially joined the team in the wake of Sunday’s 17-10 win over a Cincinnati Bengals team that cut him recently.

Brown’s an old-school middle linebacker, someone who can make sure tackles and fit in well on obvious rushing downs. The Raiders primarily use two linebacker sets even in base packages, bringing in relative newcomer Will Compton against heavier sets.

Brown believes he’ll be able to integrate well and play quickly, considering the similarities between Paul Guenther’s scheme and what is run in Cincinnati.

“I have a lot of the terminology down already, so it’s just a matter of getting back,” Brown said. “I’m excited about it.”

He has watched Raiders film already and likes what he has seen from this group. Brown helped run the Bengals defense until recently. He was released on Tuesday, spent a couple days as a free agent and now is with a new team.

He goes from a winless crew to one in the playoffs, an intriguing aspect of this new gig.

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“It’s really cool, especially coming from an 0-9, now 0-10 team,” Brown said. “There’s a lot more life, a lot more energy over here. That’s fun to be around.”

The Raiders are Brown’s third team in six seasons. He spent his first four NFL years as a full-time starter in Buffalo before moving on to Cincinnati in 2018. He wasn’t as integral to that team. His best season came in 2017, when he had 101 tackles and three passes defensed.

Raiders-Chiefs Week 13 AFC West matchup flexed to afternoon slot

Raiders-Chiefs Week 13 AFC West matchup flexed to afternoon slot

Remember back in Week 3 when the Raiders were licking their wounds after being dismantled by the Vikings to open their five-game road trip?

Jon Gruden's club was 1-2, two games back of the Chiefs in the AFC West with four consecutive road games staring them in the face. The AFC West crown was the Chiefs and no one would be told otherwise.

How the tables have turned.

The Raiders survived their road odyssey and returned home to win three straight games to head into a Week 12 matchup with the Jets at 6-4. The Chiefs, meanwhile, hit some road bumps. They dropped games to the Colts and Texans before quarterback Patrick Mahomes dislocated his knee cap.

Backup quarterback Matt Moore went 1-1 in relief. Mahomes returned in Week 10, but KC's defense was gashed on the ground by the Titans and they fell to ... 6-4.

Gruden and old friend Andy Reid still have one more showdown on the calendar, with the Raiders' Week 13 visit to Arrowhead Stadium possibly serving as the AFC West title game. 

As such, the NFL has opted to flex the Dec. 1 game from the 10 a.m. PT window to the 1:25 p.m. PT slot. The move shifts the Browns-Steelers matchup into the 10 a.m. PT slot. The 49ers-Ravens game will remain in the 10 a.m. PT slot with the NFL opting to keep Patriots-Texans as the Sunday night game.

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The Chiefs still have to play the Chargers on Monday night in Mexico City. A loss will drop them a half-game behind the Raiders heading into their bye week. A win will ensure the AFC West rivals will be in a virtual tie at 7-4 -- with KC holding the head-to-head tiebreaker -- should the Raiders beat the Jets at MetLife Stadium in Week 12.

Gruden's Raiders have fought tooth and nail to survive injuries, a brutal schedule and the loss of Antonio Brown to give themselves a shot at the playoffs and even the division title. The Chiefs beat the Raiders at the Coliseum in Week 2, with Mahomes accounting for four second-quarter touchdowns in a 28-10 win.

This is a different Raiders team. One with an offensive identity and rookies growing more comfortable with each victory put under their belt.

The Chiefs' run defense is primed to be gashed by Josh Jacobs and the Raiders' offensive line. Oakland's banged-up secondary could be an issue against Mahomes. It's going to be quite the showdown at Arrowhead.

Knock on wood, if you're with us.