How To Beat The Raiders The best defense is a ball-control offense

January 27, 2003

--Control the ball for at least 35 minutes. You better throw
short, high-completion passes and make a conscious attempt to run
the ball against that defense. If you only get three yards a
carry, who cares? You have to limit Oakland's snaps because Rich
Gannon is almost unstoppable. He had a game where he went 34 for
38. How do you stop that? Control the clock.

--Disrupt their timing. They like to throw slant patterns, so you
can't let their receivers get inside. Other than Jerry Porter,
their wideouts can't run. Play up on them, bump and run, and
don't give them the crossing stuff. Make Gannon throw fades; a
25-yard fade is harder to throw than a five-yard slant. He gets a
lot of time, and that's why he has such a high completion
percentage.

--Mix things up with the pass rush. The Oakland offensive line is
so big and strong that you can't be intent on rushing the passer
with four guys all the time. Barret Robbins is one of the best
centers in the game, Lincoln Kennedy is one of the best tackles,
and the guards [Mo Collins and Frank Middleton] are huge. If
you're going to attack somebody, go after left tackle Barry Sims
because he's the weak link and has to go against Simeon Rice. You
have to bring four rushers sometimes, five sometimes and even six
or seven.

--Contain Charlie Garner. The Titans lost that game on Sunday
because they allowed Garner to run the ball late. You can't let
him do anything against you. You have to keep the Raiders
one-dimensional, and that means you have to stop the run.

--Exploit the secondary. I just don't think it's any good. Strong
safety Anthony Dorsett stinks. Cornerback Charles Woodson is
hurt; Titans wideout Drew Bennett beat him on a double move--what
does that say? The other corner, Tory James, is only solid. Free
safety Rod Woodson is great because he's seen everything during
his career and he's jumping plays.

--Don't be afraid of the pass rush by their front four. Tennessee
blocked them pretty well and picked up their stunts and blitzes.
Tampa Bay will have an opportunity to do some things in the
passing game if its line can protect like it did against the
Eagles on Sunday.

COLOR PHOTO: JOHN BIEVER TIMING IS EVERYTHING One way to slow Gannon is to keep him from getting into a rhythm.

HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
OUT
HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
IN
Eagle (-2)
Birdie (-1)
Bogey (+1)
Double Bogey (+2)