In a strange twist of fate, the Raiders play in a division deep with pass rushers but light on elite tackles. For Bruce Irvin, his first year as a full-time end could be a memorable one. As a result, natural divisional rivalries take on more meaning. FPC Raiders writers Ray Aspuria, Chris Simmons, and Terrance Biggs analyze where Irvin could either struggle or succeed within the hostile AFC West.
In a division of shaky tackles, which one will Bruce Irvin have the most/least success against and why?
Denver may think their offense will be much better with Case Keenum under center, but they still have not figured out their line. Hoping for people like Menelik Watson to both stay healthy and play multiple positions is a recipe for disaster. Their defense maybe be legit but their OL will put Keenum in bad spots.
The chargers have spent the most assets improving their line on the edges, and Rivers will not require much time to fling it. Irvin has gotten to Rivers before but the Raider secondary is going to have to help generate sacks against the Chargers this season.
While he has been the poster child of embarrassment, including a Father’s Day meme referring to Khalil Mack, Eric Fisher holds his own against pass rushers not wearing the No. 52 Oakland Raiders jersey. While Bruce has an impressive toolbox of speed, power, and football IQ, he does not possess the skill of Mack. Irvin should continue to feast on Philip Rivers. The Chargers offensive tackles are better run blockers than pass protectors did. Whether it be Russell Okung or Joe Barksdale, Irvin should make easy work of the dud duo.
Ironically, two former Raiders will provide the least challenge for Irvin. At this point, Jared Veldheer and Menelik Watson sit at tackle for sole purpose of hope. Denver needs one of them to provide anything in the way of blocking. Whether Irvin or Mack other sides, each will succeed against the Denver pair. Watson cannot stay healthy. When he did, opponents used him for a turnstile. Veldheer looks washed.