When the Raiders take the field on Sunday, they will renew hostilities with a familiar foe. For the last eight seasons, Miller dominated opposing tackles and destroyed backfield with burst and surprising power. As a result, teams alter their blocking schemes and gameplans to account for number 58 and his ability to get free and make life miserable.
Despite lining up against the Raiders in twelve games, Miller only dropped the quarterback seven times. While seven sacks may not seem like a win, considering how he treats the Chargers and Chiefs (26.5 combined sacks), The Raiders play Miller well.
Granted, few wanted Kolton Miller’s name called with the 15th overall pick during the NFL Draft. However, Miller began slowly winning over the hearts and minds of the fanbase. Against the Rams, Miller struggled early, but made adjustments, giving Derek Carr ample time to throw. Whether those passes ended up in the hands of opponents is not Miller’s issue.
With Kolton presumably facing Von Miller, the heat immediately falls to the rookie. Despite the glaring lack of experience, Kolton Miller enters this game with an actual advantage. Standing 6’8, you would think that Kolton Miller would use his reach and steer Von Miller to the outside. Granted, this theory would also depend on Derek Carr climbing the ladder. As Carr has shown, at times, he will drift backward. In that case, he is making Von Miller’s trip shorter. If Carr executes the technically sound strategy, Kolton Miller’s job becomes slightly easier.
If the Raiders can use the running game to punish Von Miller, the Denver defense loses its teeth. Similarly, how the Raiders run could also fatigue Miller. Picture the Raiders running a jet sweep or fake the sweep and dive in the opposite direction. If Oakland can get Miller going east to west that nullifies his burst.
Be Extra and Messy
When the Raiders dominated the Broncos two years ago, Oakland used a sixth lineman to slow Miller. Back then, Denver Kirkland found Miller and leaned on him all game. As a result, that opened up gaping holes for the run. Furthermore, Carr enjoyed time to find receivers downfield.
In essence, Von Miller can win games almost by himself. We all remember him putting the Panthers on skates. If the Raiders are smart, Miller earns the chaperone blocking attempt. Stopping Miller remains the top priority for the Oakland Raiders.