When the Raiders welcome the Indianapolis Colts, clouds surrounding the organization will remain. In a rebuilding period, Oakland, specifically Jon Gruden has failed in building enough trust collateral with the fanbase. Yet, the rah-rah speech will continue. This game presents a chance for the Raiders to slow the onslaught of rightful negativity.
After battling injuries over the last few years, Andrew Luck returned with a sharper focus. Despite whatever limitations appears in arm strength, Luck overcame them. In seven games, Luck completes nearly two-thirds of his passes. In addition, he does not turn the ball over. Boasting a 21:8 touchdown-to–INT ratio, Luck takes care of the ball. With little pass rush, Luck can camp out in the pocket and slowly pick Oakland apart. Somehow, the Raiders need to get upfield. Through six games, the Oakland pass rush appears lifeless. Luck will pick Oakland apart horizontally. In the Colts offense, he enjoys the luxury of two tight ends.
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Despite playing at an HBCU, the Colts snapped up the playmaker in the second round. With teams, especially the Raiders, hungry for linebackers, Leonard fits the Indy scheme. In reality, Leonard ability to fly over the field is not scheme-specific. Against the Raiders, look for him to attack downhill. With Marshawn Lynch gone for the near future, Doug Martin inherits the spot. Leonard flows to the ball and slips blocks like a veteran. This is where Keith Smith should earn his money. To give Martin a slight shot, Smith must body Leonard. Through the course of a game, this could wear him down. On the other hand, Martin needs to remain wary of Leonard’s penchant for strips. So far, the Indy ‘backer forced two fumbles. If the Raiders want to establish the run with authority, finding 53 in white must happen.
If you look at the Colts from the distance, you see a young team. Granted, sitting at 2-5 does not feel like room for excitement. Yet, they continue to add young pieces. When the young talent fails, misses an assignment, coaches throw them back out on the field. In football, field time beats all. With the Raiders, youngsters failing will grab a seat. If the Raiders learn anything from this game, watch how the Colts will develop some of their young talent.
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