With the eyes of the fanbase staring down at the game, the Raiders will face a severe challenge in the Bears defense. We’ve all heard the Mack/Oakland narrative. While that remains an integral part of the potential outcome, Derek Carr needs consideration. A lightning rod for both criticism and praise, Carr needs to propel his team to victory. With that said, FPC Raiders writers Ray Aspuria and Terrance Biggs discuss the matchup.
Facing a hellacious Bears pass rush, where do you want Carr to attack them?
Aggressively. Use a similar quick strike pass game to nullify the rush early and go vertical at very chance you get. Don’t shy away and revert to a turtle shell attitude. Exploding with points early will allow Oakland to take the fight to Mack and Co. with hard-to-bring-down Josh Jacobs. While Mack is stout against the run, prolonged punishment can wear down the best. If not, the Bears will dictate the pace defensively and the Raiders only hope is the Bears offense remains as ineffective as the Raiders pass rush.
First, ignore the opponent. That is to say, forget Khalil Mack is there. Derek Carr needs to revisit the Ghost of 2016 and embrace it. The Raiders need the risk-taking version of Carr. In all honesty, playing things safe in the Gruden offense makes for great completion percentage but awful results. For the first time in his tenure, the Raiders need to see their quarterback ignore and dismiss the head coach.
Next, realize where Leonard Floyd is. Why?If Khalil Mack is he best edge rusher in football, Floyd is nowhere close to the top. Blessed with bend and explosion, Floyd doesn’t always use his gifts to the best of his ability. That said, Floyd crashes hard towards to quarterback. With that in mind, find where he vacated and attack that. Floys will run himself out of plays with regularity.
Lastly, make Darren Waller the prime target, without fail. Feed him targets like M&Ms. The Raiders can make the pass rush pay for blistering upfield with chain-moving drives. After a couple of these, the pass rush will slow considerably.