Just a few days until the Raiders have to face the feared Chargers team and their vicious blitzing ways. But Raider coach Tom Cable see's things a bit differently in that regard. And he has a message for the Chargers: Bring it!
"I think my whole thing with JaMarcus [Russell], when we go to blitz perioids and all this, ‘Own this period. Own it. You want it. Let them bring it. Let them bring it. Get yourself where you need to be, protection-wise. Get your routes where you need them, in terms of your audible system, and go get them.
"We've seen [the Chargers' blitz] in the past and some things in preseason, they'll have something new for you, everybody does. We'll have something new for them, too. And so they'll have to handle that."
Ooh, that sounds nice hearing a coach talk like that. And it especially sounds nice to his players. Post those words on the locker room wall "We'll have something new for them, too. And so they'll have to handle that." And every Raider player needs to repeat those words over and over to themselves and to his teammates. Believe in that and have confidence that the Chargers need to fear you as much or more than you need to fear them.
While everyone is talking about how great the Chargers defense is and how fearsome their blitz is, no one seems to be talking about the Raiders defense or the new blitzing schemes that Jim Marshall has promised to implement. That may just be the "something new" that Cable is referring to that the Chargers are going to have to "handle".
There is also the talk about the 11 straight wins that the Chargers have over the Raiders and the large rushing totals the Raiders give up to LaDanian Tomlimson and company. But LaDainian Tomlinson knows that those totals have gone down in recent meeting between the two teams and he thinks he knows why.
"The last few times they actually have played us really well against the run... They got Kelly and Gerard Warren up front. Those guys really gave us some trouble. Kirk [Morrison] running around and Thomas [Howard] running around, their speed has really caused us a little trouble and allowed them to make some plays."
It is true that despite still losing to the Chargers, the last few games have been more competitive. And coach Cable would like that to continue to progress and translate into a win.
"When you look back at those games (against the Chargers) we were able to stay in, keep the defense off the field, keep them fresher if you will. And I thought we played with a little more intensity and violence on defense. I've gone back and looked at those so I can understand what [Tomlinson] is getting at."
LaDainian has been with the Chargers long enough to know that things have not always been like this. At one point, the shoe was on the other foot. And it could switch back very easily as well, if the Chargers get careless.
"[The streak] is not something we think about", Says Tomlinson. "We focus on the game that's in front of us, if it's the Raiders, it's the Raiders. That's always been our approach. Focus on the game's that's in hand and then we take care of everything else. It hasn't been that long. We play them twice a year. You guys talked about 11 straight times. I remember when they were kicking our butts all the time."
Yes it has been a while but LDT is not the only one who remembers the last time the Raiders beat the chargers. Nnamdi Asomugha was a rookie playing in that game and he seems to remember it well. He also knows that all good things come to an end. Or in the case of the Raiders, all bad things.
"11 straight can be a motivation for a lot of people, but it's not really a motivation for me. I think just the fact that they've beaten us 11 times; That says a lot in itself. It's a divisional game and it's a Monday night game. I think that's enough motivation for me and for anybody else here. That 11 straight can get changed at any time."
Is it possible that that streak an end on Monday? Sure it is. The Raiders could come out with schemes that the Chargers have never shown before and catch the them completely off guard. The Dolphins did it last year when they introduced their Wildcat formation against the Patriots and they made them look downright silly. Not to mention going from a season of 1-15 to a season of 11-5.
And I am not even talking about anything that drastic. Simply ending a long losing streak in a league with constant parity and adding perhaps two to four wins to the Raiders record from last season. Does that really seem like a insurmountable feat?
Actually it seems downright probable when you really think about it.