Don’t Let Alex Smith Beat Them
There’s no question that in four of their first five games, the Raiders faced some of the league’s top quarterbacks. They had to run a gauntlet that was made up by Drew Brees, Matt Ryan, Joe Flacco, and Philip Rivers. It’s impressive that they came through that murderer’s row 4-1.
In Alex Smith, they’ll be facing a quarterback firmly in that second tier of NFL QB’s. He’s good, but not great. Effective as a game manager, but isn’t likely going to be electric for you. He won’t kill you with mistakes, but he’ll need help around him to succeed.
All of that being said, the Raiders are going to need to do a good job of putting constant and consistent pressure on him. They’ll need to live in the backfield and make him as uncomfortable as possible all day long. Rattle Smith, don’t let him get into a rhythm – because when he’s comfortable and in a rhythm, he can be fairly surgical.
That is going to start up front. Oakland’s defensive front will need to be in Smith’s face from the start and they can’t afford to let up. We saw them do a fantastic job of collapsing the pocket and making Flacco’s life miserable in their victory over Baltimore. And we saw them do a fairly decent job of it against Rivers, forcing him into a few costly mistakes.
They’ll need to continue that trend of getting solid pressure and collapsing the pocket around the quarterback. If they can get into Smith’s face – and more importantly, into his head – they’re going to find some success in this game.