Skip to main content Website Header

Game Preview: Raiders vs. Cardinals

The Oakland Raiders host the Arizona Cardinals at Coliseum in the Silver and Black's second-straight game in front of Raider Nation. The Cardinals come into Oakland with a 4-1 record, most recently defeating the Washington Redskins at home.

Several former Raiders will return to the Coliseum, this time wearing the opponent's colors – QB Carson Palmer, T Jared Veldheer, and DT Tommy Kelly. DE Matt Shaughnessy is currently on IR – Designated to Return.

Last Sunday, although the end result was the same, the Raiders played a much more well-rounded game, nearly pulling out their first victory. "I was really proud of their effort," said Head Coach Tony Sparano. "I thought they played really fast in a lot of areas. Really fast, fresher and fundamentally we played better in a lot of situations."

Raider Nation was behind the team, staying until the final whistle.

Palmer remembers and respects the passion of Raiders fans. He's expecting the fans in Silver and Black to give his new squad a hard time. "I'm sure it'll be loud and intense and an awesome environment for the home team," said Palmer. "They are going to make it tough on us. I don't know exactly how it's going to go down, but I'm sure it's going to be a very electric atmosphere and it's a special place to play. It's special to play in front of those fans. There really is nothing like the Raider Nation. There is nothing like being a Raider. There's just something really special to it. It's obviously evident in that stadium."

Palmer has only started two of the Cardinals six games due to an injury, but he has still thrown for 554 yards and four touchdowns and has a 100.5 quarterback rating. His extensive experience and efficiency is something the Raiders secondary is cognizant of and ready to combat.

"He's a veteran quarterback that's played a lot of great football. I would say hell of a competitor," said CB Tarell Brown. "Any time you go against a guy like that, a gun slinger, a guy that has so many weapons, you have to be prepared for the guy to throw the ball around and be on top of your guy."

The Raiders secondary seemed to be more aggressive in last week's match-up with the Chargers, attacking the ball and knocking away several passes. Brown attributes that success to allowing the guys to do what they do best. "I think they brought us here for a reason," said Brown. "They brought us here to make plays, doing what we do best, which is getting our hands on guys and getting an opportunity to challenge the ball."

They will be tasked with two big receivers this week in Larry Fitzgerald and Michael Floyd. "They've got two big, skilled receivers in Floyd and Fitzgerald, that are guys that are solid, really good players in our league," said Coach Sparano. "I have a ton of respect for both those players, playing against Fitzgerald and I did a lot of work with Floyd coming out of the draft, and he's a guy they like to try to throw the ball down the field to when you look at them."

The Raiders pass rushers will try to affect Palmer and disrupt his rhythm. "When you look at him on film, he makes the throws when they're there, and he makes some unbelievable throws," said the Raiders sack leader, DL C.J. Wilson. "He takes the hits and makes the throws. He's a tough quarterback and he's very accurate. He's just as good as [Philip] Rivers was last week, the way he makes the throws that are there and he squeezes them in tight holes and he makes the plays. He's not in the league for no reason. He's a good player, a great player actually."

The D-line and the linebackers will also have to bottle up RB Andre Ellington, who has 305 rushing yards so far this season. "I think the runner right now is running the ball very well," said Coach Sparano. "He's a guy that we have to contain. It doesn't look it when you look and you say, 'look at the rushing yardage as opposed to the passing yardage and that type of thing,' but he's made some big plays. He can get out of there and bounce out of there. He's got great quickness and they use him in the pass game quite a bit and he catches the ball out of the backfield, and he creates matchup problems that way."

LB Khalil Mack is ready for the challenge. "We just have to keep him contained," said the rookie. "We have to play with great edges and make him stay in the inside; make him run on the inside and not let him bounce outside like he likes to do."


Veldheer, drafted by the Raiders in 2010, will be at the forefront blocking the Raiders defense. "It'll be good to see Jared again," said long-time teammate C Stefen Wisniewski. "He'll be on the other side of the ball so I won't be head-to-head with him or anything, but he's a real good player, a great kid. It was nice to have him as a teammate but he's the enemy now."

Wisniewski won't have to worry about Veldheer, but he will have his hands full with the Cardinals defensive line. The Raiders offensive line did not allow a sack against the Chargers in Week 6, sprang the running backs for 114 rushing yards and protected Carr to allow him to throw for four touchdowns.

"Protecting the quarterback, it's about communication and then about technique," said Wisniewski on how to be successful as an O-line this week. "We have to make sure we're going to the right people, make sure the running backs are on the same page with us and the quarterback is too and then we just have to execute our jobs by taking good pass sets, using our hands, kind of recognize what the defense is doing as far as blitzes and stunts and what not. If we keep doing those things we'll keep Derek clean."

Rookie G Gabe Jackson continues to develop each game and has been a force on the offensive line. He expects the guys up front to continue to control the line of scrimmage. "Just keep being physical upfront and dominating," said Jackson. "It's also the goal of the offensive line is to dominate and make sure you do your job every play. If we just keep doing that and getting better, we'll be fine."

The offensive line will give Carr and his weapons opportunities to make plays, but they will have to contend with an Arizona secondary led by CB Patrick Peterson. "Their defense is playing really well, but that secondary, they've got a lot of players back there with [Patrick] Peterson and [Antonio] Cromartie," said Coach Sparano. "I was with 'Cro' before, a solid player. The two safeties, they're big kids. They're guys that look like linebackers playing safety out there. This is a tough group and they play really good together."

Carr is not afraid to challenge every defensive back on the opposing team, but he is always aware of where the star players are on the field. "He's a great player," said Carr on Peterson. "I'll know where he is every snap, but to me, I have to go through my reads. Like I tell you guys, if I were just to eliminate one side of a play or a progression, I'm hurting us and I can't do that. I've got to be able to trust that our guys will make the plays against whoever is guarding them. But I promise you, I know where those guys are at all times as soon as I break the huddle."

The Raiders 2014 draft class has played a significant role so far this season, particularly during Week 6. They know they're rookies, but they also understand that they don't have time to act like it. "I know I'm a rookie, but I try not to have that mindset that I'm a rookie because I don't want it to be like, 'he messed up because he's a rookie or whatever,' said Jackson. "I put in my head - I'm getting paid just like everybody else to do a job, so I do my job."

That mindset has allowed Jackson, Carr, Mack, CB TJ Carrie, and DT Justin Ellis to produce for the Raiders on both sides of the football.

The Raiders have also had recent success with some of their younger players on offense, including WR Brice Butler. This week, the second-year wideout will face Peterson, who has been a familiar face throughout Butler's career. "I'm excited to play against Pat. Pat and I came out together in high school so we played against each other in the All-American game," explained Butler. "It's going to be fun to go against him. He's just a physical specimen. He's a big guy that has good footwork and great ball skills. He's flashy guy; he has a little 'Primetime' in him."

Butler knows the wide receiver corps will have to play smart, precise football to be successful. "We're going to have to go out there and kind of do everything perfect against him. You have to go out there and make some plays, because you're going to have to earn them against him," said Butler. "That's what he puts on tape. It's going to be a good week."

The Raiders have this home game before going back out on the road for two weeks. This is their opportunity to take advantage of the crowd. "As a team it's always important to keep the energy high," said Brown. "When we have great fans like we do have and loyal fans, you want to get them into the game and get that home-field advantage."

Oakland will face Arizona at 1:25 p.m. PT Sunday, October 19. You can watch the game on KTVU FOX 2, listen on 95.7 The GAME or follow along on, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

This article has been reproduced in a new format and may be missing content or contain faulty links. Please use the Contact Us link in our site footer to report an issue.

Related Content

Latest Content