Notebook: Raiders Discuss Versatility Of Panthers Offensive Attack

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Assistant Defensive Backs Coach Rod Woodson, Cornerback DJ Hayden, and Defensive Back Keith McGill II

Greg Olsen gets a lot of notoriety as far as the Carolina Panthers offense is concerned, and for good reason too.

The former Miami Hurricane is now in 10th NFL season – his sixth with the Panthers – and at age 31, the two-time Pro Bowl tight end is showing no signs of slowing down.

Olsen's 54 receptions lead the Panthers – as do his 745 receiving yards – and in 2016 in particular, Olsen has shown to be a valuable lifeline for quarterback Cam Newton and the Panthers offense.

"He's a really good player, one of Cam's [Newton] favorite targets," said Head Coach Jack Del Rio when asked about Olsen. "He can run. He's athletic. He has great hands. He's a good football player. He's a tough matchup."

"He's smart; he's fast," added defensive coordinator Ken Norton, Jr. "He runs really good routes. He understands leverage, and he catches the ball well. You always need a good guy throwing you the ball and he's got a really good quarterback, really good strong arm, that trusts him."

Through 10 games, Olsen has consistently shown to be the top weapon Newton, but the 2015 MVP has more than just No. 88 end at his disposal.

While Olsen is a key cog in the Panthers aerial assault, he's just one part of the team's ever-evolving three-headed monster through the air, and the Raiders defense knows that as talented as the Panthers tight end is, they have to remain vigilant in keeping Newton's weapons outside contained as well, mainly wide receivers Ted Ginn and Kelvin Benjamin.

After an up and down beginning to the season, Ginn has found his footing over the past couple weeks, quietly establishing himself as the third option for the Carolina offense, in addition to his usual work on special teams.

Along with Olsen and Ginn, Newton's other primary target is Kelvin Benjamin, a 6'5" 245-pound wide receiver who certainly presents some matchup issues for the Raiders secondary.

"He's another great player," said cornerback DJ Hayden. "We've just got to play our leverage good, and just make plays on the ball."

Benjamin isn't the first physically-imposing wideout the Silver and Black have squared off against this season, and those experiences earlier this season are something that Hayden thinks will pay dividends for the group Sunday afternoon at the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum.

"He's just going to be a big receiver and we've been playing big receivers all year," Hayden explained. "I mean, he's a great player, we've just got to actually dial in, focus in, on him."

Kickoff against the Panthers is scheduled for 1:25 P.M.

Injury Report:

Cornerback – David Amerson – Knee – Limited – Questionable

LB – Shilique Calhoun – Knee – Did not part. – Out

WR – Derek Carr – Ankle – Limited – Questionable

C – Rodney Hudson – Knee – Limited – Questionable

DT – Stacy McGee – Ankle – Limited – Questionable

DB – Keith McGill II – Abdomen – Limited – Questionable

RB – Latavius Murray – Ankle – Limited – Questionable

G/T – Kelechi Osemele – Knee – Limited – Questionable

LB – Perry Riley Jr. – Hamstring – Limited – Questionable

Notable:

-Who says Marquette King is the only Raider that can punt? Before the start of Friday's practice, the self-proclaimed KickSquad President and rookie wide receiver Jaydon Mickens spent some time kicking back and forth to each other, fielding each other's punts. I must say, Mickens has a pretty good leg too.

-Head Coach Jack Del Rio ruled rookie linebacker Shilique Calhoun out of Sunday's matchup against the Panthers Thursday afternoon, so as expected, No. 91 was not on the practice field with the rest of his teammates Friday.

-While Calhoun has been ruled out of the Week 12 matchup, cornerback David Amerson was once again a limited participant in Friday's practice, and his status for Sunday is questionable, along with seven other members of the Raiders.

Quotable:

Head Coach Del Rio shared his final thoughts before Sunday's home game at the OACC:

"We're ready to go. We've had a good week of prep. The recovery part is over. The preparation part has been really solid this week. We know we have a heck of a team coming. I know they have a few guys banged up, but they have a heck of a football team coming in here. We expect a real physical game."

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