Skip to main content
Raider Nation, Stand Up - View Schedule - Presented by Allegiant

Pick Six: Who, and what, should the Raiders defense be prepared for in Los Angeles?

1. Who is it?

The Raiders are going into Thursday's game still not sure who they'll be facing at quarterback.

John Wolford started last week at quarterback, but Wolford is questionable with a neck injury. A new dynamic has also come into place with the team claiming Baker Mayfield off waivers Tuesday. While the former No. 1 pick will have only been on the team for two days going into Thursday's game, Rams Head Coach Sean McVay says the quarterback could be active for the game.

The situation sounds familiar to Raiders Head Coach Josh McDaniels, who said he dealt with similar situations before in his career.

"There's probably a lot of factors that would go into that," McDaniels said on the Rams potentially starting Mayfield. "Was there any familiarity before? Has he ever played in a system with terminology that was similar? That could or could not be the case. There could be some strains of information that he's obviously aware of from who he's played for to this point. And then, I think most importantly, is what you would ask of him. I mean, what you ask him to do, is it the whole playbook? That's probably unlikely. Is it a part of it, or pieces of it? And it depends on the player, really.

"There's definitely been times where we've added players and then been able to get them up to speed enough to contribute," continued McDaniels. "It's just a matter of how much you're looking to do with him."

2. One of the best football players in the NFL

While superstar defensive lineman Aaron Donald will miss Thursday's game, the Raiders offense will still have their hands full with cornerback Jalen Ramsey. The three-time All-Pro has been lockdown at his position since entering the NFL in 2016. The Rams are prone to moving him around, with his versatility allowing to cover a wide array of players. He currently leads team in pass deflections (10) and is fifth in sacks (two).

"Jalen is not just one of the best corners, he's one of the best football players in the NFL," said Derek Carr. "I've seen him line up at linebacker, see him line up at the SAM spot, the MIKE spot. I've seen him line up in safety spots, in the star spot, the outside corner, left and right. I mean, the versatility that he has, not just as a DB but as a football player, is unbelievable.

"He blitzes. He covers. He plays man coverage; he plays zone coverage. He can do everything. ... He's a guy I've always respected and admired, and watched from afar, so to compete against him will be a lot of fun."

3. Practice execution is game reality

The production of a certain Raiders undrafted rookie was on full display against the Chargers.

Isaiah Pola-Mao, the rookie out of USC, notched his first career NFL sack on Justin Herbert and finished with five total tackles. Additionally, he only allowed five passing yards as a primary defender, playing 13 snaps on defense.

"Practice is everything especially as an undrafted player," Pola-Mao said of earning playing time throughout this season. "You have to make sure you prove yourself every day. Day in and day out, you got to clock in. And Coach [McDaniels] says it best, 'Practice execution is game reality.' I take that very seriously."

4. Getting after the quarterback

Chandler Jones was named AFC Defensive Player of the Week after his three sack performance Sunday.

The edge rusher could be in line for another big performance against the Rams on Thursday, as they have allowed the second most sacks this season (42).

5. Feed 28

Josh Jacobs returns to SoFi Stadium coming off his second straight FedEx Ground Player of the Week win.

The Raiders running back leads the NFL in rushing yards (1,303), yards per game (108.6) and longest rush (86 yards). He's churned out three straight games over 100 rushing yards, despite dealing with calf and quad injuries. Jacobs has recorded at least 100 scrimmage yards and a rushing touchdown in each of his past three Thursday night games, and is less than 500 rushing yards away from breaking Marcus Allen's franchise record for most rushing yards in a season.

"He's unbelievable. I've always said he's one of the best in the NFL, especially the way he's running with that mindset and that mentality," Carr said of Jacobs on Sunday. "He's been unbelievable. ... He turns a two-yard run or a three-yard run, into eight, nine, 10, 12. It's those little hidden yards like, 'Oh, good run.' No, you can't overlook how special that is."

6. Nate the Great

Nate Hobbs came back at the right time, especially with the Raiders now being without cornerback Rock Ya-Sin for Thursday. In Hobbs' return from injured reserve, he led the team in total tackles (eight) and recorded a fumble recovery.

"Nate's a guy that wants to do everything he's doing well, and he always tries to improve and get better," said McDaniels. "And I think for a young player, to have that kind of mindset and that kind of purpose every day that he comes into the building, you got something significant to work with. And Nate's been that way since I first met him. And so, whether it's that, or coverage or tackling, whatever it is, he wants to be coached. He takes coaching very well. He works really hard to try to improve and apply his skills to it.

While Cooper Kupp and Allen Robinson are on injured reserve, Hobbs could be key in shadowing the likes of Tutu Atwell and Van Jefferson – who combined for 87 yards on four catches against the Seahawks last week.

Related Content

Latest Content