The Oakland Raiders travel to Phoenix, Ariz. this week to take on the Arizona Cardinals for a Week 3 match-up. Both teams are 1-1 after the first two games and look to come away Sunday with a winning record. For their second road trip of the season, the Raiders look to improve their play when they face last year's NFC Western Division champions.
Although the Cardinals fell to the Atlanta Falcons in Week 2, QB Bruce Gradkowski is confident the Raiders will be facing a formidable opponent. "We're facing a good Arizona football team," said Gradkowski. "They just went deep in the playoffs last year. This is a good football team so we have to be prepared."
The team has been preparing for the Arizona offense led by WR Larry Fitzgerald and RB Tim Hightower. "They are a team that is very talented in a couple spots," said Head Coach Tom Cable. "Their receiver is a fabulous player; Larry Fitzgerald is as special a guy as there is in this league. Their runner, in my opinion, is very, very good. Up front they are very physical, and with the offensive line, you've got to find a way to get after the quarterback and disrupt him."
In order to contain the Cardinals offense, the Raiders look to play with their attack-style defense. "Anytime you get pressure up field and cause havoc in the backfield, it always stops the running back's feet," explained DT Jay Alford. "Hopefully we can get good pressure up field and that will cause him to change courses."
CB Stanford Routt, who intercepted a pass in last week's win over the Rams, simplified the strategy and explained that the defense just needs to go out and play football. "We're not about to sit up here and come up with some magical game plan, some magical scheme, we're not about to do that," said Routt. "We're just going to play football, line up on the man on you, then just go ahead and cover him. Tackle the running back, whenever it's a pass play get the ball out of the air, try to sack the quarterback, stop the run, stop the pass and just play football."
The Cardinals pose a major challenge on the defensive side of the ball. "Defensively, Darnell Dockett, if he doesn't want you to, you don't block him, and anyone in this league knows that," said Coach Cable. "He is a very, very difficult match up for any team. [Adrian] Wilson at safety, the linebackers; [Joey] Porter on one side, it gives you some issues as far as protecting your quarterback. They're going to put eight guys in the box."
Throughout the week, the team has worked diligently to not only be ready for the Cardinals, but clean up some of their own issues. "What we need to do to succeed is [to have] more discipline and attention to detail," said Cable.