Can The Chargers Stop The Raiders Run Game?

The Oakland Raiders normally have an excellent stable of backs, but due to some injuries to the backfield, they’ll be depleted somewhat. Justin Fargas is already scratched for this week with a nagging groin injury. Darren McFadden has a turf toe that’s been bugging him since last week’s game at Buffalo, but he should still play. His effectiveness Sunday against the Chargers defense will be a question mark but Oakland Raiders Head Coach Lane Kiffin is hopeful that D-Mac will be able to go:

"We're going to give him a shot and hopefully he can play. You never know for sure. The whole thing, he'll go out there. We'll give him a shot and let him go out there from the beginning of the game and hopefully he can go. We'll play him until we can't go and then we'll be down to one. We'll have to go with Justin (Griffith)."

So with the first and second stringers banged up, it looks like Michael Bush will have to carry the load. Bush is a load himself, listed at 6’1” 245lbs. He might be the biggest back San Diego will face all year. Bush was on the physically-unable-to-perform list last year as a rookie, so this is the first we are seeing of the guy.

So far, Bush as ran well for Oakland: 30 rushes, 145 yards, 4.8 average per carry, and a touchdown. He’s a big, powerful back that runs well between the tackles. Unfortunately for the Chargers, that’ll mean that the defensive line will be taking a pounding all day if the Raiders are allowed to establish their run game. It’ll be important to get a lead on them early and to force them to put the game in Jamarcus Russell’s hands.

If the Chargers can work an early lead, this will allow them to sit back and try to pick Russell off. He’s a tough guy to bring down, but the team will need to force him into passing situations and rush him as much as possible. If they can create enough pressure on the young QB, they will have opportunities to make plays in the secondary.

Of course, if the Raiders and their big, physical line dominate the line of scrimmage, then they’ll pound the Chargers out on the ground and keep Russell from having to do too much.

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September 26, 2008

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