Baltimore Ravens vs Oakland Raiders: What’s the Game Plan for Oakland?

What should the Oakland Raiders emphasize in the film room leading up to their Week 2 matchup with the Baltimore Ravens?

The simplest yet most complicated way to demolish an opponent lies within the trenches. First and foremost, the Raiders must put relentless pressure on quarterback Joe Flacco. How should defensive coordinator Ken Norton Jr. approach this plan of attack?


Attacking Joe Flacco

For starters, Norton must use a more aggressive attack. Last time out, the Raiders defense only blitzed three times, per Pro Football Focus. The end result didn’t create a chaotic situation for Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton.

In Week 2, Norton must take a few more chances with blitzes and trust his secondary to go one-on-one with the Ravens wide receivers.


Wide receiver Steve Smith Sr. is the only wide receiver capable of burning the defenders, as noted by Bleacher Report's Matt Miller:

The Raiders can afford to gamble on a man-to-man matchup between Smith and T.J. Carrie considering the cornerback's solid performance in Week 1. He only gave up two catches in coverage while shadowing wide receiver A.J. Green for the majority of the game.

Now, back to pressuring Flacco. In Week 1, the Denver Broncos harassed the Ravens quarterback with timely blitzes that paid off repeatedly. One of those blitzes resulted in a pick-six that put the Broncos in the lead:

Here’s another glimpse at the brilliant mind of defensive coordinator Wade Phillips.

In the first example, it’s simple math: There are more defenders than the Ravens can possibly block. Inside linebacker Brandon Marshall ran through running back Justin Forsett en route to sacking Flacco. He took advantage of a clear mismatch, and Flacco didn’t stand a chance.

In the second ...

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