Raiders defense to focus attention on Jamaal Charles

Jed Jacobsohn

It is pretty clear where the focus of the Raiders defense is going to be with regard to the Chiefs offense. It's all about Jamaal Charles.

The Chiefs offense seems to begin and end with Jamaal Charles these days. They are a two win team due to the poor play from the quarterback position and the receivers. Matt Cassell has been benched in favor of Brady Quinn and Dwayne Bowe isn't playing this week.

I asked Dennis Allen what differences he sees in Cassell and Quinn. And he touched lightly on them before getting back to the crux of the matter - Jamaal Charles.

"I think that they're both pretty similar," said Allen. "Brady's probably going to stay in the pocket just a little bit more but I think both of them are good quarterbacks. The biggest thing is being able to turn around and hand the ball off to Jamal Charles. That's the biggest thing that we need to make sure that we defend."

On Thursday, he spoke glowingly of Charles as well.

"I would think that they would turn around and hand the ball off to (Charles)," said Allen. "He's one of the more explosive players in the league. He's rushed for 100 yards four of the last five games, so he's an explosive player on their offense, a guy that can go make plays for them. So I would anticipate that they would try to get him the ball."

For the defensive players, they too know who they're dealing with in regard to Charles.

"He's fast, he's explosive," said Tyvon Branch. "If he hits a crease, he can get out and go so we know we gotta hit him early and try to loose him up a little bit so he doesn't hit the hole as hard."

Raiders rookie defensive tackle Christo Bilukidi has seen in his limited time all he needs to see of Charles to know what he does and does not want to see from him, saying "We don't wanna find out how fast he is, we wanna find out how tough he is."

Branch was asked about Christo's statement and he agreed.

"Yeah, we wanna see how tough he is," said Branch. "We want him to turn back into the mouth of our defense and get some hits on him."

Last time the Raiders played he Chiefs, they handed the ball to Charles just five times and he had a total of four yards. With the Raiders keying on stopping him, the Chiefs went away from their star back to try and get their yards. The result was one of the Raiders three wins on the season.

On Sunday we will see if the Chiefs stick with their workhorse in the hopes that he can break a couple big runs. All they need do is look at the past few weeks for the Raiders to know if at first they don't succeed; try, try again.

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