Buffalo Bills quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick has been looking at the film all week.
What he sees in the Oakland Raiders’ defensive front has him concerned.
“Up front, this is maybe the biggest, most physical team that we’ll see,” Fitzpatrick told reporters this week. “All those guys have great size, they have great motors, they’re going to be able to get some pressure on me.”
In Monday night’s season-opening victory over the Broncos, the Raiders sacked Kyle Orton five times and pressured him all game. All eight of the Oakland defensive linemen on last year’s team – which had a league-high 47 sacks – returned this season.
That gives the Raiders an opportunity to constantly shuttle in fresh linemen.
“I’ve been around some teams with six, maybe seven (good defensive linemen),” Raiders head coach Hue Jackson told Steve Corkran of the Bay Area News Group on Thursday. “To have eight, that is kind of unbelievable.”
Fitzpatrick and the Bills, meanwhile, present challenges of their own to the Raiders, who are trying to start the season 2-0 for the first time since 2002, their last Super Bowl season.
Buffalo routed the Kansas City Chiefs 41-7 at Arrowhead, and held K.C., one of the NFL’s top rushing teams a season ago, to 108 yards.
Fitzpatrick threw for four TDs and veteran running back Fred Jackson, one of many offseason acquisitions, carried 20 times for 112 yards. Also new is former Jets standout Brad Smith, a multi-purpose threat as a Wildcat QB and receiver. Former Raiders linebacker Kirk Morrison also signed with the Bills late in the preseason and saw action against the Chiefs.
The Raiders have some injury concerns going into the game, with wide receiver/kick returner Jacoby Ford and safety Michael Huff missing practice this week because of problems incurred against the Broncos. Matt Giordano would step in Huff can’t play. Defensive tackle Richard Seymour also has been held out of practice this week, but is more likely to play. Tight end Kevin Boss returned to practice this week – he missed some of the exhibition schedule because of injury – and could play Sunday.
In preparing for Sunday’s game, Jackson brought three officials to work Wednesday’s practice and keep the focus on eliminating penalties against the Bills.
Against Denver, Oakland committed 15 penalties.
“I told them, ‘Throw a flag, throw it. Don’t hesitate,’ ” Jackson told reporters after practice Wednesday. Jackson said the Raiders committed “a few.”
“But it wasn’t 15, I promise you that,” he said.