Raiders' Kolton Miller Healthy, Improved Compared to Last Frank Clark Battle

ALAMEDA – Frank Clark came right at Kolton Miller off the Raiders' left side, without many fancy pass-rush moves to distract or disorient. The then-Seattle Seahawks defensive end pushed Miller with two hands, and the Raiders left tackle fell straight back while Clark strip-sacked Derek Carr for the second time.

It was one of three sacks Miller allowed in a messy loss to Seattle in London, a low point in the first-round draft pick's rookie season.

Miller probably shouldn't have experienced it. The UCLA product's knee was a mess, in no condition to handle an elite power rusher. The Raiders didn't have a better option, so Miller fought through the pain even while physically compromised.

Miller remembers that Week 6 defeat well, when Carr was under constant duress under less-than-ideal circumstances.

"That was our sixth game, and it came a little bit after the injury," Miller said. "That week was an adjustment in London. We had three days to get calibrated. It was a different field. The grass was muddy and we were losing footing. I think it should be a lot better this game. Plus you're not, knock on wood, injured going into this game."

This next game offers a shot at redemption for Miller. Clark's coming to town Sunday now employed by the Kansas City Chiefs, ready to rush off Miller's side yet again.

"He was one of the most mentally tough guys on our team and, really, when you can play through that kind of pain, you take criticism," head coach Jon Gruden said. "He's got a lot of pride and he's just a young guy. Don't forget that, he's just a young guy."

Clark might not recognize him. Miller's significantly bigger and stronger than last year and is in great health after playing through knee and elbow injuries in 2018.

Miller enters Sunday on a high, having completely shut Denver's Bradley Chubb down in a 24-16 Monday night victory.

"I had a blast," Miller said. "I just let it loose and came out on top last night. It was really fun."

Last year's Seattle game was the opposite. That memory hasn't been erased, and might not need to be reviewed to rev Miller up for another big matchup. That's not how he's wired. He doesn't play with emotion and keeps his focus inward.

"He's not externally motivated," offensive coordinator Greg Olson said. "I think he has a lot of internal pride. We talk about that. It's not necessarily always about the opponent across from you. It's about you. He's done a lot, certainly in the offseason, to get stronger and to get quicker and more powerful. He's done a fantastic job with our weight staff here. But I think he's focused on just getting better himself.

"I know he takes note of the guy that he's going to go against this week, but he knows if he stays technically sound and follows the rules that he's been taught, then he'll be fine."

Olson knows his left tackle well. That's exactly how Miller described his path to success, with a series of technical goals that will translate to a strong showing. Miller now has the mass and power required to handle the AFC West's top edge rushers.

Sunday presents a good, even matchup of opposing forces. Miller isn't the type to get even with anybody. His goal is to protect the quarterback and create space in the run game, regardless of who is in front of him.

[RELATED: Carr will resist urge to go gunslinger against Chiefs]

This Week 2 matchup will be a challenge and offer another chance to show improvement.

"He's got Frank Clark this game, one of the premier rushers in football," Gruden said. "He's just stronger, he's more experienced, and he's healthy. Those are three things as we said yesterday that have taken his game to another level. He's got to continue to prove it every week."

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