Richard Seymour was one of two players that didn’t finish the victory over the Denver Broncos last Sunday at the Coliseum. His injury was listed as a hamstring injury, and on Monday head coach Tom Cable identified the veteran defensive tackle as ‘questionable’ this week.
Nobody has questioned Cable on the severity of the injury as of yet, but after the veteran wasn’t on the field during the media window Thursday, questions will arise on whether or not the Raiders will face a tough Peyton Manning led Colts team without arguably their most dominant player on defense.
More on Seymour later today, but he was the only notable absence on Thursday. Langston Walker was the only other player not to finish the Denver game due to a concussion. Walker was on the practice field, but wasn’t practicing.
Raiders defensive coordinator John Marshall spoke with the media Thursday morning and appeared to be in good spirits, considering he’s preparing to face one of the best quarterbacks in the league. Marshall was a defensive line coach for the Indianapolis Colts the year Cable was on the team and boasted about it when asked if had coached with the Colts while Manning was there.
“No, he might have been diapers when I was there,” said Marshall of Manning. “I will say though, that I was there when they had the strike year and so that’s where I coached against coach Cable. He was an offensive guard.“
Jokingly, Marshall was asked to describe what Cable was like as a player. Marshall, not one to pass up an opportunity to entertain, answered with a twinkle in his eye, “I can’t remember. I can’t remember . . . he was great. Dominant. Big, dominant man.“
Marshall said that not being in the same division as the Colts forces the players to do extra work in the film room. “If we were in the division, you get used to what he does, his speed, his pace, that kind of thing, but because we don’t it’s even more important that we watch more film and any video we can get our hands on to watch what his pace is. Then we come out here and try to practice it.“
What the Colts offense does is try and force defenses to switch up on their terms. With Manning as the signal caller, the Colts routinely run a different play from the one they called in the huddle. This makes the job of the defense difficult in terms of having the right substitutions on the field.
Marshall is confident that his defense doesn’t fall into that trap. “I think if they see your history of trying to match up every week with a, put your nickel versus three wides, and your base versus their base,” said Marshall. “If they see where you’re trying to do that all the time and be a match up, I think that will be more of a tool for them to try and catch us.“
“But we haven’t been that. We’ve played base out there against three wides and we’ve played our nickel against base so it’s part of what they do. Ok? But, I don’t think it’s one where they say, “Oh, we can get these guys because they try to substitute all the time.” Because we don’t always.“
The person facing the biggest challenge on defense will be rookie middle linebacker Rolando McClain. McClain, who is tasked with getting everyone lined up properly and on the same page, will be battling wits with the future Hall of Fame quarterback on Sunday. Even so, Marshall contends that the onus is on all 11 players Sunday.
“Hell, I think it’s a challenge for everybody, the 11 guys that are on the field,” said Marshall. “I think it’s a great challenge for all of them. Any rookie linebacker would tell you if its his first time facing a particular opponent, it’s a challenge. The style of their offense, the quarterback, that’s all a challenge to him. But he’ll handle it, because he’s smart.“
Greg Biekert faced that test 10 years ago and passed with flying colors. Now, Biekert is available to help McClain do the same on Sunday. Marshall was asked how much Biekert could help this week. The defensive coordinator began smiling ear to ear and then answered jovially.
“I shouldn’t let the cat out of the bag, but in fact he will line up at middle linebacker,” as Marshall and the reporters questioning him burst into laughter. Then he said seriously, “No, it helps. His experience really helps in everything.“
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