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Xs and O's BUCCANEER OFFENSE VS. RAIDER DEFENSE

Raiders Need to Keep Johnson Out of Rhythm

January 25, 2003|Sam Farmer | Times Staff Writer

The Raiders are facing a very smart, very reliable quarterback in Brad Johnson. He isn't spectacular, but he doesn't make a lot of mistakes. He's much more likely to take a sack than force a pass that leads to an interception.

Because his offensive line isn't great, and the Raiders have a huge defensive line that can get pressure on the quarterback, Johnson will take a lot of three- and five-step drops and get rid of the ball. When he gets in a rhythm, he's dangerous. The Raiders will try to get him moving, re-route his receivers at the line of scrimmage, do what they can to disrupt the flow of the offense.

To beat the Raiders, you have to minimize their offensive opportunities. You have to keep their offense off the field, and that's why Tampa Bay needs to establish the run, something the Buccaneers have struggled with throughout the season. Tampa Bay has the 27th-ranked run offense and averaged 1.5 yards a carry against Philadelphia in the NFC title game.

Tampa Bay has three very good possession receivers in Keenan McCardell, Keyshawn Johnson and Joe Jurevicius. They're not the fastest receivers around, but they catch most everything thrown their way. Watch for them to run a lot of crossing patterns and quick outs because of Johnson's short drops. Make the Raiders tackle.

Jurevicius can be scary. He's 6 foot 5 and often draws a third corner who's as much as six inches shorter. The Buccaneers like to push defenders deep with Keyshawn Johnson and McCardell, then drag Jurevicius over the middle. Jurevicius made a huge play against the Eagles that way and looked faster than he has looked at any time in his career.

The Raiders do not have a great defense. They generally do a good job stopping the run, but teams have been able to spread the receivers and complete passes. Cornerbacks Charles Woodson and Tory James are recovering from broken legs -- both are playing with metal plates in their legs -- and backups Terrance Shaw and Clarence Love are average, at best. Safety Rod Woodson is an amazing, ageless player who always seems to be in the right spot to make a play. But Anthony Dorsett does not anticipate well and is often caught out of position. He's a big hitter, though.

Charles Woodson has been flagged for pass interference the last two games, and teams are throwing his way in part because he's coming off an injury. He's one of the best corners in the game, but he's not healthy.

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(BEGIN TEXT OF INFOBOX)

RAIDER LEADERS

*--* Regular Season Statistics: OFFENSE Passing Player Att Comp Yards TD Int Rich Gannon 618 418 4,689 26 10

*--*

*--* Rushing Player Att Yards Avg TD Charlie Garner 182 962 5.3 7 Tyrone Wheatley 108 419 3.9 2 Rich Gannon 50 156 3.1 3 Zack Crockett 40 118 3.0 8 Receiving Player Rec Yards Avg TD Jerry Rice 92 1,211 13.2 7 Charlie Garner 91 941 10.3 4 Tim Brown 81 930 11.5 2 Jerry Porter 51 688 13.5 9

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*--* DEFENSE Tackles Interceptions Sacks Player No Player No Player No Eric Barton 124 Rod Woodson 8 Rod Coleman 11 Bill Romanowski 91 Tory James 4 Eric Barton 6

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BUCCANEER LEADERS

*--* Regular Season Statistics: OFFENSE Passing Player Att Comp Yards TD Int Brad Johnson 451 281 3,049 22 6

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*--* Rushing Player Att Yards Avg TD Michael Pittman 204 718 3.5 1 Mike Alstott 146 548 3.8 5 Aaron Stecker 28 174 6.2 0 Rob Johnson 14 73 5.2 0 Receiving Player Rec Yards Avg TD Keyshawn Johnson 76 1088 14.3 5 Keenan McCardell 61 670 11.0 6 Michael Pittman 59 477 8.1 0 Joe Jurevicius 37 423 11.4 4

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*--* DEFENSE Tackles Interceptions Sacks Player No Player No Player No Derrick Brooks 118 Brian Kelly 8 Simeon Rice 15.5 Shelton Quarles 113 Derrick Brooks 5 Warren Sapp 7.5

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(text of infobox not included)

BUCCANEER SEASON LOG

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RAIDER SEASON LOG

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