Raiders Blog and Q&A

News, observations and reader questions about the Oakland Raiders

December 25, 2008
Bryant is the latest test for the secondary

ALAMEDA - Aside from what Eddie Royal did against DeAngelo Hall Week 1, the Raiders haven't been beaten badly by a good receiver.

Here's how Pro Bowl receivers have done against the Raiders this season:

Steve Smith, Carolina: one catch, nine yards
Roddy White, Atlanta: five catches, 54 yards
Andre Johnson, Houston: two catches, 19 yards
Wes Welker, New England: six catches, 69 yards, one touchdown
Brandon Marshall, Denver: four catches, 84 yards

This week's challenge will be Antonio Bryant.

In his last three games, Bryant has 23 catches for 435 yards and four touchdowns.

For some perspective, Bryant's last three games would make him the leading wideout for the Raiders this season.

"This guy is a heck of a player," said Tampa Bay coach Jon Gruden. "I wish he got more, I guess, more notoriety for what he's done this year, because he's been awesome for us."

As long as Bryant makes plays like the one below and stays out of trouble, he'll get plenty attention.

Off field problems have kept Bryant from being the star out of Pitt most thought he could be.

But he's stayed clean in Tampa Bay.

"He brings a certain grit and determination to the field," said Tampa Bay quarterback Jeff Garcia. "He's a playmaker. He excels when he has opportunities to make plays, and even when the ball doesn't come his way, he does a great job of getting involved in the blocking aspect of the game and being a complete player, and he's really been a blessing for this team."

*What made Bryant dangerous on that highlight weren't just his hands. It's that Garcia moved in the pocket to keep the play alive.

Containing the shifty Garcia will test the Raiders' discipline on defense. Kansas City's Tyler Thigpen gave the Raiders problems because he could run.

"The most important thing in this football game for our defense is to defend your gap," said interim head coach Tom Cable. "Whether it's as a pass rusher, whether it's a blitz or against the run, everybody has a gap and if you do your job in the gap we'll be fine."

*Unless something crazy happens today with the Raiders, don't expect any updates the rest of the day. Have some fun. Watch the Lakers beat (I hope) the Celtics. There will be something up here to read Friday as I prepare to make the trip to Tampa Bay.

--Jason Jones

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About Raiders Blog and Q&A

Matt Kawahara was born in Sacramento and attended McClatchy High School and UC Berkeley, where he wrote for the independent student paper The Daily Californian. He graduated from Cal in 2010 and started at The Sacramento Bee as a summer intern. He joined The Bee's sports staff in fall 2011.

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