Originally posted on 60 Max Power O  |  Last updated 9/20/12

Oakland Raiders quarterback Carson Palmer will play a familiar foe on Sunday at home against the Pittsburgh Steelers. Before Palmer was traded to the Raiders midway through last season, he played the Steelers twice a year with the Cincinnati Bengals. In order for Oakland to win, Palmer will have to navigate the defense he knows well.

In Palmer's career against the Steelers, he has a 4-8 record, throwing for 2,402 yards, an average of 200.2 per game, 17 touchdowns and 11 interceptions. The numbers may not be great, but the experience gained is invaluable. The Steelers have had a solid defense for years, ranking near the top of the league. Hall of Fame defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau has been with the team every meeting against Palmer. That experience and knowledge of the scheme could prove instrumental for Palmer.

“For the most part, there’s some different pieces to the puzzle but it’s really the same scheme,” Palmer said. “There’s always a new wrinkle or two each week. As far as preparing for a fist fight in the trenches, battles on the outside, and getting rid of the ball on time and finding ways to run the ball, that’s the way you prepare for them every time you play them or play against them. It’s the number one defense in the league, it seems like, every year or every couple of years, so you just know going into the game it’s going to be a fist fight for four quarters.”

In order to be successful against the Steelers defense, the Raiders must commit to an effective running game. It has been tough treading with Oakland's new zone blocking scheme, but the team must find a way to be successful. If Pittsburgh makes the Raiders one dimensional, they will bring tremendous pressure off the edge.

“You don’t let it frustrate you,“ Palmer said of the running game troubles. “And you know the saving grace is McFadden’s back there. He’s one arm-tackle away from breaking off a 40-50 yarder. He’s got that potential. He’s got that ability. He’s done it before. We’re going to stick with it. We’re not frustrated. We’re disappointed in ourselves for not executing it better, but we’re not going to let it frustrate us. We’re not going to let it deter us from our goal. Our goal is going to be to run the ball on people and we’re going to do that.”

With linebacker James Harrison and safety Troy Polamalu questionable for the Steelers Sunday. Palmer will make sure he knows where safety Ryan Clark is on the field.

“Ryan’s probably one of the most underrated players in the game,” Palmer said. “If not that, he’s one of the most underrated players on defense in the league because he’ll come up and hit people. He lets guys take chances like Troy [Polamalu] and like their linebackers and shoot gaps, take chances in run games that they can get you beat, but he’s always there to save them. He can cover a lot of ground. He understands the system. He’s a 10-year vet; a really complete player and complete safety.”

 

Be sure to check out other great articles at Sports Media 101.

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