Which Raiders Need To Step Up Versus Steelers?

Which members of the Las Vegas Raiders offense will need a big game against the Pittsburgh Steelers?

The Raiders are traveling to Pittsburgh to face off against the Steelers. With the Raiders being clear underdogs, several players need to rise to the occasion to give the Raiders a shot at winning.

Andre James, Center

The new center got off to a pretty rough start last week. Andre James’s blocking was inadequate in both the pass and run. Calais Campbell had no issue getting by him to smother running plays. James was also called for holding twice and prematurely snapped the ball when Carr called an audible, killing a potential scoring drive. Those mistakes will be even more unacceptable in Pittsburgh next week. 

The Steelers possess a very dangerous defense, whose strength lies in its front seven. James will have to line up against defensive tackle Cameron Heyward. Last week, Heyward had six pressures and four tackles against the Buffalo Bills, per Pro Football Reference. We can’t expect James to be perfect, but he’ll still have to show improvements from last week.

Alex Leatherwood, Right Tackle

Rookie Alex Leatherwood had a mixed game. In some moments, his blocking was fine, but like James, he had his fair share of mistakes. There was one big rookie mistake that Leatherwood made on third down where he got beat by Justin Houston for a sack. It was not pretty on tape. He was also called on a holding penalty and a false start. The latter occurring in overtime when the Raiders were within the Baltimore one-yard line. Now, he’ll be dealing with the likes of Melvin Ingram and T.J. Watt, who combined for seven pressures and two sacks last week, per Pro Football Reference.

Clelin Ferrell, Defensive End

With Yannick Ngakoue possibly getting fewer snaps due to a hamstring injury, the former fourth overall pick is going to need to step up. Things haven’t been too pretty for Clelin Ferrell after being announced as a healthy scratch in the season’s opener. He has only accumulated six and a half sacks going into his third year in the league. Ferrell is going to need to make the most of the opportunity at hand. Luckily, the Steelers’ offense didn’t look too great last week. Also, Ben Roethlisberger’s low mobility could be helpful as well. Even if Ferrell rotates with Carl Nassib in Pittsburgh, he will have a good shot at being a contributor.

AFC West Performance Watch After Week 1

*Top Photo: Bobby Ellis/Getty Images

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