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O-Line Ready for a Major Test


The numbers say the Raiders have the NFL's 26th ranked defense, but the Silver & Black have many solid players on that side of the ball and it all starts with a formidable defensive line.

"By far, the best front seven we've faced all year," Jets RG Brandon Moore told "It's going to be a tough day."

Oakland is tied for sixth in the league at getting to the quarterback with 15 sacks through six weeks. The Raiders acquisition of former Patriots DE Richard Seymour before the season added to an already talented line group that will test the Jets O-line on Sunday.

"From Seymour on over to Greg Ellis, who's an experienced vet, to Gerard Warren, who's playing well for them, and Tommy Kelly," said Moore. "Up front they're really good and the linebackers feed off of that and get downhill and make plays."

"They are really good," added Alan Faneca. "Definitely what they lean on defensively — they put a lot on those guys to create disruption and let everyone else play off of that."

The Silver & Black's defensive unit totaled six sacks of QB Donovan McNabb last week in a 13-9 upset victory over the Eagles.

"We played with a higher intensity level," said Seymour. "Philly likes to throw the football, so we knew we had to come in and get after McNabb. It's just the opposite this week."

The high number of sacks can partly be attributed to the fact Philadelphia only ran the ball 14 times compared to 52 dropbacks last week. And in terms of rushing attempts, they rank 29th in the NFL. They were also playing with an O-line that had four of the five players expected to be their starters either out of action or playing in a different position.

On the other hand, the Jets rank third in rushing attempts at 33.5 attempts/game and their O-line will be starting its 23rd consecutive game together.

"We are going to do what we do regardless," said RT Damien Woody. "Everything with us starts with our running game."

Though five out of the six sacks in the Eagles game came from the Raiders D-line, D'Brickashaw Ferguson says the Raiders feature an aggressive style similar to the Jets sending extra men to rush the quarterback.

"We pass protect," he said. "We're going to have a scheme for them, so we feel real confident that we'll be able to pick up what they bring."

Ferguson used to be matched up with Seymour when the former was a stalwart in New England. The Jets' left tackle, a first round pick out of Virginia in 2006, doesn't see anything drastically different in the player he used to face in the AFC East.

"It's nothing new," he said. "Same guy, same player."

Woody was a teammate of Seymour's from 2001-'03 and lined up against him in practice while both were in New England.

"It's pretty much the same M.O.," he said. "He's big, strong, real athletic guy for his size. It's going to be a good battle because he's a really talented player. I'm looking forward to it."

Entering Week 7, Seymour has already racked up four sacks. That's the most he's collected this early in the season and Seymour's benefited from a change of defensive systems.

"He's not in a 3-4 like he was in New England — he's in a 4-3 scheme," Woody said. "He has a little bit more freedom to kind of do what he wants to do. I think it's playing to his strengths. You definitely can see that they kind of just let the chains off him and let him go."

"They put him in a lot of similar situations that he was used to in New England," said Faneca. "A couple of those games and stunts that he was involved with over there, they've incorporated into what they do. He's fitting in real good."

To keep the Raiders from getting to the quarterback, the Jets will continue their "ground and pound" mentality, which really got a jump start last week against the Bills when they rushed for 318 yards. The only bad news for the O-line was the second-highest rushing total in franchise history went for naught.

"I'm really proud of where we're at with our running game and we can get better. I think we're No. 2 in the league in rushing, so we're looking to try to be No. 1," said Woody. "The running game is one of those things that takes some time and with each game, we just got better and better and better. It's kind of like last year. Last year it was a little slow and then right around this time it just started cranking and really took off."

Last season, the Jets played the Raiders in Week 7 and rushed for a season-high 242 yards in a 16-13 OT loss. The Raiders are expected to hone in to try and shut down Thomas Jones and Leon Washington.

"They're going to gear up to try and stop us from running because of what we did last year. Even though we lost, we put up 200 some yards on them and after last week, we know they're going to be really focused in and coaches are going to be really hard about that," said Moore. "We've gotten that all season, people trying to stop us from running the ball and it's another challenge."

"Any given Sunday, you get a chance to play against the league's best," Brick said. "We're going to be prepared to go out there and play a tough game."

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