Raiders cornerback Michael Huff hasn’t had much time to rest since changing positions to help the Raiders’ injury-ravaged secondary.
He’s not likely to get a break this week either.
After trying to knock down passes thrown by Pittsburgh’s Ben Roethlisberger and Denver’s Peyton Manning in successive weeks, Huff and the Raiders return from the bye with the task of trying to slow down what has been one of the NFL’s most prolific passing attacks through the first month of the season.
“I definitely got thrown into the fire,” Huff said Thursday. “But I’m still expected to go out there and make plays.”
Oakland’s pass defense has struggled just defending one good receiver this season, let alone an explosive tandem like Atlanta’s Roddy White and Julio Jones.
Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan also has the second-highest passer rating in the NFL and has already thrown for 1,507 yards and 13 touchdowns.
That trio, along with tight end Tony Gonzalez and running back Michael Turner, has helped the unbeaten Falcons surge to the top of the NFC.
“Matt Ryan is definitely a top-five quarterback the way he’s playing right now,” Huff said. “They’ve got a great offense. We have to make our fair share of plays, get turnovers and get the ball back to our offense. That’s really the only way to slow them down.”
The Raiders are again relying on a patchwork lineup in their secondary.
Huff was moved from free safety after injuries sidelined starters Ron Bartell and Shawntae Spencer and the backups struggled to pick up the slack. Pat Lee, Oakland’s other starting cornerback, had started only one game in three previous seasons before replacing Bartell in Week 2.
Both have had their share of problems in coverage, something they’ll have to improve significantly going against the pass-happy Falcons.