ALAMEDA, Calif. — Kolton Miller sees the difference.
The Raiders left tackle faced Denver Broncos outside linebacker Bradley Chubb, a fellow first-round pick, in September. Chubb since has made strides in his skill set, such as his bull rush and various pass-rush games, Miller said.
Chubb is learning as he goes.
So is Miller.
He and rookie right tackle Brandon Parker will face their latest challenge Monday night. Denver presents Chubb on one side and Von Miller on the other. They have 12 and 14½ sacks this season, respectively. This area is a key on-field component to a game that probably will be remembered most for its surrounding atmosphere and emotion.
On Saturday, coach Jon Gruden said “why not?” when asked whether he plans to greet the Black Hole fan section after the game.
“Whether it’s the last game there or not,” Gruden said, “I’ve got a lot of respect and thankfulness for our fans. It’s Christmas Eve and the end of the season. We have a lot to be thankful for. We haven’t won many games, but the people that know this football team know what is going on inside here and know that there has been some really cool foundation that has been laid. I think the fans appreciate the effort, and they know we appreciate them.”
Kolton Miller is coming off a learning experience.
He allowed two sacks last Sunday against the Cincinnati Bengals, both to defensive end Sam Hubbard. It was a rare outing for Miller, whose struggles this season largely have been tied to injury-limited mobility. This time, his technique is what let him down.
Miller opened his outside foot too early in protection.
“That and I wasn’t really punching as much,” Miller said. “I was more leading with my head. When you lead with your head and the guy keeps going upfield, you shorten the edge. I need to do less of that. It wasn’t a guy that required that, either. … I was out of rhythm. Just a bad game.”
Monday is a fine time for a good one.
Chubb, the No. 5 overall pick, predominantly plays right outside linebacker — Miller’s side. Parker figures to draw Von Miller most of the game.
— Kolton Miller will have some help. Left guard Kelechi Osmele (toe), who missed the previous two games, is set to start Monday.
— Cornerback Gareon Conley (concussion) and cornerback Daryl Worley (shoulder) were limited participants in Saturday’s practice. Both were listed as questionable to play. Defensive tackle Mo Hurst Jr. (ankle) didn’t practice all week and was listed as questionable.