Editor’s note: This is the second part in a series that spotlights three Raiders-Rams matchups to watch Sunday, 10 a.m., at Edward Jones Dome.
Raiders DE Justin Tuck vs. Rams RT Joe Barksdale
Tale of the tape:
Tuck (91): 6-foot-5, 265 pounds, 10th season, Notre Dame
Barksdale (72): 6-foot-5, 326 pounds, fourth season, Louisiana State
The Raiders drafted Joe Barksdale in the third round of the 2011 draft. He didn’t stay in Oakland long. The Raiders released him in Sept. 2012, and the Rams claimed him off of waivers the next day.
It was a good pickup. Barksdale moved into the starting lineup in 2013 and remains there today, a strong protector on the right side.
“Joe’s been really solid, really solid for us out there,” Rams coach Jeff Fisher said in a conference call. “He’s really fun to coach. He loves to practice and I’m just real proud of him. He’s worked very hard and I think each week he’s got a different challenge. He understands the difficulty in the matchups and he takes those challenges on. He knows he’s not going to win every time, but he’s a smart player and we were fortunate to be in the position to claim him.”
Barksdale has had an uneven season. He didn’t allow a sack over the first six games, but gave up five in the next four games.
Raiders left defensive end Justin Tuck would like to get by him and cause trouble for quarterback Shaun Hill. Tuck has been a disruptive force over the past few games, despite playing significant snaps. He has 29 tackles, two sacks, a forced fumble and an interception. The Raiders have impacted the quarterback with a combination of pass rush and coverage, with Tuck a leader in that charge.
Barksdale wants to slow the talented veteran and show the Raiders that they gave up on him too quick.
“I think in the back of every player’s mind who’s ever been cut by a team, whenever they get to play that team it’s a special game,” Barksdale told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. “There’s always going to be something there, but at the same time I’m not trying to make it personal because it’s not about me. It’s about the team.”