OAKLAND -- It may not matter whether the quarterback is Terrelle Pryor or Matt Flynn.
Given the history of Washington Redskins coach Mike Shanahan, quarterback is a secondary story for the Raiders if they can't keep Alfred Morris under control Sunday at O.co Coliseum. Chances are that if the Redskins break out of an 0-3 start with their first win, it will include a lot of cutback runs by Morris.
Shanahan has 167 NFL wins as a head coach and is 21-7 against the Raiders, the most victories he has against any NFL team. The formula has been consistent since he was fired by Al Davis four games into the 1989 season -- run his former team into the ground.
All of Shanahan's games against the Raiders came with the Denver Broncos, but the plan of attack is the same with Washington -- lots of stretch plays in a zone scheme with a non-descript running back.
"You look wherever Coach Shanahan has been, his teams have always been able to run the ball with that zone scheme," Raiders coach Dennis Allen said. "The thing they try to do is get guys to run sideways and stretch the defense, then hit the cut-back. It will be critical for our guys to attack the line of scrimmage."
The zone scheme is not always easy to execute -- witness the difficulties the Raiders had running it last year. It requires mobile offensive linemen and a patient runner who knows how to read his blocking and make an up-field cut against the flow of the defense.
The Broncos made a living doing it against the Raiders, out-rushing Oakland 2,857 yards to 1,641 in their 21 wins and being out-rushed 914 yards to 747 in the seven losses.
In the 28 games Shanahan has coached against the Raiders, Denver has a 30-14 advantage in rushing touchdowns.
While the spotlight went to quarterback Peyton Manning in a 37-21 win over the Raiders on Monday night, more troubling for Oakland was giving up 164 rushing yards on 35 carries to Denver and the sight of running backs Ronnie Hillman, Montee Ball and Knowshon Moreno doing "rock-paper-scissors" on the sideline to determine which back would get a crack at scoring a late touchdown.
Morris, who gained 1,613 yards last season as a sixth-round draft pick out of Florida Atlantic, has 225 yards rushing and is averaging 5.6 yards per carry through three games even though Washington fell far behind early in its first two losses.
Morris is the classic Shanahan back -- not flashy but adept at executing zone reads. Of the 12 1,000-plus-yards seasons by Shanahan running backs, none of the eight rushers -- including Ricky Watters when Shanahan was the 49ers offensive coordinator -- was a first-round draft pick.
"He does a nice job of picking players that can fit his system -- running backs that can make one cut and get vertical," Raiders defensive coordinator Jason Tarver said. "Look at what he's done. It doesn't matter who he's put back there, they've produced."
The Redskins will run their base plays out of different sets.
"All the blocking schemes are the same," Tarver said. "So they change the formations weekly and use the same scheme."
Raiders linebacker Kevin Burnett said the Raiders must be constantly advancing rather than moving side-to-side.
"Everybody has to go straight ahead," Burnett said. "You can't go sideways against this team because they'll run you out of the park if you do that. You have to get penetration, go vertical instead of sideways."