Raiders have Broncos on the run


In the days leading up to the first day of training camp, I’ll review the state of the rest of the AFC West and how they match up with the Raiders, as well as all Raiders position groups heading into the first practice on July 24. Today’s entry takes a look at the Denver Broncos.

If there is one thing Mike Shanahan enjoys more than beating Al Davis and reminding him of the bonus money he insists he is owed, it is the way his Denver teams have been physically superior through their ability to run the ball.

That changed in 2007, and when Davis was tallying up the plusses and minuses of Lane Kiffin’s first season, one of the biggest things in his favor was the way his teams played against Shanahan and the Broncos.

They came within a Sebastian Janikowski field goal hitting an upright of sweeping Denver for the first time since 2002, falling 23-20 in overtime in Week 2 and manhandling the Broncos 34-20 in Week 13.

You wonder if Davis’ favorite moment of the entire season wasn’t the sight of watching Shanahan sit on the ball on Denver’s final possession, essentially saying “uncle” as Justin Fargas ran for 146 yards, the Raiders gained 175 and ran up a 10-minute advantage in time of possession.

The Raiders beating the Broncos on the ground is real man bites dog stuff, as Shanahan’s 20-6 record against Oakland since 1995 has been in great measure due to Denver’s rushing superiority.

Oakland outrushed Denver 2,086 to 1,957 last season _ only the third time in Shanahan’s 13 years the Raiders gained more yards than the Broncos on the ground.

What’s more, it was accomplished with an offense in large measure stolen from the Broncos _ zone blocking, lots of bootlegs and and getting effective yardage from different running backs.

Whether the Raiders can continue beating the Broncos at their own game will be determined quickly _ Denver is at Oakland in a late Monday night game at the Coliseum in Week 1.

Broncos review

Denver was 7-9 in the AFC West, 1-1 against the Raiders. Ranked 9th in rushing, 11th in total offense, 19th in total defense, 30th in rushing defense.

What’s new

Running back Travis Henry, a rare Denver foray into free agency for a running back, was dumped after being a no-show in the offseason program and faces a suspension under the NFL substance abuse policy.

The Broncos will run by committee with Selvin Young and free agent acquisition Michael Pittman. Fourth-round draft pick Ryan Torian of Arizona State has the classic look of a one-cut, zone-blocking runner.

Linebacker Boss Bailey, brother of cornerback Champ Bailey, joins the defense, along with San Diego castoff Marlon McCree at safety. Niko Koutovides, a free agent from Seattle, will also play a large role.

What’s to like

Quarterback Jay Cutler’s mysterious weight loss last season was solved. He has Type 1 diabetes and must constantly monitor his blood sugar. The word is Cutler not only looks healthy, but is throwing the ball extremely well and appears confident and secure, perhaps relieved he knows what he is dealing with.

Not content to go the usual route with castoffs, the Broncos used a first-round pick on tackle Ryan Clady, who was a zone-blocking terror at Boise State and a perfect fit for the system.

What’s not

There was a lot of snickering when the Broncos cut Javon Walker rather than pay him a $5 millon roster bonus, only to have the Raiders sink some $16 million into him during free agency. It no doubt got louder when Walker ended up getting rolled in Las Vegas.

But the Broncos best not laugh too loud. The wideout expected to make the big plays, Brandon Marshall, sliced tendons in an offseason accident. He says he slipped on a McDonald’s bag and fell through a television set.

Considering Denver’s offseason acquisitions at wide receiver were Keary Colbert and DarrellJackson, joining Brandon Stokely, the Broncos have issues outside.

Those creaking sounds are coming from Denver’s center position. They went younger at center, signing 13-year veteran Casey Wiegmann from the Chiefs and relegating 15-year vet Tom Nalen to backup status.

Tears of joy were wept in Oakland when perennial Raider-killer Jason Elam escaped to Atlanta as a free agent. The place kickers going to camp are Matt Prater and Garrett Hartley.

There were no huge moves by the Broncos in the offseason defensively despite giving up 409 points, more than even the Raiders (398).


Jerry McDonald - NFL Writer

  • mcfaddenswagon

    things are pretty dule in the bay area nowadays not to much happening. Whatever happened to free tibet did they get free or did everyone just forget?

  • Dakota
  • mcfaddenswagon


  • mcfaddenswagon

    haha if MR. was a raider fan i would try to counsel him lets take a try at this maybe we can resolve this like adults…MR. why all the hostility?

  • mcfaddenswagon

    I don’t know i try to keep my name pretty respectable by not posting outrages things.

  • What is Tibet?

  • mcfaddenswagon

    Dakota, do you invision Mcfadden in the slot a lot? I mean i can see him doing that but mostly as a decoy, i havent seen to much film wit him as a wide reciever.

  • mcfaddenswagon

    Tibet is where the buddhist monks be at. forgive my spelling, in the himmalayas.

  • Troll, you have a problem with me, let’s talk.

  • I knew it.

  • Dakota

    mcfaddenswagon Says:
    July 17th, 2008 at 2:29 pm
    Dakota, do you invision Mcfadden in the slot a lot? I mean i can see him doing that but mostly as a decoy, i havent seen to much film wit him as a wide reciever.

    I envision McFadden coming out of the backfield in motion trying to get a favorable matchup against a LB…that would not even be fair, lol, and if he shows the ability to burn the LBs consistently, maybe teams will have to scheme special packages keeping an extra CB on the field to deal with McFadden…wich should help improve our running game even more…

    Wow, I can’t wait!

    Bush can catch too…this could be something special…

    I could certainly envision the occasional HB pass…McFadden and Bush in the backfield, McFadden goes in motion, splits out left, Russell takes the snap and pitches out to Bush to the right, Bush pulls up and tosses one to McFadden cutting across the field…TD RAAAAAIDERS! I really hope we can pull something like that off against SD…they always pull out an LT TD pass against us.


  • I see you’re still there. Engage me you idiot, or one of your alts. Let’s match wits.

  • Dakota

    Replace the hat with a Raiders’ hat and this is me right about now:


  • Dakota

    This was me after the first half of the first game of the 2006 lost season:


  • mcfaddenswagon

    yeah but i envision mcfadden throwing the pass i hear he can throw to.

  • TW,

    FYI, I tried your plan last year, they kicked ME out for 4 months.

  • vegas raider

    Fargas has to get the opening night announcement of the line-ups. Felt like last year he was one of the few guys giving 110% every Sunday. He deserves it, McFadden will get a big enough oviation when he trots on the field.

  • mcfaddenswagon

    kool kell why not just switch ur name and build a new reputation….we’ll never know whos who

  • No, it probably won’t be me. Cancer maybe 😉

  • mcfaddenswagon

    be the bigger man about the situation.

  • McFadden

    I thought about it, but any regular who he perceives to be influential will be subject to the same treatment. It’s not just me

  • Dakota

    Next to Walker, the Fargas signing was the worst of the offseason…way overpaid for a 3rd string RB that can’t catch, rarely breaks tackles, rarely scores TDs and has lost a step due to all of the injuries…

    Great team player, hard worker and had a great 8 game stretch last season…but that didn’t call for a big contract…he should be making just above the vet minimum based on his entire resume.

  • It’s not my name, it’s my voice he can’t stand.

  • 137

    No positives to Fargas’ game?

    I can’t think of one NFL back who hits the hole quicker than Fargas. Quickness and burst somewhat offset his lack of elusiveness / breaking tackles.

    That being said, he’s not a complete back and will never be the game breaker in the open field. His game has changed at all from USC. Quick, tough runner who can’t show off his 4.3 speed (ran at the combine) because he can’t get into the open field.

  • mcfaddenswagon

    I agree dakota we completely overpaid, Al outbid himself.

  • mcfaddenswagon

    But if he has another solid year i’m sure we can trade him for a draft pick.

  • vegas raider

    Dakota: I agree with you on the fact that he can’t catch and doesn’t break enough tackles, but he is a legit backup RB in this league, not a 3rd stringer. He plays like a veteran, knows where the chains are, blocks well and rarely fumbles. Rhodes may have been a better runner of the ball, but Fargas was a better all-around back.

  • Don’t forget, nobody knows for sure about Mike Bush, Yet.

  • Dakota


    He is a great 3rd string RB, nothing more. And his speed is gone, even when he breaks into the open field…(see the premature Mike Williams celebration play for evidence that Fargas no longer has that 4.3 speed). Nothing against the guy, but he simply cannot be a featured NFL back, and he will lose his job to McFadden and Bush (hopefully).

  • vegas raider

    For whatever it’s worth I’m not big on Bush. He has 17 carries since X-MAS OF 2005. Can’t imagine his body holding up for 16 NFL games anytime soon.

  • Dakota

    I just posted a comment on the RF365 site telling LMN to get his butt back over to this site, lol.

  • mcfaddenswagon

    true its mcfadden and fargas this year…with bush getting a smell of the field everynow and then, this is mostly a learning year for him, as the games going to be very fast and rough for him. The thing i like about fargas is when he gets rolling his takes 6-8 yards at a time. And i do recall that run play i believe it was in the second half after a long days work for fargas. Sharing the load with mcfadden should give him fresh legs.

  • mcfaddenswagon

    whats the rf365?

  • KK SSHHHHH its our secret!!!!

  • 909raiderlifer

    City of Denver, to give free movie theater tix, passes to local museums etc. To the cities, estimated 4,000 homeless population. At the time of the Democratic convention, in two weeks.

    City officials said, that they don’t want any of the homeless, to accidently get caught up in any potential protests. During the convention.

    Homeless advocates, are claiming that the city is merely attempting, to get them out of sight of visitors , to the convention.

  • Dakota

    new thread

  • ghost to the post

    fargas has become a very good back, third best running outfit 1000 in limited play, and lots of 5-10 yard runs that keep a drive going. Yeah we got to the donks. But if you look, he gives it his all every run, and that’s a lot. when kiff would call his number three times in a row, by that third carry he had lost his steam and it would be for very short yardage… why they kept doing this through out the season is a big question mark… He should be even better this year with other backs they are comited to use/train.. was not a bad move. loyalty and reward of effort have to be a factor

  • Dakota
    LOL I saw ur post to LMN guess he’s finally had enough of MR and ufck europe…


    i want bowlen and shannahans heads on a platter

  • Sharpe

    The Autumn Wind is a pirate Blustering in from sea
    With a rollicking song he sweeps along swaggering boisterously

    His face is weather beaten
    He wears a hooded sash
    With his silver hat about his head
    And a bristly black moustache

    He growls as he storms the country
    A villain big and bold
    And the trees all shake and quiver and quake
    As he robs them of their gold

    The Autumn wind is a Raider
    Pillaging just for fun
    He’ll knock you ’round and upside down
    And laugh when he’s conquered and won.

  • BRONCETTES, going down in 2008! run raiders run, lets do it, ball control, short passes than catch them snoozin with the long ball and tight-end over the middle running the seam. vargas is going to set the tone and intensity for the young bucks, i expect vargas to step up, huge.and this d- line better be right, i like sands in the middle stand tall, pressure, stump the line and put your hands high in front of passes.now hows fitness? offense of line? lets go oaktown! anyone want a portrait of RAIDER in bronze or stone write this address!ill make!

  • Steelyone

    Thanks for the link on poat 130 great article


    I feel a little better now…..

  • ofdizzle