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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).

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Jerry McDonald - NFL Writer

  • R8dercain

    I agree with you raiderjoseph we will have thenumber 1 rushing attack and also the best pass defense as well

  • http://raiders.com Einstein

    Check this out, Josh McClown cut a finger on his throwing had with a chainsaw, got six stitches or so. I am so glad this dude is not a Raider anymore.

    http://www.sun-sentinel.com/sports/football/pro/dolphins/sfl-0716mccown,0,13028.story

  • http://raiders.com Einstein

    I think MR has a little Josh McClown in him, or at least he did last night.

  • Drinkraideraide

    Ha yeah. Hey I looked up the profile on william joseph from raiders.com this guy has been hurt nearly every year since he’s come into the league I believe he sat out last year after a few games sustaining a season ending injury. I thought we were getting someone of value but I guess not. We seriously need more beef or depth of beef in the middle because when our big guys get tired and have to go out who do we have to fill in the void ? Nobody

  • Raider Joseph

    I remember they said that Derrick Burgess was hurt every year, too. William Joseph is the 4th man in our rotation, a former first rounder. We will be fine.

  • Mistabrown

    But sadly one of the worst run defenses unless something has changed. I think Kiffin has forced RR to make some adjustments so lets see what happens.

    LOL @ the McCowns, dumb & dumber with the chainsaws! Josh breaks a pinky playing catch with AW last year and then this!

    # R8dercain Says:
    July 17th, 2008 at 9:37 am

    I agree with you raiderjoseph we will have thenumber 1 rushing attack and also the best pass defense as well

  • Mistabrown

    Dakota how about a Charlize Theron or Scarlett Johanson fix ?

  • Dakota
  • http://www.car.org/ KoolKell

    How come everyone hates about trolls? They’re not so bad.

  • Mistabrown

    You can do better then that! Shes hot but that pic isnt very good.

  • Dakota
  • Dakota
  • Mistabrown

    Yes, thank you

  • Mistabrown

    Jerry after you reg this FK’n blog ( yeah right ) can Dakota still post pic links ?

  • Mistabrown

    Do you have Lisa Guererro ? Remember her from Best Damn Sports Show? She did a playboy spread cpl years ago….oh man she is a piece!

  • Dakota
  • Dakota

    I might get banned for that one…

  • Dakota

    I am going to lunch…if I am banned when I get back…well, it has been real.

  • http://raiders.com Einstein

    Dakota are your neighbors aware you are a pornographer?

  • CopenhagenFan

    Josh McClown is a rube….but he’s got a big heart and is a competitor!…..or what was is?? Game manager? ha ha

  • Mistabrown
  • Mistabrown

    Whats a rube ?

    The Colbert report is on right now channel 249 DTV!!!!

  • RaiderTay

    Good read Jerry. This really got by blood flowing and excited about the new season. I forgot about the spankin we handed the Broncos at the end of the season. Definitely a highlight to the beginning of the Kiff era.

  • http://raiders.com Einstein

    Mistabrown are your neighbors aware that you are a pornographer? Get some help my friend, it’s a disease..

  • Mistabrown

    Yes I have a large sign in my front yard that says “Pornographer”

  • http://raiders.com Einstein

    hehe, lmao :-)

  • Johnny Rebel

    Looks like another Bronco could join Marshall if the commish starts handing out suspensions for opening weekend.
    http://www.denverpost.com/commented/ci_9900895?source=commented-broncos

  • mcfaddenswagon

    broncos are garbage this year to small on defense

  • Johnny Rebel

    I knew Shanahan was starting to loose it when he finnaly made a trade with Davis, for their best DT Warren.

  • RaiderTay

    Steelyone,

    I would be estactic to go 8-8 next year. After being in the cellar for the past 5 years I would love to be .500.

    Despite how horrble the Raiders have been we are still relevant. I was amazed to hear that the Raiders were opening on MNF. Somebody in TVland agrees that the Raiders will be very interesting next year.

  • Steelyone

    Finally, a voice of reason…..don’t be the cliche….ok guys.

    Thanks Tay

  • http://www.car.org/ KoolKell

    Hey Bo Schembechler Jackson

    Why is it that when you click on your name, it goes to http://www.don‘tbotherresponding.com ??????

  • http://www.car.org/ KoolKell

    For anyone interested,

    When you click on Bo’s moniker you get this:

    Server not found

    Firefox can’t find the server at http://www.dontbotherresponding.com.

    * Check the address for typing errors such as
    ww.example.com instead of
    http://www.example.com

    * If you are unable to load any pages, check your computer’s network
    connection.

    * If your computer or network is protected by a firewall or proxy, make sure
    that Firefox is permitted to access the Web.

  • http://www.dontbotherresponding.com Bo Schembechler Jackson

    It was a joke on FIRE KIFFIN and MR, since they type that at the end of every post.

  • http://www.dontbotherresponding.com Bo Schembechler Jackson

    KK,

    You really took that URL seriously? LMAO

  • Mistabrown

    I think it was a joke KK, apparently went right over your head.

    lmao

    KoolKell Says:
    July 17th, 2008 at 12:21 pm

    For anyone interested,

    When you click on Bo’s moniker you get this:

    Server not found

  • http://www.dontbotherresponding.com Bo Schembechler Jackson

    So KoolKell, you must have put a lot of thought into your link to the Californai Assn. of Realtors. Are you a realtor, and why would you want us visiting that site? Just curious…

  • http://www.car.org/ KoolKell

    I’m sure everyone’s dying laughing.

  • http://www.car.org/ KoolKell

    None of your F’n business, how’s that?

  • El Dirty

    So tell me what happens if we lose game 1? ( I honestly dont believe this will happen at all.. just curious)

  • http://www.dontbotherresponding.com Bo Schembechler Jackson

    No prob, wacko.

    Don’t bother responding.

    Just win baby.

  • http://raiders.com Einstein

    KoolKell-

    Dude you have seriously lost it. Get the trolls off your mind you paranoid freak.

  • Johnny Rebel

    MR thinks my name implies I am rebellous, just proves what a real idiot he is. Research before you post MR, you’ll look less stupid that way.

  • http://www.car.org/ KoolKell

    Hey Bo Schembechler Jackson

    Why is it that when you click on your name, it goes to http://www.don‘tbotherresponding.com ??????

  • http://www.car.org/ KoolKell

    Hey Bo Schembechler Jackson

    Why is it that when you click on your name, it goes to http://www.dontbotherresponding.com ??????

  • http://raiders.com Einstein

    Well we all know KoolKell uses Mozilla.

  • http://raiders.com Einstein

    Now all we need is his IP address.

  • http://www.dontbotherresponding.com Bo Schembechler Jackson

    MR: “Do Trolls celebrate Christmas?”
    MR’s Mom: “Yes, mostly because of Carol.”
    MR: “Carol? Who’s Carol, mom?”
    MR’s Mom: “Carol the Troll.”
    MR: “Oh yeah, from the song “Deck The Halls”.
    MR’s Mom: “…Troll the Ancient Yuletide Carol… Falalalalaaa….”

  • http://www.dontbotherresponding.com Bo Schembechler Jackson

    What’s the difference between a blog troll and a basket of dung?

    The basket.

  • http://raiders.com Einstein

    Dont bother responding.