Beating Broncos would serve Cable well


News, notes and observations heading into the Raiders game Sunday in Denver against the Broncos:

— The Broncos have not only proved to be an accurate litmus test for how the Raiders will fare in some seasons, but served as an opponent beleaguered coaches can use to save their jobs.

When the Raiders put a 31-10 beating on the Broncos at Invesco Field last Nov. 23, it helped along a slump which ended with the firing of Mike Shanahan and helped the case of Tom Cable in terms of removing “interim” from his job title.

The last two games of the season against Houston and Tampa Bay sealed the deal, but Al Davis probably would have made up his mind before then if the Raiders had been spanked the the Broncos.

By contrast, Lane Kiffin’s tenure was over the moment the Raiders embarrassed themselves 41-14 in their Monday night opener against Denver, although Davis waited three more games to build his case and warm up the overhead projector.

Davis, already ticked off by Kiffin’s defiance, may have ousted him after one year had it not been for two games against Denver. In Week 2, the Raiders lost 23-20 in a game they would have won had Sebastian Janikowski not plunked an upright. The Raiders beat the Broncos in the rematch 34-20 in the Coliseum, the best game of the Kiffin regime.

Art Shell, 0-2 against Denver, was gone after one year. Norv Turner, 1-3, lasted two seasons, including a Broncos sweep by a score of 55-20 in 2005. Bill Callahan’s AFC champions beat the Broncos twice in 2002, but his fate was probably sealed the next year in the “Dumbest Team in America” loss to Denver.

— Nnamdi Asomugha gets his hopes up every Sunday that he’ll be challenged repeatedly. Considering that Denver wide receiver Brandon Marshall normally lines up on the same side as Asomugha, he could get his wish.

Marshall caught an NFL record 21 passes in a loss to Indianapolis last week, gaining 200 yards. Last season, Marshall had an 18-catch game against San Diego, giving him two of the top four singe-game reception totals in NFL history.

“He’s the `X’ usually and comes out to the right side, so I’ll probably see a lot of him,” Asomugha said Friday. “I mean, he got 21, he dropped three, so this is a game where you go in and you know the ball is coming, so you have a chance at making plays.”

Considering the number of hitch routes, bubble screens and the like the Broncos throw to Marshall, the key is limited the yardage because receptions are inevitable.

“He’s going to get his,” Asomugha said. “I mean, if you throw at him 30 times, he’s going to get something out of that. That’s what you saw last week . . . I’ve said for the last two or three years he’s one of teh toughest guys to bring down after the catch, along with (Anquan) Boldin and Steve Smith. That’s why they give him the screens and shorter routes and stuff likethat. You have to gang tackle him.”

— Asomugha, one of the most observant and analytical players you’ll ever talk to, had some interesting observations on Broncos head coach Josh McDaniels, the former Patriots coordinator who took over for Shanahan.

In the Shanahan years, the Broncos were predictable in terms of how they were going to attack, but in their good years so flawless in terms of execution they were difficult to stop.

The Broncos would have only a few runs in their playbook, with a bread-and-butter stretch play, designed for backs to make one cut in a zone blocking scheme and head up field.

Those plays were mixed in with a passing game heavy with bootlegs and rollouts, with a lot of involvement from the tight ends. It was a system Kiffin copied and the Raiders used extensively in 2007, with Cable altering things in terms of depth of receivers and the like after taking over as interim coach.

Under McDaniels, the Denver offense, according to offense, has been like chameleon.

“A lot of coordinators have their basic plays, regardless of who they’re playing against,” Asomugha said. “But this is a guy, you watch the film from last week and it looks nothing like the film from the week before, or the week before that. Every week is different.

“He came out against New England, we’d never seen them in a wildcat. But he knew Miami had got New England a year or so bak, and he knew it would work. There were some things he’s done against us that he’s never done the rest of the year that worked. Shanahan would do what he does, sometimes have different people doing it. That’s how he’d get you. But with Josh, it’s completely new every week.

“Those are the guys you love to face, because it’s the fun of the game. You have to be really focused.”

— A rarity Sunday _ the Raiders and 49ers will be on television locally at the same time. The 49ers game was moved to the later time slot because of weather conditions in Philadelphia. The attempts to never have teams in the same market compete against each other when it makes up the schedule.


Jerry McDonald - NFL Writer

  • 4evaRaider

    Looks like 1 of our safetys could have a big day if Orten targets Marshall like he has been,imo

  • r8eray

    4evaRaider, who are you talking (safety) about?

  • 4evaRaider

    Either 1.If Orten presses the issue with Marshall,close to the line like he has been with crossing routes….we sneak a safety over towards Marshall and BOOM

  • M Lonetree

    I say trot out ol’ JaBling for one play. Keep both backs in to block and send JLH, Schilens and Murphy all on streak patterns to the same area. Kind of a Hail Mary but the donks won’t know that beforehand. Have JaBling just heave the ball as far and high as he can (has to be on first down to minimize blitz pressure). TD, intercept, incomplete, who cares? Then trot him right back to the bench. One $600,000 throw.
    Man’s gotta earn his wages.

  • I hate the donkeys! I have never been to a home game where we won Vs the donkeys.. F them!

  • SnB offense defense specialteams

    The offseason is in full swing in December…as usual..

    I hope the Coach tries to get Bush and DMAC more work. I hope JLH, Schilens and Murphy get more work….might be nice to see more of Mitchell on the field as well.

    Time to see more Bryant and Shaughnessy on the field too.

    I hope Cable isn’t selfish and gives the next coach a chance to see more film on the good young players on the roster.

    Offseason in full swing gents….Senior Bowl is coming up in a few weeks and the Combine in February

  • SnB offense defense specialteams

    I also hope Davis is talking to Fassell right now. Get him in here as soon as the Baltimore game is over

  • SnB offense defense specialteams

    Don’t play the veterans who are on the downside…with the exception of Frye…and let’s just see what the young guns can do. Let them build up the confidence that Tom Cable’s stupidity destroyed.

    Cable was content to ice Bush, JLH and even Murphy….only injury has Murphy on the field….

    I can’t wait till Cable is out of here

  • 4evaRaider

    Ok Snb…..Lets say Big Al fires or demotes Cable.Fassell is hired.We go 4-12 under Fassell,what would you do?

  • Plunketthead

    Carr, who has played for the Tennessee Titans and Oakland Raiders, said the Ravens are prepared because they watch more film than any of his previous teams.

    “Besides the quarterback, the secondary needs to watch the most film,” he said. “The hardest thing to do in the NFL is to cover somebody one-on-one.”

    That’s why it is important for defensive backs to trust one another. One key to a successful pass defense is teammates relying on one another to be in the right position


  • SnB offense defense specialteams

    4evaRaider Says:
    December 20th, 2009 at 9:43 am
    Ok Snb…..Lets say Big Al fires or demotes Cable.Fassell is hired.We go 4-12 under Fassell,what would you do?
    Tom Cable has no idea how to develop these young players on offense. I don’t like the way he manages the roster and picks his starters.

    If not for injury, Murphy would have been standing on the sidelines with JLH watching DHB drop balls all over the field.

    Cable should be brought up on malpractice charges for the way he has iced Bush and underutilized McFadden.

    Fassell will be able to evaluate talent a hell of a lot better than Cable.

    Tom Cable deserves to be fired

  • SnB offense defense specialteams

    If Fassell goes 4-12 then we give him a 2nd year.

    But Fassell will not put out players on the field that aren’t prepared to play like Cable did.

  • SnB offense defense specialteams

    Fassell will also run a real training camp and practice plays until the team gets it right.

    Cable’s “Club Med” training camp was a DISASTER.

    Cable’s insistence on playing Russell over Gradkowski or Frye despite Russell being overweight, lacking knowledge of the playbook, missing passes and being indifferent should get Cable fired alone!

    At least Fassell knows how to coach QBs. With Fassell and Losman together…the offense will improve.

  • SnB offense defense specialteams

    Fire Cable!

  • 4evaRaider

    SnB…. A 4-12 record is the same number of losses no matter if its either Fassell or Cable and it dosent matter ones style,they would both have the same record of 4-12.One is NOT better than the other.They both suck exactly the same.

  • 4evaRaider

    I think our biggest problem is the revolving door policy of head coaches and the players trying to learn a diff, system year in and year out.When that ball is snapped its 100 mph out there and with all the system changes,any player can get confused at 100 mph.

    So to stop the Ball-O-Confusion,I say no matter Cables record we must give him 1 more year,at least.Everybody says Cowher blah blah blah,well he didnt win it all for 12 years I think it was.12 YEARS.We will never win with all coaching carousel,imo.I hope Al finally see’s this