When the Raiders look at the Denver Broncos these days, they feel as if they are looking at old the Indianapolis Colts.
Quarterback Peyton Manning is playing himself, with linebackers Von Miller and Elvis Dumervil playing the roles of Dwight Freeney and Robert Mathis.
The Raiders admit that it really doesn’t matter how much time anyone has to prepare for Manning. He’s going to be a handful, no matter what. Game-planning for Miller and Dumervil isn’t any easier, especially on a short week.
“Yeah, they’re pretty good, man,” Raiders right offensive tackle Khalif Barnes said. “They’re kind of like the old Indy. Peyton’s older, with a Mathis and Freeney type of deal.
“Von can rush, he can drop back and cover, and Elvis does a good job coming off the edge, too. They do well in their scheme. They do very good at what they do. So, pass blocking those guys is going to be key.”
Miller and Dumervil combined for 23 of the Broncos 38 sacks the first 12 games. Barnes and left offensive tackle Jared Veldheer figure to see the dynamic duo most often, though left guard Cooper Carlisle said the Broncos do some things to free up their best playmakers.
“They’re both a handful,” Carlisle said, “and they both kind of present different problems.”
To that end, Raiders offensive coordinator Greg Knapp said it’s incumbent upon him to devise ways to help keep Dumervil and Miller from teeing off on quarterback Carson Palmer. The best way is to keep in extra blockers.
“The more things you can show them, the more it helps,” Carlisle said. “At the same time, there’s times where you’re going to have to do it on your own.”
– Running backs coach Kelly Skipper said running back Darren McFadden looked sharp in practice Tuesday.
“You could see him cutting, you could see him bursting off the foot,” Skipper said. “You wouldn’t have noticed today that he had been injured.”
Skipper’s glowing report is consistent with coach Dennis Allen’s expectation of McFadden playing Thursday night for the time in five games.
For his part, McFadden said he is awaiting word from the team’s athletic trainers on whether his high-ankle sprain is healed well enough for him to play in a game.
“As long as they say I’m good to go, I’m going to sign off on it,” McFadden said.
– Safeties Matt Giordano and Mike Mitchell passed the league-mandated tests for players that suffer concussions. Therefore, they are cleared to play Thursday night.
Backup cornerback and punt returner Phillip Adams missed practice as a result of the concussion he suffered against the Cleveland Browns on Sunday, the same game in which Giordano and Mitchell were concussed. He is questionable for the Broncos game.
– Knapp assumed the lead role at practice Tuesday as Allen remains in Texas, where Allen’s father Grady passed away Monday night.
Allen is expected to rejoin the Raiders on Wednesday night and coach his team against the Broncos.
Allen spent last season as the Broncos defensive coordinator, working under coach John Fox. During that time, Fox and the other Broncos coaches and players got a chance to meet Grady Allen.
Fox said Allen’s father’s passing puts things in perspective, with football taking its proper place in the background. He added that he texted Allen to pass along his condolences and to let him know he is thinking about him during this trying time.
“Well, No. 1, first and foremost is, he’s in the right place,” Fox said. “Sometimes we get a little caught up in what we do for a living and those types of things. But if that was something he would have asked me, I would have said you need to be with your family.”
– Defensive tackle Richard Seymour (hamstring) missed practice once again. It seems almost certain that he won’t play Thursday night after missing the past four games.
Wide receiver Juron Criner (shoulder), tight end Brandon Myers (shoulder) and Barnes (triceps) were added to the injury report. All three were limited in practice Tuesday.
– The Raiders signed fullback/running back Jamize Olawale from the Dallas Cowboys practice squad and placed him on their 53-man roster.
Olawale fills the void on the active roster created by the two-game suspension of middle linebacker Rolando McClain, who is eligible to return Dec. 10.
Olawale is an undrafted rookie out of North Texas. He played for De La Salle High School his sophomore season before transferring to Long Beach Poly.