Oakland Raiders: Storylines vs. Denver Broncos
Bret Armstrong – Nov 5, 2011Much like last season, this season has been an up and down one for the Oakland Raiders. Coach Hue Jackson has expressed to his team that he is not satisfied with the results of the team's first seven games this season.
Following a shutout loss to the rival Kansas City Chiefs and a bye week where players can tend to get lazy, it will be on the shoulders of Jackson to get his team amped up to play in front of their fifth consecutive sellout crowd on Sunday.
Bush sprinkled with Jones
For Michael Bush, life in the NFL has not been quite what he expected. It's been stated time and again how Bush could be a number one guy for just about any team in the league. He may have that opportunity next year, but in 2011 he still remains parked on the sidelines most of the game behind the impressive Darren McFadden.
That is until McFadden goes out with an injury, which tends to happen for stretches during the regular season. If McFadden can't go on Sunday it will be the 11th missed game of his career. Most likely, Coach Jackson will hold him out in hopes he can be healthy when they play the San Diego Chargers to open NFL Network's Thursday Night Football just five days from Sunday.
Anybody that has watched Michael Bush in McFadden's previous absences knows there is no reason to be nervous. Bush is just as capable of busting a big one as McFadden is. The biggest difference is that Bush can be caught from behind and more recently he has been getting caught.
Worst in the West
Right now there are three teams tied for the lead in the AFC West. The Kansas City Chiefs hold a slight advantage over their rivals because of their in-division wins over the Chargers and the Raiders. The only team that is not in the mix is the Denver Broncos.
Coach Jackson, however, shed a different light on the Donkeys when he said that they "finish plays" and have one of the best defenses the Raiders will play this year. It's certainly kosher to say that all of your opponents are better than they are, so to put it in perspective from an outsiders point of view: Denver Stinks.
This should be a great bounce back game for the Raiders at the O.co. If the Raiders were ever going to follow being shutout against a divisional opponent with a shutout of their own against another division rival, this would be that opportunity.
There is no way the Raiders should lose this game, but if they somehow do they can expect this to be their last sellout of the season.
Palmer to Houshmandzadeh
Although Carson Palmer and T.J. Houshmandzadeh have a decade of experience throwing and catching together, Sunday will mark their first time on the field together in a Raiders uniform. Word on the street is that T.J. is going to get most of his action on third down situations, which should really help a veteran quarterback making his first start of 2011.
"He's an excellent route runner and he catches the ball really well," said offensive coordinator Al Saunders of Houshmandzadeh. "I think it gives Carson another familiar person -- someone who knows you and someone you feel comfortable with is a real advantage. He gives us one more dimension to Carson's game that I think will help him in the short-term and in the long-term.'
Of course anything the Raiders can do to make their three-week relationship with Palmer a more effective one come Sunday is going to be an advantage to them. Coming into the season, the future was looking bleak for both of these players, but on Sunday they have a chance to start on the journey of reestablishing themselves as one of the NFL's elite connections.
Putting the Bow on Tebow
Denver Broncos' Head Coach John Fox has made it perfectly clear to Tim Tebow that they need more than what he has given them this season. On Sunday, the Raiders defense will do everything they can to make sure that Tebow does more of the same.
In reference to wrapping up Tebow's career as a Denver Bronco, Coach Jackson spoke of Tebow Friday afternoon. "The guy has talent," said Jackson. "I've never questioned that, you know, he can throw, he can run and he is on the opposing team so we have to do everything we can to get him under control. He is a runner with the ball, a thrower with the ball, they use his legs, they use his arm and they have other good runners. We have a big task in front of us."
The Raiders biggest concern when defending Tebow should be keeping him contained in the pocket and not letting him squirt out of there to get up the field for big gains with his legs. This is a guy that is more likely to get the best of you with his feet than with his arm.
That make him especially dangerous when theÂ Broncos get into the red zone.
"The way we prepare is worry about what we do," said defensive coordinator Chuck Bresnahan. "But because he brings a whole different level in the run game...you have to prepare for that."
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