Oakland Raiders vs Denver Broncos: Five Keys for Raiders Success-Updated
John Doublin – Nov 5, 2011Following a bye week in which the Oakland Raiders added T.J. Houshmandzadeh and Lito Sheppard, Tim Tebow and the Denver Broncos come to O.co Coliseum looking to avenge their week one loss to the Raiders. Oakland will be attempting to integrate their new quarterback Carson Palmer and return to their winning ways.
Can the Raiders win with this new lineup? Will the Broncos shock the world and beat the favored Raiders? Is this Tebow's last chance to prove he can be a legitimate NFL quarterback? Who are the Raider players that need to pick their game up? Can the Raiders be the "bully" head coach Hue Jackson has promised the Raider Nation?
All questions to be answered on Sunday afternoon, but here are five critical keys for the Raiders to have success.
1. Keep Tebow in the pocket.
The simple, yet harsh truth is that Tim Tebow is a runner, more than he is a true quarterback. The Raiders need to remember this on Sunday. The only real chance the Broncos have a beating the more talented Raiders is for Tebow to use his legs.
Richard Seymour and the Oakland defensive line have a few things to do in order to prevent Tebow from using his legs to beat them.
Defensive ends Lamarr Houston and Jarvis Moss have to be careful about "over-rushing." They cannot run past Tebow's set-up point. Getting beyond the pocket will open up running lanes through which Tebow can escape.
Seymour and the interior linemen need to apply pressure up the middle as well. Getting pressure in the face of Tebow will be very effective in forcing panic and bad throws from the Broncos' quarterback.
Assuming the defensive ends don't over-rush and the tackles can force pressure in his face, Tebow will have no where to runâ€”and he will make mistakes. Then the secondary can have a big day.
Update: Tebow rushed for 117 yards. FAIL!
2. Stop the run.
When these teams met in week one, the Raiders held the Broncos' running backs to just 25 rushing yards on 12 attempts. Quarterback Kyle Orton added 13 of his own to push the Broncos' total to just 38 yards on 13 carries, (2.92 ypc).
This may be the most critical thing for the Raiders to do. Stopping the run puts the onus on Tebow to beat you with his armâ€”a feat he has proven time and time again that he cannot do.
Add Tebow's inability to make all the "NFL Throws" with the fact that Denver has no legitimate threat at wide receiverâ€”Eddie Royal is okay, but he's not a real number one guyâ€”and forcing Tebow to beat you is the best strategy.
Update: The Broncos rushed for 298 yards. FAIL!
3. Pound the rock!
On opening day, the Raiders torched the Broncos' defense for 190 rushing yardsâ€”150 of which came from Darren McFadden. With McFadden listed as out, the Raiders will be relying on Michael Bush and rookie Taiwan Jones to carry the load.
With that said, there is no reason to think that Bush and Jones can't rack up a ton of yards on the Broncos' 17th ranked rushing defense.
The main reason the Raiders should be run-heavy this week is to keep the pressure off of Carson Palmer. He's only had three weeks with the team and the chemistry and timing are likely to be a bit shaky still.
Running the ball is the way to go.
Palmer attempted 35 passes, Bush only got 19 carries. FAIL!
4. Continue great special teams play.
One advantage the Raiders have over every team in the league is special teams. They've blocked more kicks, gotten returns for touchdowns, only allowed one return touchdown and they have the best kicker and punter in the league.
Sebastian Janikowski is listed as "questionable" but reports are saying that he kicked on Friday and "looks good" for Sunday.
As long as Jacoby Ford and Denarius Moore can continue their great return play, and the coverage team is solid, the Raiders have the ability to control the field position and put points on the board.
Update: The Raiders gave up a return touchdown that sealed the game. FAIL!
5. Control emotions.
The Raiders have the reputation as a penalty-prone team and the Broncos will try to use that against them. In their first meeting, the Bronco players were constantly starting fights and mouthing off in an attempt to incite the Raiders' players into doing something stupidâ€”and it worked.
Oakland was penalized 15 times for 131 yards. A lot of these penalties were personal fouls that were retaliation to the Bronco players taunting and egging the Raiders on. The best way to counter-act this is to simply "rise above."
Let them talk, let them try, but don't give them the satisfaction of drawing a flag. Basically, the Raiders are heavily favored at home and the Broncos will resort to any means necessary to win this gameâ€”including "psychological warfare." The Raiders cannot allow this sophomoric tactic to succeed this Sunday afternoon!
Update: Oakland committed 15 penalties for 130 yards and SIX first downs. FAIL!
Contain Tebow in the pocket, stop the run-forcing Tebow to beat you with his arm, run the ball consistently, play solid on special teams to control the field position and don't let the Broncos bait you into stupid penalties. Those are the major keys for Oakland to come away from week nine with a much needed victory.
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