Raiders quarterback Terrelle Pryor (2) reacts in the first quarter against the Jacksonville Jaguars at O.co Coliseum. (Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports)

Inside The Villain's Venue: Denver Broncos vs. Oakland Raiders

 

For this week’s edition of Inside the Villain’s Venue, we reached out to Just Blog Baby editor Shane Schilperoot, who helps run the best Radiers’ site out there. Did I say “best” and “Raiders” in the same sentence? Ugh! Anyway, Shane was kind enough to talk about the Raiders’ rushing attack, Terrell Pryor, and former Broncos defensive coordinator Dennis Allen among other things.

Let’s go Inside the Villain’s Venue with Just Blog Baby.

1. The Raiders lead the league in rushing while the Broncos lead in rush defense. Who wins that battle on Monday night?

It will come down to who the Denver Broncos zero in on.  If the focus is going to be on Terrelle Pryor, then Darren McFadden will get his yards.  If the focus is on McFadden, look for Pryor to beat the Broncos with his legs.  Either way, Pryor is going to use his elusiveness to try and extend passing plays, and this will create matchup problems for the Broncos defense.  The Broncos are going to be a true test for the Oakland Raiders.  There are a lot of weapons in favor of the Raiders, and McFadden usually has a pretty good game against the Broncos.

2. Is Terrell Pryor the quarterback if the future? Tell us about some of his strengths/weaknesses.

I was not sold on Terrelle Pryor initially, but as I watch him progress and study and work hard, I see a leader being born.  I really like the set of skills that he brings to the table, and his maturity level is beginning to grow every day.  He is a student in the film room, and this will increase his chances for success in the NFL.  I would like to say he is the quarterback of the future, but it’s going to come down to whether or not he can lead this team to a winning record this year.  I’m not sure that Head Coach Dennis Allen is completely sold on Pryor yet, but it appears that General Manager Reggie McKenzie and Team Owner Mark Davis are.  His strengths:  He is elusive, fast, and he secures the ball when he runs.  He has the strength to over-power a lot of DB’s and S’s.  His passing accuracy is improving, and it should get better when he learns to progress through his reads quicker.  His weaknesses:  He still acts like a befuddled rookie at times, and this causes errant passes to find the opposing team.  He will face a huge challenge against a very good Denver Broncos secondary.

3. The Raiders took a hit when safety Tyvon Branch injured his ankle last week. How much does this impact the Raiders’ secondary?

Unfortunately, Tyvon Branch fractured his Fibula.  This is going to keep him out of the lineup for a minimum of 4-6 weeks.  It is a huge loss, but there are pieces in place who can fill in for the time being.  S-Usama Young is an impressive athlete who is a 7 year veteran, and he has played on winning teams in the past.  He is one of the leaders on the team, and he will compliment FS-Charles Woodson moving forward.  S-Brandian Ross was a great addition to the Raiders in 2012.  He is versatile, and he can be utilized as a safety and nickel corner.  In college, Ross played defensive back for 3 years before converting to safety.  Both are fast and can blitz the edge to get to the quarterback.  Look for Defensive Coordinator Jason Tarver to disguise blitzes, fake blitzes, etc…, in order to keep Peyton Manning on his toes.  Make no mistake, Branch’s hard hitting will be missed, but the Raiders are becoming a better secondary under the tutelage of Charles Woodson.  It will be a test to keep the big plays at bay, but I feel like the Raiders have a real chance to thwart the powerful offense that is the Denver Broncos.

4. The Raiders have yet to force a turnover this season. That’s kind of surprising coming from a Dennis Allen coached team. Having coached the team for over a year now, what’s the general consensus on Allen among fans?

Well Kim, it’s still up in the air, and there are a lot of mixed emotions.  The debacle that was the Greg Knapp offense in 2012 did not help Head Coach Dennis Allen’s status among the fans.  A lot of fans see him as a scared little boy who is caught at the end of the puppet masters strings.  The puppet master would then be Reggie McKenzie.  However, I take a different approach, a more optimistic approach to my view of Allen.  He’s young.  He’s my age, and it’s a lot of responsibility for a first time head coach.  He took over a team that was, let’s face it, in the dungeon of the NFL.

The team hasn’t had a winning record since the 2002 season.  Under two different coaches (Tom Cable and Hue Jackson) the Raiders had back to back 8-8 seasons in 2010 and 2011.  Disagreements between Cable and Al Davis got Cable fired.  The Hue Jackson era was cut short by the death of Al Davis and the ushering in of the McKenzie era.

Now, Dennis Allen must pick the pieces up and find a way to win without the big name players, without a lot of money to purchase notable talent, without a lot of draft picks, etc…  Yet, he has formed a very good and tough coaching staff.  The coaching staff believes in what Allen is preaching.  The players are buying into the scheme and the direction that Raiders are headed.  The players believe in Allen, and that, to me, speaks volumes for what he has been able to accomplish this year.  Remember, Coach Allen has a very good football lineage that has grown from his time in college and into the pro’s.  He has been an assistant under one of the best coaches in this current era, New Orleans Saints Coach Sean Payton, and he was the Defensive Coordinator under Head Coach John Fox in Denver.  No doubt, I believe in Coach Allen.  I won’t always agree with his decisions, but I like the direction the Raiders are headed, and I believe the fans will too.

5. Finally, your prediction for the game.

I believe that this is going to be a very hard fought defensive battle.  I know that the Denver Broncos are an explosive offensive team, but they will be facing one of the top pass rushing defenses in the Oakland Raiders.  Furthermore, the Raiders defense is very good at keeping things in front of them, and they swarm to the ball carrier.  They haven’t allowed too many big plays in the past two games.  This game is going to be won in the trenches between the offensive line of the Denver Broncos and the defensive line of the Oakland Raiders.  One of them will fold on a couple plays, and that will make for a big play or two.  I believe that the Raiders will get at least two turnovers in this game, and it will set up Terrelle Pryor to give the Raiders the edge in this game.  I predict an upset, with an approximate score of 27-24 in favor of the Raiders.  Yes, I believe that Sebastian Janikowski will kick the game winner, and he may even do it from 50+ yards.

If you’d like to see our answers to the Q&A Just Blog Baby had for us, head over there, you know to the dark side.

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Tags: Denver Broncos Monday Night Oakland Raiders Terrelle Pryor

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