5 Broncos to Watch vs. Oakland

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Sep 14, 2014; Denver, CO, USA; Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver Frankie Hammond (85) is tackled during a return by Denver Broncos linebacker Steven Johnson (53) and cornerback Kayvon Webster (36) in the first quarter at Sports Authority Field at Mile High. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

The injuries have hit the Broncos linebackers at this point in the season.

Middle linebacker Danny Trevathan has missed most of the season and been replaced by Brandon Marshall.

Now Nate Irving is out and Johnson is “the next man up.” Interesting note: There will be three starters from the University of Kansas on the field against the Raiders (Johnson, Aqib Talib and Chris Harris).

What impact will Johnson have on the defense?

Will he play as well as Marshall has or even better?

These are the instances that show people if a team can overcome the injuries and what kind of depth it has. Denver needs Johnson to match or exceed how Irving has played.

Keep an eye on his confidence. If it’s high, he should play well.

If it’s low, he will look lost, which will be a bad sign.