Broncos vs. Raiders: Five questions about Oakland

DENVER, CO - OCTOBER 1: Running back Marshawn Lynch #24 of the Oakland Raiders rushes against the Denver Broncos int he first quarter of a game at Sports Authority Field at Mile High on October 1, 2017 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Dustin Bradford/Getty Images)
DENVER, CO - OCTOBER 1: Running back Marshawn Lynch #24 of the Oakland Raiders rushes against the Denver Broncos int he first quarter of a game at Sports Authority Field at Mile High on October 1, 2017 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Dustin Bradford/Getty Images) /

The Denver Broncos welcome their AFC West rivals the Oakland Raiders this week. I sat down with Brad Weiss from Just Blog Baby and get his takes on Oakland.

The first AFC West rival comes to Denver for an early season matchup. The Denver Broncos welcome the Oakland Raiders for their first divisional matchup of the 2018 season. Both teams split the season series last season.

Denver got a hard-fought win at home while Oakland came away with a seven-point victory later in the season.

This rivalry dates to the old AFL times. And it continues to grow. However, it has not been much of a rivalry as of late. The Broncos have won ten of the last thirteen meetings. A certain future Hall of Fame quarterback might have played a big part in that. Oakland has made things interesting in the last three years.

Seeing how both teams in their season openers, it would appear as if the Denver Broncos have the edge. But when it comes to divisional rivals, anything can happen. It should be a fun game.

With that said, it is time for another segment of Behind Enemy Lines. This week, I have Brad Weiss from Just Blog Baby, which is the Oakland Raiders FanSided site.

I asked him a few questions about the Oakland Raiders as well as what he believes will happen on Sunday.

The Raiders have brought back Jon Gruden as their head coach. What do you believe he can bring to the team after being out of the NFL for so long?

One of the key weaknesses during the Raiders six-win season a year ago was their coaching, as the team looked out-schemed every single week. The one thing Gruden can bring to the Raiders is preparation and a good game plan, which we saw during the first half of their loss on Monday night against the Los Angeles Rams.

Monday was game one of a possible 10-year relationship, and the Raiders were tied with the Rams with under three minutes left in the third quarterback. They had a better game plan than we have seen from the team in a long time, and as the season wears on, the team will continue to get comfortable with what Gruden is trying to do.

The biggest offseason move was that the team traded Khalil Mack to the Chicago Bears. In your opinion, was there a reason that Oakland did not make any attempt to hold on to him? Was it more Mack not showing up? And how much will that impact the Raiders defense?

All summer long the team talked about bringing Mack back, though there was really no dialogue between the two sides. Gruden told Lisa Salters leading up to Monday Night Football that Mack did not want to be there, and did not expect him to be back, so they had to make the move to trade him.

We saw on Monday night the effect not having Mack has on this defense, as the Raiders had only five pressures the entire game. They got no push up front, and him leaving is really a shame because the Raiders did bring in talent at defensive tackle to help take the pressure off him this season. With the current personnel, the Raiders have to find a way to get some kind of pass rush, or it will be a long season.

The Raiders lost their season opener to the Rams on Monday. What is something that you hope the team can improve on for next week?

The Raiders need to do two things if they hope to turn this thing around, and they better do them in a hurry. First, the pass rush, as we mentioned earlier they got absolutely none against the Rams. They tried to bring in different people, and move guys to the edge during the game, but nothing seemed to work.

The second is Derek Carr needs to be better, and they have to take shots downfield. Carr did not resemble the guy who nearly won an MVP two years ago, and looked jittery in the pocket. That led to many short throws, leading to a big night from tight end Jared Cook, but only three combined catches from Amari Cooper and Jordy Nelson.

The Raiders travel to Denver to play the Broncos on Sunday. What is going to be the key to getting a win in what has been known as a tough place to play?

The Broncos have beaten the Raiders ten times in the last 13 times they have played, so it has been a tough ride no matter where they play. In order to beat the Broncos, they are going to have to get pressure on Case Keenum, who, as we saw last week, does have a tendency to turn the ball over.

Denver has a great pass rush, so it will be interesting to see how the Raiders combat that for the second straight week. Carr and the offense has to take shots down field, because if they continue to dink and dunk, they are going to have a hard time moving the ball against the Broncos on Sunday.

dark. Next. Interview with Laurie Lattimore-Volkmann

Is there anyone in Oakland that is not well known that could have an impact on Sunday’s game?

Keep an eye on rookie defensive end Arden Key, who looked like an absolute monster for the team during the summer. He led the Raiders with two pressure on Monday night, and as he continues to get his feet wet in the NFL, Raider Nation feels he can be a double-digit sack guy very soon.

Thank you Brad for taking the time to chat with me. If you want to see the questions he asked me ahead of the game, you can check it out here. You can also see what they are up while you are there.