The reeling Las Vegas Raiders (two consecutive losses and a departed coach) and slumping Broncos (merely two consecutive losses) meet Sunday at 2:25 p.m. Here are three storylines for Week 6:
1. Raiders’ new play-caller
Coach/offensive play-caller Jon Gruden resigned in disgrace Monday night after more emails revealed a pattern of improper language in emails. Expected to replace him directing the Raiders’ offense is long-time NFL coordinator Greg Olson. The Raiders rank 13th in yards (377.0), fourth in passing (298.4; Derek Carr is second in passing yards), 29th in rushing (78.6) and 19th in scoring (22.6). This will be Olson’s first play-calling game since being fired by Jacksonville midway through the 2016 season. The last meeting between Olson and Broncos coach Vic Fangio was in October ’16 when Olson’s Jaguars rallied from a 13-0 deficit to beat Fangio’s Chicago Bears 17-16.
2. Slow Start Bowl
Add rush defense to the growing list of Broncos’ problems during two-game losing streak
Broncos Mailbag: How will return of CB Ronald Darby impact Kyle Fuller’s playing time?
Keeler: Broncos need to steal page from Steelers’ book. It’s Raiders Week. Play like you care. Coach like you care.
Broncos Fifth Quarter: Missed opportunities inside Steelers’ 10-yard line on final drive
Amid offensive slump, Broncos coach Vic Fangio has “no qualms” with play-caller Pat Shurmur
Don’t expect opening quarter fireworks. Hard to believe, Las Vegas’ offense has started games slower than the Broncos. The Raiders’ eight first-quarter points (two field goals and a safety) are 31st in the NFL (the Jets have none) and they have a minus-20 point differential. By comparison, the Broncos’ 13 first-quarter points are 25th, but they have only a minus-1 point differential. The Raiders haven’t scored an opening-drive touchdown in 11 consecutive games dating back to last year. The Broncos have scored only 12 opening-drive points (no touchdowns) in 21 games under offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur.
3. Secondary on alert
In Week 1, the Broncos used rookie cornerback Pat Surtain II to cover New York Giants tight end Kyle Rudolph. If cornerback Ronald Darby (hamstring) returns to face Las Vegas, assigning Surtain to tight end Darren Waller (team-high 319 receiving yards and tied for team lead with 28 catches and two touchdowns) makes sense because of Waller’s ability to line up all over the formation. But the Broncos need to keep tabs on the terrific Hunter Renfrow (28 catches-305 yards-two TDs) and second-year speedster Henry Ruggs III (20.5 yards per catch). The Broncos’ defense was gouged by Pittsburgh for completions of 20, 22, 50 and 59 …read more
Source:: The Denver Post – Sports
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