Raiders vs. Broncos: Matchups to watch


Raiders vs. Broncos: Matchups to watch

Sept. 9, 2011


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Paul Gutierrez

ALAMEDA -- Bittersweet does not begin to describe the Raiders' lot in 2010. They went unbeaten at 6-0 in the AFC West, yet just 2-8 outside of the division and did not qualify for the playoffs.

Heading into 2011, Oakland returns to the site of its greatest and most satisfying triumph, and on the biggest regular season stage in the game. Memories of the Raiders' 59-14 blowout of the Broncos last Oct. 24 in Denver still fresh in everyone's minds, the two play the final game of opening weekend on Monday Night Football.

In the wake of the NFL lockout -- both teams have new head coaches -- questions abound. A look, then, at some key matchups to watch Monday night:
Matchup to watch
Raiders right tackle Khalif Barnes (69) vs. Broncos defensive end Elvis Dumervil (92)

Barnes: 6-5, 325, Washington, seventh season
Dumervil: 5-11, 260, Louisville, fifth season

Two years ago, Dumervil led the NFL with 17 sacks. But he missed all of last season after tearing a pectoral muscle in training camp.

Barnes beat out rookie Joe Barksdale to win the right tackle position but had a rough go of it in the preseason with four false start penalties, three in the exhibition opener against Arizona.

So while Dumervill might actually line up more often across from Raiders left tackle Jared Veldheer, Barnes will see more than his fair share of Dumervil in the Broncos' hybrid scheme, especially with sack-happy rookie linebacker Von Miller poised to create chaos from different parts of the field. And what makes the matchup all the more intriguing is combined experience and the size differential between the two.

Barnes may have a six-inch height advantage and weigh 65 pounds more, but Dumervil is much sleeker and faster. Plus, his lower center of gravity is an inherent advantage.

"He has natural leverage, good leverage to the ground already because of his size," Barnes said. "Good anchor and he plays (the) pass very well. And the rookie Von Miller, he has a little juice off the edge, too. So they've got two good pass rushers and me and Jared are going to have to be on our game that night.

"We have to bend to get down there. Those guys are already out-leveraging us naturally. So we're going to have to work to get up under their pads."

Broncos' first-year coach John Fox was asked to compare Dumervil to other players.

"(Dwight) Freeney coming out was looked at as undersized," Fox said. "Looking back, Jevon Kearse, when they first started in the 4-3 (defense was) a little bit smaller end. You used to have to be 6-5, 280 to play end in the National Football League. Just like your inside 'backers used to be real big guys. The game has gotten faster and with that speed, has become a little bit smaller.

"The thing that Elvis has is very long arms, which I think kind of off-sets his height."

Other matchups worth watching:

Hue Jackson vs. John Fox - A relatively young rookie coach who's never been a head coach at any level but is known for his offensive acumen in Jackson makes his debut on the Monday Night Football stage. Against a veteran, defensive-minded first-year coach who once worked for the Raiders in Fox, under those same primetime lights.

Opposites attract, and then some.

Jackson joined Mike Shanahan this preseason as the only Raiders coaches to go 0-4 in exhibitions but he was hamstrung by injuries. Now?

"I'm even more confident," Jackson said. "I have all my toys back, all my players are back. We're ready to play."

Fox, the Raiders' defensive coordinator in 1994 and 1995, was Carolina's head coach from 2002 through 2010.

"I hired John Fox," Raiders owner Al Davis reminded the gathering at Jackson's introductory media conference in January. "He was two years the coordinator here andafter failing in Carolina, he's the head coach in Denver."

Who blinks first in their respective debut?

Raiders vs. overconfidence - It's human nature, right? After all, the last time the Raiders visited Denver, they dropped a record 59 points on the Broncos. In three quarters, before taking the foot off the gas.

Darren McFadden had a career day with a career-high 165 yards rushing and four touchdowns, including three on the ground, while Sebastian Janikowski had eight touchbacks.

And then in the second meeting of the season, in Oakland, the Raiders won again, 39-23, to sweep the season series, 98-37, the largest single-season home-and-home differential in division play since the 1970 NFL-AFL merger.

So surely it must be in the back of the Raiders' heads that this will be another walk in the Mile High air, no?

Well, the players are saying al the right things. That last year was last year, and it doesn't matter what happened then, and this is a new year and yada, yada, yada.

We'll see how much they truly believe it.

PFWA names Raiders GM Reggie McKenzie Executive of the Year

PFWA names Raiders GM Reggie McKenzie Executive of the Year

Oakland Raiders general manager Reggie McKenzie was named NFL Executive of the Year, the Pro Football Writers of America announced Thursday.

McKenzie joins Al Davis, who was named Executive of the Year in 2002, as Raiders who have earned the PFWA honor, which was established in 1993.

In 2016, McKenzie’s fifth year as General Manager, the Raiders posted a 12-4 record and advanced to the postseason for the first time since the 2002 campaign. The Raiders had an NFL-high seven Pro Bowl selections, had two players earn first-team All-Pro recognition and DE Khalil Mack was named the PFWA Defensive Player of the Year.

Since being named General Manager by Owner Mark Davis in 2012, four Raiders draft picks have gone on to receive Pro Bowl selections. Mack, the Raiders’ first-round pick in 2014, earned his second straight Pro Bowl nod, while QB Derek Carr, the team’s second-round selection that year, emerged as a Most Valuable Player candidate and has received Pro Bowl invitations in each of the last two seasons. WR Amari Cooper, the team’s first-round pick in 2015, has also earned two Pro Bowl selections after beginning his career with consecutive 1,000-yard receiving campaigns. RB Latavius Murray, a sixth-round pick in 2013, earned a Pro Bowl bid in 2015 and was named an alternate this year.

In addition, 10 players drafted by the Raiders in the fourth round or later since 2013 have started multiple games for the team and six different draft picks have earned All-Rookie honors.

Last offseason, the Raiders signed LB Bruce Irvin, S Reggie Nelson, G/T Kelechi Osemele and CB Sean Smith, securing four of the “top 25 available free agents” according to All seven of the team’s draft picks saw significant action during the season and first-round selection S Karl Joseph was named to the PFWA All-Rookie Team. A remarkable seven undrafted free agents, acquired by the Raiders in the weeks following the 2016 NFL Draft, finished the season on the team’s active roster.  

Oakland Raiders media services

Oakland Raiders officially apply for relocation to Las Vegas

Oakland Raiders officially apply for relocation to Las Vegas

The Oakland Raiders have applied for relocation to Las Vegas.

The long expected news was announced on Thursday morning by Clark County Commission chairman Steve Sisolak.

The NFL issues the following statement shortly after the news:

     Today, the Oakland Raiders submitted an application to relocate their franchise to Las Vegas, as is provided for under the NFL Policy and Procedures for Proposed Franchise Relocations.

     The application will be reviewed in the coming weeks by league staff and the Stadium and Finance Committees. The relocation of a franchise requires the affirmative vote of three-quarters of the NFL clubs (24 of 32).  

Raiders owner Mark Davis said on several occasions he was committed to moving his franchise to Las Vegas, especially after the Nevada state legislature approved $750 million in public funds for a $1.9 billion stadium project near the Las Vegas Strip.

The Raiders had to wait until after their season ended – the Raiders lost their playoff opener at Houston on Jan. 7 – to apply for relocation.

Their formal application has been submitted to the NFL, and must be approved by 24 owners. A vote could come in late March, at the spring NFL owners meetings.

More to come...