A few days ago, our friend—enemy?—at BroncoTalk.net invited Raider Take to answer five questions regarding the Oakland Raiders. Click here to read the Q&A.
Now it’s our turn. Below are questions posed by Raider Take commentators, followed by answers from Kyle at BroncoTalk.net. Consider it a partisan scouting report for today’s game.
As they say, keep your friends close, and your enemies closer. Despite our mutual antipathy, this exchange reveals that rivals can still talk Xs and Os.
However, I still think that Mike Shanahan is Charles Manson’s lost sibling, that the Broncos’ uniforms are utterly shameful and that the Raiders are the only team to win the AFC West three times in this decade, the only team in the AFC West to reach the AFC Championships twice in this decade, and the only team in the AFC West to advance to the Super Bowl in this decade.
From H: Even though the Broncos won last week’s game and outplayed the Bills, they appeared to struggle getting the ball into the end zone. What do you feel is the main reason for this, and do you see it as a long-term problem?
I'll start this response by giving this quick nugget/stat - the Broncos made it to the AFC Championship Game in 2005. Now it's less than two years later, and we only have six of those 22 starters. All of these new components over the last few seasons, as well as the release of some of our veteran leaders (especially Al Wilson) has to have some impact on the team. Give it time, and I believe this team will "gel" in the red zone.
And also, we had this problem last year as well, and have yet to fix it. Hopefully a little more time will.
From BlandaRocked: The Broncos seemed to suffer a deterioration of both their offensive and defensive lines in the preseason. There seemed to be a lot of concern about that in the media. Do you feel that the lines are now set, or do you feel they are going through a rebuilding process?
I think the defensive line gave us more cause for concern than the O-line. I'm a huge Montrae Holland fan, our right guard, one of the less talked about moves in free agency but whom I believe could be a Pro Bowler from the footage I've seen so far. I think our offensive line is the best it has been in years, and remarkably Tom Nalen still isn't showing his age.
I'm less sold on our defensive line, particularly in run support, although I think the addition of Simeon Rice (combined with Elvis Dumervil and our two draft picks) could pay us huge dividends in the pass rush, something we've lacked over the past several seasons.
From Anonymous and JanFran: How do the fans view Jay Cutler and do they believe he is the one to get them back to the Super Bowl? Is there concern that he started too soon?
I am one of the few Jake Plummer fans out there. I loved the guy and hated to see him go to Tampa. That being said, I was still calling for his neck after we lost the San Diego game last year (many non-Broncos fans forget both the Broncos and Chargers were tied 7-2 at that point, and that the Broncos had a 17 point lead late in the third quarter). He just wasn't playing at his level last year, and the move needed to be made.
Jay Cutler has definitely shown me enough to believe we'll win at least a few rings during his career. You hear the other players after the game talk in their pressers, guys like Travis Henry and Javon Walker, who talked about Cutler's poise in the huddle and showing real leadership when the team was down in the final minutes. That kind of confidence, and sheer talent that he has, definitely has all Broncos fans (including myself) thinking Super Bowl.
From Bama7: Do you think Shanahan remains the coach, in spite of his playoff futility since Elway, primarily because of how well he has done against Oakland? Do you think Shanahan's job would be in jeopardy if he ever missed the playoffs AND lost both games in a season to Oakland (tall order these days, I know)?
Shanahan has the best record of any coach in the last 10 or so years. And he hasn't had the franchise quarterback to build around until now. His record against Oakland has little to do with him remaining our coach, and if he were to lose to Oakland 10 times in a row I doubt his job would be in jeopardy solely based on that.
From RaiderGreg: Do Broncos fans think the Raiders will be a factor in the AFC West this season? Why or why not?
I can't speak for all fans, but I do. I think they'll finish above the Chiefs this year, and if they can put up a better defensive effort than they did last week I believe they will finish with between 6 and 8 wins. I think they could surprise a few good teams and steal a win or two from a playoff caliber team (like the Chargers!). Starting Week 3, of course.
Thanks, Kyle at BroncoTalk.net, see you in Oakland in a few months.