In another fantastic installment of MHR's Ultimate Fan Guide, OrangeandBluesBros gives some great Broncos history while also providing more than one potential chuckle. And if you're looking for possibly the best fan experience in the history of awesome fan experiences, just keep scrolling. It involves Floyd Little, the Raiders and the Old Mile High.
Denver v. Oakland
MHR - What would be your takeaways from the disheartening loss to New England on Sunday?
- The Broncos and Patriots are tied in the loss column.
- The Patriots hold an edge in head-to-butt competition for any tie-breakers, but it may not matter because the Broncos will be in the AFC Championship game and the Patriots may not make it that far. I expect an AFC North team to smashmouth the Pats out of the playoffs. In fact, the Pats have had it way too easy for way too long in the AFC East. They should have Baltimore in their division and send Miami to the AFC South (because they are the southernmost team in the league, after all.) Then move the Colts to the AFC North, renewing that rival history from when the Colts were in Baltimore). The Ravens are the new kid on the block and left the Browns name and history in Cleveland. They are also a lot closer to the other AFC East teams than Miami.
- Kung Pao Shrimp (oh wait, that's my takeout).
MHR - There was a lot of talk about coaching after the loss to the Patriots. What kind of coaching adjustments would you like to see the Broncos make, a) regardless of the opponent; and b) specifically for the Raiders?
OrangeandBluesBros: There definitely should be some "coaching after the loss to the Patriots." There certainly wasn't any coaching before or during the game.
a) I'd like to see the light go on in Jack Del Rio's brain regardless of opponent. So far, his "coaching" has consisted of comments like "Way to go, Von, you're the man. You know what to do." "Hey, Marcus, lookin good." To which Ware responds, "That's DE-marcus coach. Man, the guy doesn't even know my name."
b) The coaches should not make any changes for the Raiders. In fact, the game plan for the Patriots was probably the game plan for the Raiders and just got mixed up in the files because it sure didn't work against the Patriots.
MHR - John Elway spoke to the team this week. If you were Elway, what would you tell the Broncos about shaking off the loss to the Patriots and going 8-0 for the final games - especially with several of them on the road?
OrangeandBluesBros: Elway - "OK, tough loss. But we still have eight games to go. Now I'm not saying we have an easier schedule than the Patriots the rest of the way because we have to respect every opponent. However, we are still competing with the Patriots in every game ahead because we are tied with them for the top spot in losses. So go out there and give each team hell and we'll see where the chips fall at the end of the season. Oh yeah, check out those Raider cheerleaders. I did, and now I have one."
MHR - Do you anticipate the Broncos being motivated about the next game or coming out flat because of their poor performance in Foxborough? What will be the mental challenges they face in practice this week and the game on Sunday?
OrangeandBluesBros: There are probably not many players left from Mike Shanahan's era to remember how he could motivate the Broncos when they played the Raiders. But past experience ought to be enough. Brian Shrout has a recent article about best and worst games against the Raiders. The 2010 game when a mediocre Raiders team thrashed the Broncos ought to be enough to motivate the Broncos not to take them lightly. Besides, there's always the usual motivation: division game where each game counts more, it's in their home, yada yada yada. And the Raiders' rookie QB Derek Carr is playing well also. The Broncos need to focus.
MHR - Although the Raiders are an abysmal 0-8, they are not without their strengths:
- Rookie quarterback has thrown for 1,711 yards and 11 touchdowns and only 7 interceptions.
- Khalil Mack has not recorded a sack, but he's clearly been a force on the Raiders defense, which ranks 6thin allowing Red Zone scoring by opposing offenses.
- The Raiders O-line has allowed just 9 sacks, second only to Denver
- The Raiders have scored 77% of the time that they reach the Red Zone.
What do you think will be the Broncos biggest challenges as they face the Raiders?
OrangeandBluesBros: All of the above. Also, the Raiders have gotten some surprising early leads in games or late comebacks that fell short. I don't want to see them put it all together against the Broncos.
Time for the Von/Ware tandem to slap them silly (just not in the head because that would be a penalty and a fine).
MHR - The Broncos are going to be without Nate Irving as well as Danny Trevathan, who is still on Injured Reserve. How much do you think this affects the efficacy as well as chemistry of the defense? Will Steven Johnson and Corey Nelson be able to fill in the gaps effectively?
OrangeandBluesBros: This is a "next man up" team. The remaining linebackers will take that efficacy and fricasse the Raiders offense. Johnson and Nelson have played well. With Von Miller and Brandon Marshall as anchors, Johnson and Nelson will have a chance to shine, and shine they will. I particularly like Nelson and want to see more of him on the field.
MHR - Derek Carr has been finding some success with tight end Mychal Rivera. Although Rivera is not Rob Gronkowski, the game Sunday exposed a coverage weakness on our defense. How does the Broncos D make sure that doesn't happen again?
OrangeandBluesBros: There's that missing game plan I was talking about earlier, the one designed for the Raiders that was mistakenly used against the Patriots.
Of course, now the Raiders have seen it. But I don't care. If you have a strength, you use it and you do not play Mickey Mouse finesse. Rivera is an outlet guy for Carr. Take away his crutch - and by "crutch" I mean just shut Rivera down by jamming him at the line of scrimmage and blanketing him with a linebacker and a safety.
MHR - The Broncos have continued to dominate on run defense, and the Raiders have struggled with their running game as well. What does this Broncos' strength v. Raiders' weakness mean for both the offensive attack from the Raiders as well as the defensive scheme from the Broncos?
OrangeandBluesBros: I'm not sure the running game is a weakness of the Raiders because they have had sporadic success with it. But the Broncos run defense is definitely a strength and should bottle up the Raiders' run game. That means more emphasis for the Raiders on passing. Enter Von and Ware, with the usual help from Terrance Knighton,Derek Wolfe, Sly Williams and others.
MHR - Before the Patriots game, the run game was looking like it could be viable for the Broncos. What makes you think it still could be - or did the Patriots game expose still a major weakness in our run blocking and running backs?
OrangeandBluesBros: Again with the Patriots game. Ronnie Hillman has been playing well, and when he struggles we still have Juwan Thompson and C.J. Anderson (who should take Mike Anderson's old number so fans who wore Mike's jersey can wear them again for CJ).
I'm still anxious to see Kapri Bibbs in action too. Then we still have Montee Ball coming back. The run blocking is getting better, and even Ball will do better when he returns. I'd like to see the bigger backs, though, on short distance plays.
MHR - Other than the Raiders, the AFC West could easily be a three-team race. How do the Broncos avoid overlooking the Raiders this week as well as looking past some tough conference games that will be played away?
OrangeandBluesBros: It's the Raiders! You don't look past the Raiders. I don't care what their record is. Besides, we don't want to be the team the Raiders beat. You take it one game at a time (so you don't mix up game plans).
|Ultimate Fan||Peyton Manning stats||Manning TDs/INTs||# yards by RBs||WR with most yards||# sacks on Carr||# sacks by Raiders D||Most tackles by Broncos player||Broncos player with most INTs||# penalties by Broncos|
|OrangeAndBluesBros||42/49, 410 yards||5, 0||173 yards||D.T. most yards; Sanders most catches||5||0||Von Miller from that group, but Brandon Marshall overall||Aqib Talib (3)||5 (damn penalties)|
Broncos shut out Raiders, 52-0. I don’t care. I ain’t giving the Raiders nuthin!
Favorite team to watch the Broncos play?
Any team, anywhere, anytime.
Team you most hate for the Broncos to lose to?
Raiders. I hate the Raiders more than any other team. I remember how they used to make the Broncos their personal whipping boy before 1973. I remember players like Jack Tatum and Lester Hayes. Even though the Broncos have done well against the Raiders since 1973, the ledger is not balanced in favor of the Broncos yet.
Besides, I hate that the Raiders took a $10 million non-refundable deposit from the little town of Irwindale, Calif., in their effort to gain a new stadium somewhere when they played in Los Angeles, then bolted back to Oakland, keeping the money. Irwindale is a small town of about 1,500 people (not 150,000, not 15,000, just 1,500) with a rock quarry as its principal income, set in the foothills near L.A. Shame on them for using a little town like that as leverage in a stadium stand-off with Los Angeles and Oakland, then keeping the money. The Raiders should move to Davis, Calif., which is part way from Oakland to Sacramento. Then they could call themselves the Davis Raiders and be just the reverse of the Cleveland Browns (also named after an owner).
All they have to do is pay me $10 million for the idea (you know where I got that figure from, don't you?). Of course, then I'd have to chase them for the money like Shanahan has had to do.
Favorite Broncos player on the current roster?
None as a favorite, but I like a bunch of them a lot.
Favorite Broncos player of all time?
Floyd Little. Not only was he a great player and instrumental in keeping the Broncos in Denver, but he was a great guy. In 1973 near the end of his playing career, Floyd was looking ahead to life after football. He joined a master's degree program in management that I was taking at the University of Denver and was in one of my night school classes. We had class on Monday and Wednesday nights. That was the year the Broncos hosted their first Monday Night Football game, and it was against the Raiders.
Of course, Little had to play, but he didn't want to miss class either. So he took the entire class to the game as his guests. We had seats near the 50-yard-line about halfway up in the old Mile High stadium stands. Great game. Ended in a tie, but that was like a win for Denver fans who were used to losing to the Raiders. Nice marching band on the field too (that one's for you, and you know who you are).
Nobody beats out Floyd in my book for favorite player EVER.
Favorite thing to eat during a game?
No favorite. I usually pick something from the main food groups (pizza, wings, chips and dip, tacos, or chili).
Favorite Game-Day ritual?
I'm not into player jerseys (although my son has Elway, Sharpe, and Bailey jerseys), but I usually wear orange and blue. Sometimes I mix it up a bit and wear blue and orange. But I figure as long as I have jeans on that meets the requirements of blue and orange because most blue jeans have orange stitching.
Which Broncos' player dance is closer to your own scoring celebration (Von Miller's duck dance; Von Miller's cowboy shuffle; Terrance Knighton's Schmoney dance; anything from Julius Thomas)?
None, unless they drag a sofa out on the field because I usually dance on the sofa after important scores.
Most embarrassing-to-admit superstitious behavior regarding Broncos on Game Day?
Well, if its too embarrassing to admit you won't catch me admitting it. And don't believe the stories about me kicking people out of the room if they walk in and the game suddenly turns bad for the Broncos.
Best Broncos game ever played?
That first MNF game the Broncos ever played is right up there, but nothing beats Super Bowl XXXII.
Who makes your "Hall of Fame" Broncos team?
QB - John Elway (nice try so far Peyton)
RBs - Floyd Little, Terrell Davis
WRs - Rod Smith, Haven Moses, Lionel Taylor (love you Eddie McCaffrey, but you didn't make the cut)
TEs - Shannon Sharpe, Riley Odoms
C - Tom Nalen
OTs - Gary Zimmerman, Dave Studdard (Matt Lepsis and Claudie Minor came close)
OGs - Keith Bishop, Mark "Stinky" Schlereth
DTs - Rubin Carter, Rulon Jones (Trevor Pryce came close)
DEs - Simon Fletcher, Barney Chavous (too soon for Von)
LBs - Randy Gradishar, Karl Mecklenburg, Tom Jackson, Al Wilson (Bob Swenson deserves mention as a member of the Orange Crush)
CBs - Champ Bailey, Louis Wright (would have loved to see those two on the field together in their prime)
S - Steve Atwater, Goose Gonsoulin (Billy Thompson should be in there as well, but see KR below; and Dennis Smith and John Lynch were great too)
K - Jason Elam edges Jim Turner
P - Mike Horan is the only stand out and we'll have to see about Britton Colquitt
PR - Rick Upchurch (a great wide receiver, but an electric returner)
KR - Billy Thompson (whom none other than the late Al Davis called one of the best safeties ever, but that was before Steve Atwater and Thompson led the league as both a punt returner and kick returner the same year as a rookie, so he goes in my Broncos HOF)