Rookie safety Justin Simmons spoke with the Afternoon Drive on Monday, and the young member of the No Fly Zone isn’t discounting the Raiders’ high-powered offense, but he’s also not afraid to face it.
"It definitely presents problems, but once again, they haven’t played our defense yet," Simmons said. "They haven’t see guys like Von off the edge, DeMarcus off the edge...they haven’t see Aqib and Chris on both sides, Roby in dime packages…T.J. and Stew coming down imposing their wills on receivers and tight ends. They’re a great offensive team, but they haven’t seen a defense like ours."
Despite the Bronco defense’s monster day on Sunday against another very good AFC West offense, the squad is facing a Raiders team that is off to a great start for the first time in years with a talented quarterback who’s drawing attention for consideration of NFL MVP this year.
It’s a little early for that kind of talk, but Derek Carr is keeping his team in the win column, throwing for 513 yards last weekend with four touchdowns and zero interceptions to bring Raiders back to win in overtime against the Buccaneers.
But as Simmons pointed out, the Broncos defense thrives on the kinds of challenges Carr and his Raiders offense pose.
That’s going to involve putting a lot of pressure on Carr and keeping Amari Cooper and Michael Crabtree busy while preventing Latavius Murray from finding open space.
If this Broncos’ defense puts on the same show it did last week against the Chargers, Carr is going to find out quickly what it’s like to struggle to pass for 250 yards a game.
The good news is this Raiders-Broncos matchup is about to get back to where it should as the teams’ storied rivalry was one for the record books a few decades ago.
Eric Goodman and Les Shapiro couldn’t help but delve into the quarterback talk, both agreeing that Trevor Siemian will have a long career in the NFL - as a backup.
And neither sees No. 13 being able to take the team deep into the playoffs this year.
Goodman argued that without a phenomenal defense like last season (this year’s version is great but not as great), Siemian can’t make up for the team’s deficiencies. And Shapiro sees no chance of Siemian "being able to carry the team on his shoulders," which he’ll have to do unless the offensive line and running game both improve.
I’m inclined to agree except to say that I believe the defense will hit its stride mid- to late season just like last year and play consistently tough like last week. I also think the offensive line can get better if players play better - and all at the same time - and Devontae Booker is going to prove he’s capable of being a No. 1 back. Hopefully those things gel into place by oh, I don’t know, Dec. 18.
That should be enough to stoke the fire…