Our Ultimate Fans here at MHR are rockin-and-rollin’ and this week’s UFGer has several things putting him among the top of my favorite people in the world right now:
Hates the Raiders!
Old-school fav player is Ed McCaffrey
Current favorite is Von Miller
But those are just the highlights (and don’t get jealous, I love all of you here at MHR as long as you cheer for the right team!)
CaliforniaOrangeAndBlue has some great stuff to talk about with this upcoming rivalry game on Sunday Night Football that should finally be a fun game to watch between these two teams - a hot offense versus the hottest defense (you know which is which, right?)
So let’s get this party started and get ready to go into the Black Hole...
T.J. Ward (@BossWard43) November 3, 2016
Week 9: Denver at Oakland
MHR – The win over the Chargers was bittersweet in some ways. As frustrating as the offense could be, the defense was that amazing. What were your two or three takeaways from that game?
CaliforniaOrangeAndBlue -- I came away from the win versus the Chargers feeling that Trevor Siemian is damn lucky to still be a starting QB after that performance. Young quarterbacks need to learn from their mistakes, and I can hope he does the same, but seeing all the near interceptions was driving me crazy. Another thing that I took away was just how deep this team is on defense. Seeing Bradley Roby ball out like he did, as well as Lorenzo Doss and our rookie safeties, just reassures me that no matter how mediocre or bland our offense is, we will be able to cheer on an amazing defense for years to come! Defense has always been my favorite part of football anyway, so I'm good with that.
MHR – The rivalry with the Raiders hasn’t been much of a rivalry in recent years with the Broncos winning 8 of the last 9 contests. Do you like that this matchup has more rivalry relevance with both teams at 6-2?
CaliforniaOrangeAndBlue -- I am so excited about this being a rivalry again! I'm not sold that the Raiders are quite back yet, but the storylines being set up nowadays makes it interesting. The evil coach that deserted and gave up on his former team in a playoff game. A defensive player in Khalil Mack that some people (misinformed people, mind you) call better than Von Miller. An offense that has been scoring a bunch of points versus a defense that is the stingiest in the NFL.
Growing up in Vegas, I was the only Broncos fan among a sea of L.A. Raiders fans and had to put up with so much crap as a kid. It's been so nice seeing us have the upper hand for so many years, but it will be nice to see their hopes dashed when they think they've finally arrived again.
MHR – On a hate scale of 1-10 for the Raiders - 1 being Kubiak’s respect for the team’s players and coaches, and 10 being T.J. Ward’s "I hate them" - where do you fall on the spectrum?
CaliforniaOrangeAndBlue -- Oh definitely a 10, right up there with T.J.! I think I got a little teary eyed reading his comments. Just so damn proud of him.
MHR – Regardless of the hate, the Raiders do need to be respected this year as Derek Carr is throwing all over the place to Amari Cooper and Michael Crabtree while his six-man front offensive line protects pretty well. What will be the keys for our defense to shut down Carr?
CaliforniaOrangeAndBlue -- I have complete confidence that, even without Aqib Talib, our elite corners and safeties will be able to ground that air attack from Carr. They haven't played a team that has the defense we do as far as coverage ability, so I think Carr will have much less success against the No Fly Zone.
My concern is with the run game and the tight ends we've been susceptible to this year. They have decent backs and tight ends, so we need to lock down that intermediate area where we have been exploited.
MHR – The Broncos running game is a mystery (sort of). Some weeks it works, some weeks it doesn’t. So what gives - lack of running play calls, not good enough backs, Andy Janovich is beat up? But the Raiders aren’t great against the run, so how do we revive it?
CaliforniaOrangeAndBlue -- I think the Chargers defensive backs are actually a lot better than they are given credit for, so that accounts for the disappointing performance we had last week. As far as this week's game plan, I really hope they go for a balance instead of being so pass heavy. Please, please, PLEASE don't come out and throw the ball three times in a row and not get a first down. Maybe it's time to run to set up the pass, and not give up on the rushing attack so early in the game. Booker is a hell of a running back, just as long as he holds onto the ball, and should see a resurgence against this 28th-ranked rush defense.
MHR – Siemian held onto the ball too long many times last week, and the QB noted it was something he needed to get better at while his coach added "we need to help him with better protection." With Khalil Mack getting his stride mid-season, what do you expect out of Siemian and the offensive line?
CaliforniaOrangeAndBlue -- I really hope Russell Okung shows back up this week. He's been slacking for a couple weeks now and being manhandled out there. As long as he shores it up, and Donald Stephenson can continue improving, I think we'll be OK as far as pass protection. Our interior offensive line guys seem to be really excelling lately, and I hope that they can keep it up.
Siemian needs to stop trying to throw it to the other team this week. Take your shots down the field sure, maybe progress beyond your second read (if that!), and trust your line. Oh, and throw it to a tight end like you did last week.
MHR – Kubiak generally loves his TEs, but we haven’t seen them used too much. Is this a big miss in the Broncos’ game plan? What about using our wideouts?
CaliforniaOrangeAndBlue -- I guess my comment about Siemian throwing to Virgil more belongs here - lol. You have such a reliable pass-catching tight end in Virgil Green...hopefully those few completions last week will give Siemian more confidence in using him as an outlet. And I hear that A.J. Derby is coming along. He's a mystery, but if we can get him involved, then sign me up to the fan club!
As far as Demaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders go, I'm a little afraid that we will only see out of them what we've seen so far this year. With Siemian only throwing about 8-10 yards to the left side of the field reliably, the deep ball will only be used to try and keep the defense honest. I'm probably just being pessimistic about it, but until Siemian can become more accurate with his deep throws I think DT and Sanders will just have to try and make their own luck out there.
MHR – What part about playing the Raiders this week makes you the most nervous about this game – or are you confident in the Broncos getting a win?
CaliforniaOrangeAndBlue -- I'm most nervous about their offense and how much it is scoring. Our defense has been stifling, but if we have to get into a shoot-out, the Broncos’ offense is lacking that ability, and I'm afraid it'll be too much for Denver to handle. The Raiders player I'm most nervous about? I would have to say Carr. He's very confident right now; he's the leader of this team, and his fade throws are about as accurate as I've seen a quarterback throw in a long time. If we contain Carr, we'll be in for a blowout.
MHR – Which Broncos defensive player NEEDS to be this week’s star?
CaliforniaOrangeAndBlue -- T.J. Ward. I have a feeling he'll have to back up those claims against Crabtree and Cooper with help over top with Chris Harris Jr. and Brad Roby back there, and hopefully we can see him get another pick and sack. Ward will be key in defending the Raiders’ pass catching tight ends as well. Can't see that completion to Rivera like last week going to the house THIS week!
MHR – Which Broncos offensive player NEEDS to be this week’s star?
CaliforniaOrangeAndBlue -- Booker NEEDS to be the star this week. Secure the ball, young man, keep hitting those holes, and let’s see a big game out of you against this porous defense. This Broncos team needs the running game to get going if we want to have success in the playoffs and beyond, so let's make sure that starts this week!
MHR - Betting houses have the odds even - a top-rated passing offense against the top-rated passing defense. Are the odds right and will this be a close game? Or are the Raiders overrated and the Broncos D will annihilate them? :)
CaliforniaOrangeAndBlue -- I think the Broncos D will annihilate this overrated Raiders team for sure! And seeing as how their two losses this year have been at the old baseball field, I have a really good feeling that their third loss will be there as well.
Stats for Trevor Siemian? 20 completions for 270 yards, 2 TDs, 1 INT
Rushing yards for Broncos? Booker, 121; Bibbs, 35; Janovich, 49
Receiving yards for Broncos? Thomas, 77; Sanders, 98; V. Green, 35
Number of sacks to Siemian? 2 sacks for Siemian
Number of sacks to Derek Carr? 5 sacks for Carr
Broncos player with the most sacks? Derek Wolfe with 2
Broncos player with the most tackles? Brandon Marshall
How many turnovers for the Broncos D? 3 INTs, 3 FF, 1 FR
How many penalties per team? YIKES!! Do the Raiders beat their own record?? I'll go 9 for Broncos, 14 for Raiders
Final Score? I'm going for a blowout...31-13 Broncos.
Favorite win you’ve watched the Broncos accomplish? It has to be Super Bowl 32. Being such underdogs in that game, and living through most of our embarrassing Super Bowl losses, this was absolute vindication.
Favorite win over the Raiders? My favorite win was because of personal reasons - Dec. 6, 2012. We KILLED them, 26-13, because of our defense. Our offense that day was actually similar to today's, stalling in the red zone and having to settle for field goals. It was after that game I met the woman I would eventually marry, making that, by far, my favorite Broncos win over the Raiders. (*editor’s note: Congrats!)
Team you hate to lose to the most? I really hate losing to the Raiders. I saw enough of that crap when I was young to not like it at all.
Team you love to beat? Has to be the Patriots. Their arrogance is so delicious to watch wiped off of their faces in defeat.
Game most looking forward to this season? Coming up, absolutely has to be the Patriots game. That is the litmus test to see if we're ready for the playoffs.
Game most worried about this season? Hmmm.....can it be a tie? I'm worried about the Patriots game, and the game against Chiefs in Kansas City. They worry me way more than the Raiders in the division.
Favorite Broncos player on the current roster? Hands down Von Miller. I love the way he plays with swagger and speed. His off-the-field stuff is amazing to watch play out; he just brings fun to a game that has become increasingly un-fun thanks to the commissioner.
Favorite rookie/young guy on the team? If we're talking guys who are actually playing, I'd have to go with Devontae Booker. He's still raw when it comes to certain aspects, but I love the way he lowers his shoulders and hits defenders hard, along with hitting the holes with authority.
Favorite Broncos player of all time? I'd say my favorite was Ed McCaffrey. That guy was absolutely fearless. He was a clutch receiver and had no qualms going into the air and giving up his body to take a big hit just to move the chains.
Superstitions on game day? I have to wear a jersey on game day (which is normally my blue Von Miller jersey) and drink from my Broncos beer mug (even if sometimes it's just water, lol).
Favorite Broncos jersey color combo? Absolutely my favorite has been blue jersey with white pants. And if we were able to use the color rush helmet from this year, I would be in heaven.
Cubs or Indians fan? ;) Oh, Cubs for sure! Grew up with them as my team thanks to WGN showing almost every single one of their games and Vegas not having a pro sports team.
Week 9 has begun.— Denver Broncos (@Broncos) November 4, 2016
Our time is coming. pic.twitter.com/JhbPDSdZJR
How did you become a Broncos fan?
I was adopted into Broncos Country. I was born and raised for several years in Vegas due to my dad being Air Force and stationed at Nellis Air Force Base. After he got out, my parents thought they would make their way to Denver and try it out, being much closer to their family, so we settled in Thornton. It was about that time the Broncos drafted Mr. John Elway, and we watched his first miserable year there, followed by several years of awesomeness and last-minute comebacks. When I was about 11 or 12, my parents had had enough of snow and decided to move back to Vegas. While I wasn't fortunate enough to stay and wasn't born there, I'd have to say that I have blue and orange running through my veins for life.