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Ultimate Fans: Broncos must not get away from the running game

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Baaaad things happen when they do that. And this week is not a good week to let bad things happen on the field.

Denver Broncos v Oakland Raiders Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

ARE YOU READY FOR SOME FOOTBAAAAAALLLLLLLL?????

H, E, double hockey sticks, YES!

It has been a week, Broncos fans, and I am so ready to break down this game - possibly my favorite rivalry game every year - and get us all in the right mind, body and spirit for the Raiders...er, THE RAIDUHS!

I know we’re exhausted, we’re tired of talking about things that keep us from unabashedly cheering alongside our Broncos brothas and sistas, but the Ultimate Fan Guide is here to change that.

Because what would a UFG be if it weren’t about bringing us together to enjoy our favorite team hitting the field to play our favorite sport while we armchair QB the heck out of it along the way?

That’s right, nothing! It would be nothing without that.

So let’s get to a very special UFG in which we have two fans - one a veteran of MHR and also of the UFG, j-man; and another a relative newcomer to the site and a first-timer on the UFG, but a very worthy addition - kingbronco58!

But before we get their insights, to get us all in the right frame of mind - which, in case you weren’t paying attention is RAIDER HATING! - I have a fabulous video of the good ol’ days when the Broncos-Raiders rivalry was at its peak (and for the infamous “it’s all over fat man” comment from TJ, pay close attention at the 3:00 mark).

You’re welcome ;)

The Broncos Raiders Rivalry

2013 Broncos season is here! Here's a vid to get you ready for the season! Go Broncos!!

Week 4: Oakland at Denver

MHR – OK, what the hell happened last week ?
j-man: Well ... what happened was ... Buffalo dared us to pass and squeezed the field in half.

Mike Mccoy did not run enough, especially in the second half. C.J. Anderson and Jamaal Charles were getting 4 and 5 yards a carry. If you throw 40 times with our offensive line, you are gonna get hit. It was a team loss.

Had Trevor Siemian not under-thrown the pass to Emmanuel Sanders, he scores and Broncos are up by six at half. Joseph’s fake punt call was Madden-like. If it had it been 20 yards farther down the field, then maybe. But that cost us three points. And had Von just gone back to the huddle, that saves three more, holding Buffalo to 17 points. I like celebrations and fun, but not down 23-16.

MHR – Give me the good, bad and ugly from the loss to the Bills.
kingbronco58: Well let’s start with the ugly. Trevor didn’t look great last week and made a bunch of poor decisions and some poor throws. The NFZ let Tyrod fly all over them.

The bad had to be Mike McCoy getting away from the run. If there were anything we learned last year, it was that we don’t win when we get away from the run.

The good was we shut down yet another top running back. It gives me a lot of confidence in the run defense actually improving.

Plus, how about Garett Bolles playing a week after being carted off the field and looking great against a formidable defensive front? And the last great thing was Jamaal Charles still showing some spark. On a limited number of carries, he’s doing a great job getting some yards - and he scored his first TD as a Bronco!

MHR - If there’s any solace in the loss last week, it was that the Raiders lost too. But will that mean an even more motivated - and therefore tougher - Oakland team to beat?
kingbronco58: Simply put, yes it does. Not only did they lose, they were fairly humiliated by the Redskins. Derek Carr had very poor stats and didn’t look anything like the franchise QB they are paying him to be. Add into the mix that this is a division rivalry game, and we are going to face a really motivated Oakland team this week.

Given that we lost to Bills, who in my opinion are worse than the Redskins, I hope the coaching staff and the players are more motivated than the Raiders. A win this weekend would be monumental for giving us a chance at winning the AFC West.

MHR - The Broncos red zone offense was atrocious last week. Was it an anomaly or are we back to Broncos 2016 offense?
j-man: Hard to tell. Buffalo is a top 10 defense. Against the Chargers and the Cowboys, the Broncos did a great job. The play calling against Buffalo was too safe. Pick plays, rubs and tight end action works best.

MHR - Coaching has ranged from brilliant to disappointing. What is your overall feeling about the coaches right now?
kingbronco58: I feel like they took the Bills too lightly after beating one of the better teams in the NFL. I’m still not sure what to think of Vance Joseph just yet. We have seen a few mistakes made by the first-year head coach.

For example, getting extremely conservative against the Chargers, calling a timeout before halftime against the Cowboys, running a fake punt when only down four in the third quarter. I like his spirit, and given the politics that have been involved this season, I think Coach Joseph has done a good job trying to navigate the distractions. I expect that with some more games of experience as a head coach, he can be very good at his job. I questioned the hire, but he has surrounded himself with a superstar staff and has really set the team up for success this season.

I love what I am seeing from this offense so far. For the first two games of the season we were actually moving the ball and converting third downs. Which is something we have not seen in this offense since Gase left a few years ago. After watching last week, it is clear there is definitely some work that needs to get done to make this offense consistent.

Last week, McCoy got away from the run too early. Although Anderson was struggling, Charles was having his best game of the season and should have gotten more touches. Overall McCoy, has made the offense more of the unit that all Broncos fans have been missing for the last few years.

I was one of the many fans who was really disappointed and concerned when we allowed Wade Phillips to leave. He was arguably the biggest reason why we won the Super Bowl. I was definitely concerned that we were gonna let a first-time coordinator step in for one of the best defensive coordinators of all time. I think Joseph has done a very good job filling in the role of DC. The defense has improved in the run game, the NFZ still looks great. I think Joseph could be more aggressive at times. Wade had a knack for bringing the blitz, and I feel as though we are not blitzing as much this year. Part of that may be due to the injuries we have at the OLB position. So I hope when Shane Ray comes back from IR, we see Joseph dial up the blitz some more.

With Olivo I have been impressed with the return game. It’s so relaxing watching our punt returner actually CATCH the ball. McKenzie has looked great as a punt returner and does a good job catching the ball. I have been kind of disappointed in the field goal kicking, but I don’t think there is much Olivo can do about that. McManus has not looked like Mc$ since he signed that contract. He has missed a few long field goals, which is fairly uncharacteristic. Hopefully we see McManus bounce back as the season progresses. I am gonna go ahead and pin the fake punt on Joseph and assume that it wasn’t Olivo’s call.

MHR - Trevor Siemian passed on 71 percent of the plays last week, scoring 0 touchdowns and throwing 2 interceptions. Still have confidence in Siemian?
j-man: It was just a bad day, but teams like the Chiefs, Dolphins and Eagles will copy the Buffalo game plan unfortunately to beat good-to-great teams. Siemian must play like he did against Dallas.

MHR - Broncos got away from the running game against the Bills. Do you think the running game will be important this weekend against Oakland?
kingbronco58: The running game could be the key to beating the Raiders this weekend. The Raiders have one of the best pass rushers in the NFL. If we hope to slow Mack down, and give Trevor some time in the pocket, it is crucial that we get the run game going. And allow Trevor to run some play action plays to give him some more time in the pocket.

Our O-line has done a good job run blocking this season. If the Raiders decide to stack the box, our running game may get off to a slow start, but hopefully Trevor can torch a really bad Raiders secondary. Historically, if Trevor has to throw more than 40 passes, we are in for a long game. So I certainly expect Anderson and Charles to have a big game this Sunday.

MHR - The Broncos offensive line looked decent the first two games but rather porous Sunday. How do you expect it to do against Mack?
kingbronco58: I expect another mediocre performance from the offensive line. I expect it to come up big in the running game, as that has been its strength this season. However, in the passing game, we may be in for a long day. Garcia and Watson have been extremely poor in pass protection. If McCoy doesn’t chip Mack and give Watson help, he may fair only a little bit better than Schofield a few years ago. Hopefully we see Watson get a TON of help this Sunday and not get wrecked in pass protection.

MHR - The No Fly Zone got beaten several times on Sunday against mediocre receivers. How do you think Aqib Talib and Chris Harris Jr. will fare against the high-flying Michael Crabtree and Amari Cooper ?
j-man: Better, because Cooper leads the NFL in drops, and Tailb is in Crabtree’s head. Also Carr does not move around like Tyrod Taylor, which gave receivers an advantage when running around to get open.

MHR - The Broncos run defense has been absolutely stout, so where is the biggest weakness on this D?
kingbronco58: Not only has the Broncos run defense been stout, it has stopped some of the best running backs in the league. I was a little skeptical of our run defense when the first snap had Gordon gash them for a 21-yard gain. But since then they have really settled in, and it is no longer the biggest weakness on our defense; I expect them to contain the other running backs they face this season.

This weekend will be another good test though with Marshawn Lynch still showing some of the same power he had before he retired. But I am a believer in this run defense and don’t think Lynch will fare better than the others Broncos have faced this season.

The biggest weakness on this D, has to be to be covering TEs and RBs. The NFZ has always done a great job covering the opposing team’s wide receivers and taking them out of the game for the most part. However, we have been torched in the past by not being able to cover TEs or RBs in the passing game.

MHR - What kind of pass rush game plan would you expect from Joe Woods this weekend against Derek Carr?
j-man: The only way to attack them is to rush their right tackle. The Raiders have four top offensive linemen.

MHR - In the battle between two of the best pass rushers in the NFL, who has a better day, Khalil Mack or Von Miller?
kingbronco58: The homer in me wants to say Von, but if we are being realistic it will be Mack who has the better day. Only because Mack gets to go against Watson, one of the weakest links of our offensive line. I hope that Watson does a better job in pass protection than Schofield did and doesn’t give Mack a career day.

I believe Von will make an impact, just like he does every game - even if it is letting Shaq get some one-on-ones.

MHR - Raiders are a hated rival of the past...is it fair to say the level of hate between these two teams is back to 1970s/80s level hate?
j-man: Not for me because through irony, my high school name is the Raiders. We are 4-0 and have an 80 percent chance of being 9-0 again and win the 5-A East. Sure I want to beat the Oakland Raiders, but in three years they will just be another team. The “Oakland Raiders” has a fear factor to its team, but the “Las Vegas Raiders” will be just a normal team.

MHR - There was a lot of talk early about the AFC West being the toughest division and three teams possibly making it to the playoffs from this division. Is that still the case? Where will the Broncos end up?
kingbronco58: The AFC West is absolutely the best division in football. There are two top defenses between the Broncos and Chiefs and some explosive playmakers on every side of the ball for every team in this division.

The NFL is a week-to-week league - any team can lose any given week. It just so happened that two AFCW teams lost last week. At the end of the season I would not be surprised to see three AFC West teams in the playoffs.

I think we end up second in the division. As much as I hate to say it, I think the Chiefs end up winning the division. Their offense looks much more explosive this year with the addition of Kareem Hunt. I expect the winner of the division to come down to Week 17.

MHR – Which Broncos defensive player will be this week’s star?

j-man: Von Miller

kingbronco58: Shaq Barrett, I expect him to have a big game with Von demanding the most attention in our front 7.

MHR – Which Broncos offensive player will be this week’s star?

j-man: C.J. Anderson

kingbronco58: C.J. Anderson. He was clearly disappointed in his performance against the Bills, so I expect to him to rebound against the Raiders.

Predictions: j-man

Stats for Trevor Siemian? 21 of 29, 285 yards, 3 TDs, 1 INT

Number of carries/yards rushing for Broncos? Anderson - 18/90; Charles - 9/54

Number of yards receiving for Broncos? DT 7/86, 1 TD; Sanders 9/105 1 TD; Fowler 4/23, 1 TD

Longest FG? Oakland (54 yards)

Number of sacks to Siemian? 4

Number of sacks to Derek Carr? 3

Broncos player with the most tackles? Brandon Marshall, 11

How many INTs/FF/FR for the Broncos D? 1 int

Final Score? Denver 27, Oakland 24

Predictions: kingbronco58

Stats for Trevor Siemian ? 17/26, 255 yards, 2 TDs, 0 INTs (1 dropped)

Number of carries/yards rushing for Broncos? Anderson - 22 carries, 107 yards, 1TD; Charles - 10 carries, 45 yards.

Number of yards receiving for Broncos? DT - 105; Sanders - 70; Fowler - 40

Longest FG? 55 yards

Number of sacks to Siemian? 5

Number of sacks to Derek Carr? 3

Broncos player with the most tackles? Todd Davis, 8

How many INTs/FF/FR for the Broncos D? 0 INT, 1FF, 1FR

Final Score? Denver 24, Oakland 21

The Favorites: j-man

Favorite game you’ve seen in person? KC at Denver in 2001

Team you hate to lose to the most? Patriots or Steelers

Team you love to beat? Steelers

Game most looking forward to this season? Week 10 against the Pats

Game most worried about this season? Broncos at Chiefs on MNF

Favorite Broncos player on the current roster? I like them all - Chris Harris Jr. or C.J. Anderson, since we both love Sonic the Hedgehog.

Favorite rookie/young guy on the team? Garett Bolles. I liked the way he was on Draft night and the way he handles himself.

Favorite Broncos player of all time? Rod Smith, Terrell Davis, John Elway, Steve Romanowski, since he begged to meet me. That was awesome!

Superstitions on game day? I used to wear orange silk shorts but no supersitions as of this year.

Favorite Broncos jersey? Terrell Davis

Favorite TD celebration? Anything as long as we score!

Favorite Von Miller sack dance? Anyone as long as he does not draw a flag

Favorite snack food during the game? Chicken nuggets, and I like my mom’s tacos too

The Favorites: kingbronco58

Favorite game you’ve seen in person? I hope it’s this one, the only other game I have attended in person was Paxton Lynch’s first start against the Falcons last year. Although we lost, it was fun watching the defending SB champs take on eventual SB contenders.

Team you hate to lose to the most? Patriots and Raiders

Team you love to beat? Patriots

Game most looking forward to this season? Week 10 against the Patriots, and Week 17 against the Chiefs

Game most worried about this season? Raiders and Chiefs on the road.

Favorite Broncos player on the current roster? Von Miller

Favorite rookie/young guy on the team? Garett Bolles. I absolutely hated the pick. I hoped that we would trade up for O.J. Howard. But I love the ferociousness and the attitude Bolles plays with. So I am now a huge fan.

Favorite Broncos player of all time? Peyton Manning, Von Miller

Superstitions on game day? I wear my Von Miller jersey and sit one spot on the couch. If we do well, I won’t move, but if we start struggling, I start switching spots.

Favorite Broncos jersey color combo?Blue jersey, blue pants

Favorite TD celebration? Mile High Salute

Favorite Von Miller sack dance? All of them, but my most favorite would have to be the hip thrusts that he got fined for last year.

Favorite snack food during the game? Flaming Hot Cheetos or Doritos

How did you become a Broncos fan?

j-man: j-man: Probably 1990 or 1991. I liked the mountains and the Broncos’ color. I almost switch to Dallas in 1994 because I was 11 and Dallas was on every game (no Sunday Ticket). But my dad is a Pittsburgh fan, and he hates Dallas. Looking back on it now, had SBNation’s Bleeding Green Nation been around in 1994, I might have been an Eagles fan because I love the color green as well and underdogs.

kingbronco58: The first Broncos game I ever watched was the Broncos loss to the Steelers in the 2005 AFC conference championship. But I didn’t get hooked into football until a few years after that. I started watching closely and learning the game of football and cheering for the Broncos the season they hired McDaniels. (*editor’s note: the fact that you became a fan during the McD era - and then stayed - means you are an ultimate fan!)

Poll

Which game are you most worried about this season?

This poll is closed

  • 13%
    Patriots, of course
    (21 votes)
  • 57%
    Chiefs (but shhh...don’t tell THEM that!)
    (92 votes)
  • 15%
    Sunday’s game against the Raiders
    (25 votes)
  • 10%
    I never worry, 16-0 from here on out, baby!
    (16 votes)
  • 3%
    "Shasta"
    (6 votes)
160 votes total Vote Now