Sep 15, 2013; Oakland, CA, USA; Oakland Raiders quarterback Terrelle Pryor (2) controls the ball against the Jacksonville Jaguars during the third quarter at Coliseum. The Oakland Raiders defeated the Jacksonville Jaguars 19-9. Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

Oakland Raiders: Terrelle Pryor Could Be an Unknown Factor Against the Broncos

Dec 6, 2012; Oakland, CA, USA; Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning (18) calls a cadence at the line of scrimmage during the third quarter against the Oakland Raiders at Coliseum. The Broncos defeated the Raiders 26-13. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Here ye, here ye, it is proclaimed to all that the Denver Broncos, in the early part of the 2013 season, have been dubbed Super Bowl contenders by their fans, commentators, front office, and anyone else that will listen to that rubbish.

Peyton Manning throws seven touchdown passes in one game! That’s great, but can he walk on water? No!

Manning is a excellent quarterback, one that has won the Super Bowl and the M.V.P. award. But he is not the second coming, and he is not the entire package of the Denver Broncos.

Granted, he gets his props: 57 out of 85 for a passing percentage of 67.1%. Nine touchdowns, zero interceptions (that’s right zero)! He has only been sacked three times, and lost 17 yards. His QB rating is 131. Very impressive (maybe he can walk on water).

Yet, he is still not the entire package. He has completed 57 passes to nine different receivers. Eight of those receivers have two or more receptions. Wes Welker is in the lead with 12 reception on the season. Julius Thomas is one reception behind Welker with 11. Leading the Broncos with 213 receiving yards is Demaryius Thomas with 10 catches and two touchdowns.

Knowshon Moreno and Montee Ball add to the flavor in the running game. These two have carried 42 times on the year — Moreno with the larger load, recording 121 yards and two touchdowns.

The offense has powerful punch, yet the Raiders can supply something the Broncos haven’t seen yet: Pressure, pressure, pressure. Downand distance blitz packages to force Manning out of the pocket into the sideline. You may not sack him, but you can rush his throws. Insist that he run parallel to the line of scrimmage, and make him throw against his body.

Use personnel blitz packages that take Welker out of the equation, and force Manning to check down to his second or third choice. And maybe, just maybe, make him run.

Let’s face it. The Raiders’ secondary has more holes the Swiss cheese; confusion would be a highlight for the Silver and Black secondary. Yes, they are a very young group- learning under fire, or an inferno if Manning has his way on Monday night.

However, pressure and confusion has always discombobulated Manning. Jamming the Bronco receivers at the line, breaking up their rhythm, and timing that Manning has enjoyed early in the year would give Manning something to think about, and missing his favorite left tackle in Ryan Clady could give the Raiders a gap of opportunity to pressure Manning.

On the other side of the ball, the offensive line will have to play at its best. The Broncos have five sacks on the year and have forced one fumble with six interceptions on the season.

Oakland Raiders quarterback Terrelle Pryor (6) tries to get past the defense of San Diego Chargers inside linebacker Takeo Spikes (51) during the second half of an NFL football Sunday, Dec. 30, 2012, in San Diego. (AP Photo/Denis Poroy) Photo: Denis Poroy, Associated Press

Oakland Raiders quarterback Terrelle Pryor (6) tries to get past the defense of San Diego Chargers inside linebacker Takeo Spikes (51) during the second half of an NFL football Sunday, Dec. 30, 2012, in San Diego. (AP Photo/Denis Poroy) Photo: Denis Poroy, Associated Press

Terrelle Pryor has done well on the young season, throwing only two interceptions. He is making strides in forming better decisions on the field. For the Raiders to come away with a victory, Pryor’s decisions will not have to be perfect, but they cannot be costly.

The Raiders have a trump card going into Monday’s game. The Ravens as well as the Giants both had pocket passers — three step, five step, and even seven step drop back, read the coverage, throw to the open receiver. Three seconds to throw the ball. With Flacco and young Eli Manning, they were never a threat to run.

Pryor’s feet could be the unknown factor in the game. Make him a double threat to run or throw on any given down. The Broncos have not seen this, and it could cause a problem for the defense. A BIG problem.

The offensive line will have to neutralize the defensive front of the Broncos so that Darren McFadden can be a factor. They don’t have to dominate their opponent; just sustain their block and let Run DMC power his way to a positive gain.

With John Elway (the Legend), the shadows of Tim Tebow (the Myth), and Peyton Manning (the Broncos), it will be a tall order for the young Raiders to go into Mile High and come away with a victory.

It will be loud, it will be wild, and it will be a great experience for the Raiders to compete with a team like the Broncos.

Dick's Sporting Goods presents "Hell Week":

Tags: Oakland Raiders Terrelle Pryor

  • Chris Schroeder

    I really liked your article. The only think I didn’t agree with was “the Raiders secondary has more holes in it than Swiss cheese”. To me… and here is what I know about the raiders. Reggie McKenzie after realizing how bad the defense was last year went out and really strengthen up his defense, especially the secondary. With the additions of ex pro bowler Mike Jenkins, ex Super Bowl winner Tracy Porter, future hall of famer Charles Woodson, first round pick DJ Hayden, and the incredible Tyvon Branch (although injured), in his replacement there are Bradian Ross and Usama Young who are very very talented players and will fill the void extremely well, also Phillip Adams to add to the depth. Raiders have depth in their secondary.

    Other than that I agree with your article one hundred percent, but I do think the secondary has the potential to be a top five. I mean, you saw the description I used to present my case for every player in their secondary so to say they have as many holes as Swiss cheese is just very inaccurate. Otherwise, good job.

    • Bob

      Yeah, losing branch does not equal swiss cheese. All the other players are playing better each week.

      • Blu Spikes

        Yes they are getting better, and playing against Denver on Monday night will be their early season test. we hope the holes get filled.

        thanks for posting.

    • Blu Spikes

      To make our point the Raiders have given up 419 yards in the air this year. Opponents QB’s have completed 70.5% of their passes (43/61) The secondary has given up 209.5 yards per game, while allowing only 3 TD’s. Luck was 18/23 for 178 while Henne was 25/38 for 241. Third down conversions are 13/27. Most of those coming on passes.

      DJ Hayden just hasnt developed into what a first round pick should be showing at this point. Yes, he has had to learn under fire due to his condition. Raider fans want more.

      Thanks for posting.

      • Chris Schroeder

        I hear ya, and yet they are fourth in the league in total defense somehow. Remarkable!! Luck was 18/27 for 164 yards today against the 49ers defense. Very comparable to the stat line you just laid out against the raiders. Henne just was 18/38 for 235 yards against the Seahawks in Seattle. Again, very comparable to the stat line you layed out. These were the number 1 and number 2 ranked defenses in the league last year, am I to assume that they have holes in their secondary like Swiss cheese, lol. The only difference I see is that the Raiders came within 4 points of beating the Colts and the Colts demolished the 49ers in S.F. I also see the Raiders only giving up 9 points to the Jaguars and the Jaguars scored 17 points against the Seahawks in Seattle. Yeah looks like holes and Swiss cheese to me, lol. Sorry man, just stating the obvious

        • Blu Spikes

          Remarkable that the Raiders are are 4th in the league in Total defense, that is divine intervention. Let me throw this at you. The Raiders are 5th in the NFL in Pass defense, 9th against the rush allowing 80 yrds per game. WOW who knew? Hold on to your jock strap the Black, and Silver are 2nd in Points allowed only 30 points allowed. (they are tied with the Dolphins, and the Jets.

          The Seahawks are #1 in Defense as Jacksonville is #9 on the hit chart.

          A lesson for me is not all cheese with holes is Swiss cheese and not all Swiss cheese has holes.

          I am looking for the Raiders to fill what holes are left and break the Broncos on Monday night football.

          thanks for posting.