Oakland Raiders: A Few Keys To Victory Over The Denver Broncos

OAKLAND, CA - NOVEMBER 06: Marquette King
OAKLAND, CA - NOVEMBER 06: Marquette King /
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Oakland Raiders
LANDOVER, MD – SEPTEMBER 24: Strong safety Montae Nicholson /

Ball Security

Ball security should be an emphasis this week in Denver – and not just in terms of turnovers. Although, we’ll definitely touch on those as well.

But, we’re going to start with ball security in terms of holding on to the ball when it’s thrown to you. For all of his flash and talent, Amari Cooper is dropping balls at an alarming rate this year. To this point in the season, Cooper is leading the NFL in drops with six.

And this, a year after he seemed to have corrected the problem – the problem that plagued him in his rookie season.

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Cooper though, is far from the only one dropping balls. Plenty of receivers have dropped plenty of balls so far this season. The Washington game was just a small microcosm of the bigger problem.

If Oakland wants to be successful, they’re going to need to hang on to the ball a bit better than they have through the season’s first three games.

As for turnovers – it’s a problem for any team. But for a team like Oakland, a team whose defense is often shaky at best, not turning the ball over becomes paramount. Ordinarily, they do a good job of hanging on to the ball and actually found themselves in the plus column of the turnover ratio last year – for the first time in what seems like forever.

But against Washington, the turnovers started early, with quarterback Derek Carr tossing a long interception on the game’s second play. Carr, who did such an excellent job of avoiding interceptions last season – tossing just six in all of 2016 – ended up with two on the night.

Overall, the Raiders turned the ball over three times while forcing Washington into just two turnovers on their own. Through the first three games of the year, the Raiders now have seven total turnovers against just four takeaways of their own.

The Raiders are not a team that can afford to turn the ball over if they expect to win.