As a Broncos fan, Monday night's season-opening road win against the Raiders is about as nice as it gets. A hated division opponent knocked off in their own building. Al Davis sitting helpless, hapless like his club. Solid play all around by Denver, showing signs of contention-type football.
The 41-14 drubbing probably wasn't even that close. The offense was lifted with an unexpected outburst from rookie Eddie Royal, showing speed, quickness and good hands, filling in as the #1 receiver during Brandon Marshall's 1-game suspension. Outside of bowling over some defensive backs (which wasn't necessary, he just ran around/past them), he did everything you'd expect Marshall to do. To say Marshall wasn't missed would be a bit silly. To picture Royal's possibilities, paired with B-Marsh, and a revived Jay Cutler? Pardon me while I control my drool.
Passing game aside, still not sure what to make of this 3-pronged running attack. Maybe it was 3-pronged because not one of the backs distinguished themselves. Or perhaps it's a Shanahan-ian scheme to rotate fresh backs with different skills. If there's one thing we know in recent years, it's unlikely to see one featured back go 16 games as the main man. If the trio of Selvin Young, Andre Hall and Michael Pittman can do what they did (combine for 110 yards on 24 carries) with any regularity, there will be room for Cutler to do his thing.
Let's keep in mind though, these are the Raiders. Porous like swiss, soft as melted Velveeta, smelly as any foo-foo cheese you can name. Looking good shouldn't be difficult, taking nothing away from the Broncos for beating the cast of misfits masquerarding as a defense, as they should.
Sunday's home matchup against San Diego is another animal completely. A team that's a legit contender for the Super Bowl, the Chargers have a great defense, and have the ultimate weapon to test whether the Broncos' run defense is truly improved, or imposter: LaDainian Tomlinson.
Add in the fact that San Diego will be desperate not to go down 2 games in the division, after a shocking home loss to the Panthers in Week 1. The Chargers will be coming into town with their A game, you can count on that.
With Marshall back in the mix, Denver will have its full offensive complement on the field, and they will need to control the ball, and put up points. The Broncos, to win, simply must score in the 20's, and keep LT off the field as much as possible. Cautiously optimistic, still waiting to see what happens against one of the league's Big Boys. Stay tuned.
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