Not the same old game against Raiders

As the Broncos prepare to face the Oakland Raiders tomorrow, things are a lot different than the last time the teams met. Injuries, off-field incidents and losses for both teams make this a far different game than previous match-ups. Read about it in today's reports.

Broncos-Raiders: Just not the same - Rocky Mountain News - Lee Rasizer
November 29, 2003 - There have been punches that have knocked out the defenseless. League suspensions, or threats of them, for various offenses involving illegal substances. One quarterback after another heading to the sideline, key players being placed on injured reserve and head coaches being publicly called out. Don't forget the close, crushing losses. It's the Denver Broncos' season in a nutshell; the Oakland Raiders', too.

Denver Broncos at Oakland Raiders - Rocky Mountain News
November 29, 2003 - Broncos injuries: Questionable: TE Shannon Sharpe (ribs), LB Al Wilson (neck). Probable: DE Mario Fatafehi (rib), WR Ed McCaffrey (thigh), C Tom Nalen (ankle), G Dan Neil (thumb), QB Jake Plummer (foot), RB Clinton Portis (heel), TE Jeb Putzier (shoulder), T Ephraim Salaam (knee), LB Donnie Spragan (foot), LB Jashon Sykes (knee).

Krieger: By own standards, Shanahan not getting job done - Rocky Mountain News - Dave Krieger
November 29, 2003 - And now, for Chapter 2 in our series of Rivalries That Used To Matter, we recall a glorious tradition known as Raider Week. It was big. Tom Jackson was quoted. Mike Shanahan was asked if Al Davis still owed him money. Davis snarled, or at least declined comment.

Wilson 'definitely' a maybe - Rocky Mountain News - Lee Rasizer and Lynn DeBruin
November 29, 2003 - In coach Mike Shanahan's opinion, Al Wilson will "definitely start" Sunday at middle linebacker for the Denver Broncos. Wilson isn't so sure, as he tries to recover from recurring neck pain that runs down his left arm when he leads with his helmet during tackles.

Shanahan sticks to his guns - San Francisco Chronicle - Nancy Gay
Saturday, November 29, 2003- All at once, he's gone from anointed genius to designated whipping boy for what figures to be another failed Denver Broncos' postseason run. Maybe the Teflon has worn a bit from Mike Shanahan's once invincible image, diminished in recent seasons by sub-par drafts, poor free-agent choices and underachieving teams that haven't sniffed a Super Bowl since John Elway stood behind center.

Educational season for Raiders' Porter - San Francisco Chronicle - Nancy Gay
Friday, November 28, 2003 - With 11 players languishing on injured reserve and an almost daily dose of distractions shattering the routine, the 3-8 Raiders' locker room is a somber place these days. Even Jerry Porter has learned to tone it down. This requires a tremendous amount of restraint on his part. He's stylish and gregarious and an unabashed motormouth, with a bigger-than-life personality that matches a big-play persona on the field. This was supposed to be Porter's breakout year, when his speed and skill would produce Pro Bowl caliber stats.

More injuries end Armstrong's year - Oakland Tribune - Bill Soliday
Saturday, November 29, 2003 - Trace Armstrong came to Oakland looking forward to black and silver. Instead, he looks back on nothing but black and blue. His three years in Oakland ended the same way -- on injured reserve. His first year ended with a torn Achilles' tendon. His second year he tore a groin muscle. Now his third -- and quite possibly his final -- one has ended with a subluxation of the left shoulder, a tear in the labrum and possibly damage to his trapezoidal and deltoid muscles.

Raiders' punter LechlerRaiders' Lechler best punter ever? - Oakland Tribune - Bill Soliday
Friday, November 28, 2003 - When the Oakland Raiders drafted a kicker, Sebastian Janikowski, with the a first-round pick in the 2000 draft, they were skewered for having such a nerve. When they spent their fifth-round pick on a punter, the pundits slapped their heads and declared the Raiders were just plain nuts.

Asomugha set for safety dance - Contra Costa Times - Steve Corkran
Sat, Nov. 29, 2003 - Rookie Nnamdi Asomugha got his first taste of life at safety in the NFL last Sunday against the Kansas City Chiefs after an injury to starting strong safety Derrick Gibson. He will get a full-blown indoctrination Sunday against the Denver Broncos as he assumes the starting spot created by a season-ending knee injury to free safety Rod Woodson.

Mirer making most of chance - Contra Costa Times - Steve Corkran
Fri, Nov. 28, 2003 - Quarterback Rick Mirer found his way into the Raiders' starting lineup only after season-ending injuries to reigning league MVP Rich Gannon and up-and-coming youngster Marques Tuiasosopo. Mirer replaced Tuiasosopo in the first half of Oakland's game against the Detroit Lions on Nov. 2 and played like, well, the Rick Mirer people came to know during his first 10 seasons.

Friday Notebook: Portis and the Century Mark - DenverBroncos.com - Andrew Mason
Friday, November 28, 2003 - A year ago, 100-yard individual rushing games were a sure sign of victory for the Broncos. Heading into Thanksgiving weekend in 2002, the Broncos had won 23 consecutive games in which one of their running backs broke the century milestone in a game.

Kenoy Kennedy Answers Your Questions - DenverBroncos.com
Friday, November 28, 2003 - After missing three games due to a sprained left ankle safety Kenoy Kennedy has worked himself back into the lineup as the team's strong safety. In his fourth year from the University of Arkansas, the Texas native has contributed with 33 tackles, (24 solo) six passes defensed, an interception and a fumble recovery in eight games.

Broncology: The Pain of It All - DenverBroncos.com - Andrew Mason
Friday, November 28, 2003 - At his day-after-game press conference this Monday, Head Coach Mike Shanahan was asked how the pain of this year's struggles compared to last year. Citing the close games of 2002 and the extraordinary preponderance of injuries in 2003, his response was direct. "There's no comparison," Shanahan said.

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