Lynch might have been a Raider

When John Lynch became a free agent earlier in the year, the Denver Broncos were not the only team interested in the safety from Tampa Bay. This week's opponent - archrival Oakland - also had their eyes on him. Read more about Lynch ending up in Denver rather than Oakland in today's news reports.

Raiders sought Lynch too late - Oakland Tribune - Jerry McDonald
Thursday, November 25, 2004 - It turns out Rodney Harrison wasn't the only championship-caliber safety the Oakland Raiders missed out on. A year after Harrison visited with Oakland, got a lukewarm response and ended up signing with eventual Super Bowl champion New England, five-time Pro Bowler John Lynch was on the market and got a call from the Raiders. Problem was, the Raiders, having just wrapped up the signing of Warren Sapp on March 21 and adjusting to changes in the front office and coaching staff, were too far behind to make up ground. "The Raiders kind of came in and said, 'Hey, we want to get in the ballgame,'" Lynch told Bay Area reporters by conference call Wednesday. "But it had already progressed far enough along with the Broncos that I had made my decision, essentially." So it is that Lynch, 33, ended up in Denver, where he hopes his presence will pay off much the way Harrison's did with the Patriots.

Raiders sought Lynch too late - San Francisco Chronicle - David Bush
Thursday, November 25, 2004 - During the offseason, the Denver Broncos beat the Raiders to safety John Lynch, who in turn helped the Broncos beat the Raiders in October. The former Stanford star gets another chance Sunday night in Denver when the two teams meet at INVESCO Field. Lynch, who spent the first 11 years of his career with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, was not re-signed by the Bucs in a move attributed to salary-cap reasons. The Broncos quickly landed him, and before he even knew the Raiders had an interest, he was a Bronco.

Raiders remember Lynch - Contra Costa Times - Steve Corkran
Thu, Nov. 25, 2004 - Seven-time Pro Bowl defensive tackle Warren Sapp or five-time Pro Bowl strong safety John Lynch? Both were considered free agents capable of making a significant impact on the teams that signed them during the offseason. The Raiders wanted both players but wound up with only Sapp. Coincidentally, it was the Raiders' haste to sign Sapp that likely cost them a realistic shot at adding Lynch. "It was kind of right when I had really made my decision to go to Denver," Lynch said of the Raiders' jumping into the bidding war for his services. "The Raiders kind of came in and said, 'Hey, we want to get in the ballgame.' But (negotiations) already had progressed far enough along with the Broncos that I had made my decision essentially." Raiders coach Norv Turner confirmed the team's interest in Lynch and that the Broncos beat them to the punch. The Raiders get another shot at seeing what they missed out on when they play the Broncos for the second time this season Sunday at Invesco Field at Mile High.

Maintaining an even keel - Denver Post - Bill Williamson
Thursday, November 25, 2004 - Jake Plummer hears the good and he hears the bad. He listens to neither. "I can't go around saying how good I am or think how good I am; that's just not who I am and how I work," said Plummer, who is in the midst of perhaps the best stretch of his career. "I can't overanalyze myself or be too happy because two weeks ago, people may have said how horrible I was, and that I was doing the same dumb things I did in the past. I don't listen to that stuff either. I have to know my role. My role is to lead this offense." Strong indications are Plummer will fill that role for quite some time. Plummer, who left Arizona as a free agent and signed with the Broncos in 2003, is due a $6 million roster option in March. If the Broncos decline the option, Plummer would be a free agent.

Lynch is probable Sunday night - Denver Post - Bill Williamson
Thursday, November 25, 2004 - John Lynch is near full strength, Luther Elliss could use a miracle and Trevor Pryce is headed back to the doctor. So goes the Broncos' medical chart. Lynch suffered no setbacks in limited playing time at New Orleans and is expected to be ready Sunday night against visiting Oakland. He practiced at full speed Wednesday for the first time since suffering a stress fracture of the sacrum, a triangular bone just above the tailbone, against Atlanta on Oct. 31. Lynch, who took part in 15 plays during Denver's 34-13 victory Sunday at New Orleans, is listed as probable.

Raiders plans omit rerun of October - Denver Post - Patrick Saunders
Thursday, November 25, 2004 - Give Oakland Raiders running back Tyrone Wheatley high marks for candor. Wednesday, Wheatley was asked if his Raiders (3-7) must erase the memory of their most recent meeting with the Broncos (7-3) to have any chance to beat them Sunday night. "Right now, I guess across the board, when we are talking about stats, we are pretty dismal," Wheatley said. "Basically we are trying to play good football and not let what happened in the first meeting happen again." The memory in question is Denver's 31-3 victory in Oakland on Oct. 17 when the Raiders bumbled and stumbled to 145 yards total offense, including 31 rushing.

Broncos learn Bailey a man of his word - Rocky Mountain News - Lee Rasizer
November 25, 2004 - Eight months ago, Champ Bailey stood at his introductory news conference in Denver and immediately set himself up for a possible fall. "I won't be a disappointment," the cornerback told a mass of reporters. "I can guarantee it." Bailey hasn't eaten his words yet. The Denver Broncos have raced to a 7-3 start with him playing a starring role in a season that continues Sunday at home against the Oakland Raiders. But why risk a potential backlash by making such promises?

Adams: Broncos don't run amok for scores - Rocky Mountain News - Sam Adams
November 25, 2004 - Numbers can baffle you. Take the Denver Broncos' rushing numbers, for example. The Broncos rank sixth in the NFL in rushing at 140.5 yards a game. Reuben "Tank" Droughns (you can come up with your own nickname for Droughns; make mine "RTD") ranks eighth in the AFC with 844 rushing yards. Now, here's a baffling stat: The Broncos have recorded only four rushing touchdowns in 10 games. Going into this season, Denver's rushing game had accounted for an average of 18 touchdowns a season since Mike Shanahan became coach in 1995. In the past two seasons, the Broncos rushed for 41 touchdowns, with Clinton Portis accounting for 29. This season, Droughns has produced two rushing touchdowns and Quentin Griffin the other two. On its current pace, Denver would establish a franchise record for fewest rushing touchdowns (six) in a 16-game season.

Broncos wary of letdown - Rocky Mountain News - Jeff Legwold
November 25, 2004 - All of the ingredients are there for the one holiday recipe the Denver Broncos don't want to see. A struggling opponent is next on the schedule (the 3-7 Oakland Raiders), the Broncos are riding a small win streak and it is surrounded by holiday festivities. Welcome to another trap game. "Sometimes if your opponent is not playing that well, their record is not that great, sometimes it's almost like a lackadaisical attitude," Broncos safety Nick Ferguson said. "It's not something that's done on purpose . . . but we can't have that happen to us again."

Raiders point to progress - Daily Camera - Ryan Thorburn
November 25, 2004 - Last Sunday, after Denver's 34-13 win in New Orleans, Saints owner Tom Benson said his team looked like high school kids. "It's the worst performance I've seen by them in the 20 years that I've owned them," Benson said. Imagine what Al Davis must have been thinking on Oct. 17? That's when the rival Broncos beat his Oakland Raiders even worse, 31-3, at Network Associates Coliseum. Flash forward a month and the Raiders, who are breaking in a new head coach (Norv Turner) and quarterback (Kerry Collins) this season, are a better team than they were in the first meeting with Denver. At least that's what they're saying in Raider Nation after a competitive loss last Sunday against San Diego (23-17).

Droughns takes run at 1,000 - Daily Camera - Ryan Thorburn
November 25, 2004 - The Denver Broncos are thankful for Reuben Droughns, whose emergence a month into the season has helped Mike Shanahan's tradition of producing 1,000-yard tailbacks continue. Droughns, who has five 100-yard games in six starts, has already racked up 844 yards on only 174 carries (4.9 per). Considering the former fullback had 176 yards in Oakland on Oct. 17, there is a good chance Droughns will become the fifth different running back to eclipse the 1,000-yard mark under Shanahan when the Raiders visit Invesco Field on Sunday night. "It would definitely be cool, but it's not on my mind," Droughns said of the milestone. "My mind is on winning this week and taking that step closer to the playoffs. I'm sure I'll get it. I'm sure the offensive line wants it just as bad — same with tight ends and receivers. At some point in time it'll come. It's going to come."

Nate Jackson's Jounal -- Happy Thanksgiving -
Thursday, November 25, 2004 - Today marks the second Thanksgiving in a row I will have spent away from my family. Growing up, I never really thought much of this day. I knew it was all about the Pilgrims and the Native Americans sharing a feast. I knew that pretty much everyone ate turkey. I knew I got to see a large portion of my extended family. And I knew I usually wore clothes that I didn't pick out and maybe didn't really enjoy being represnted by (evident in a Thanksgiving picture, circa 1989, in which I wore a pink turtleneck). And that was pretty much it. Then I started growing up.

Kyle Johnson: It Comes with the Territory - - Doug Collins
Thursday, November 25, 2004 - All across Denver, kids in schoolyards dream of being like their favorite Broncos players. While you might hear some shout "I'm Rod Smith!" or "I'm Jake Plummer", it's unlikely you'll witness the shout of "I'm Kyle Johnson!" And while the talk around the water cooler on any given Monday after a Broncos game might revolve around the play of Ashley Lelie or Champ Bailey, it's not likely that people would mention Johnson. That's just the life of an NFL fullback. It's a tough, up-at-dawn, grinding job. The rewards are less evident than those of other positions, and touching the ball almost never happens. To Kyle Johnson, the Broncos starting fullback, it just comes with the territory.

Fantasy Preview: Giving Thanks - - Bronco Dan
Thursday, November 25, 2004 - Last time the Broncos faced the Raiders, I predicted that the tight end would score his first career touchdown. Lo and behold, he did just that, providing the highlight to his three-catch, 52-yard day. Given the fact that fellow tight end Dwayne Carswell also scored that day, and San Diego's Antonio Gates had a field day this past week against Oakland, there's no reason to change tactics this time around. Look for the Raiders to key on Reuben Droughns, Rod Smith and Ashley Lelie, providing plenty of areas for Putzier to operate.

Wednesday Notebook: Still Crazy After All These Years - - Andrew Mason
Wednesday, November 24, 2004 - It has been a generation since the Broncos and Raiders' decade-plus run of shared dominance atop the AFC West. But the grit and passion that built their rivalry from the 1970s through the mid-1980s remains in the form of a running duel that is among the best in the NFL. The teams finished with concurrent winning records in nine of 13 seasons between 1973 -- when the Broncos finished above .500 for the first time -- and 1985, when the Raiders won the AFC West at 12-4 and the Broncos became the only 11-5 team to ever miss the playoffs. That disappointing ending for the Broncos was compounded by the fact that the Raiders beat the Broncos twice that year -- both in overtime. A win in just one of those games would have given Denver the division title and a home playoff game in the divisional round.

Droughns Focused on Playing, Not Jawjacking - - Andrew Mason
Wednesday, November 24, 2004 - It's not as if the Broncos' cantankerous rivalry with the Oakland Raiders needed any more spice. But when Reuben Droughns and Warren Sapp exchanged barbs as they left the field following the first half of the team's Oct. 17 game at Network Associate Coliseum, yet another vignette was added to a rivalry that has produced an encyclopedia's worth of odd occurrences, tall tales and mutual enmity. Droughns and Sapp shared what can be euphemistically described as a spirited repartée. But to Droughns, the exchange wasn't personal, it was just part of the game.

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