Broncos News Briefs - Saturday, Nov. 27

The Denver Broncos are preparing to face their main rival - the Oakland Raiders - on Sunday night. But is the rivalry what it once was? Read about the upcoming game in today's news reports.

Egads: Temperature falling on Raiders-Broncos feud - Rocky Mountain News - Lee Rasizer
November 27, 2004 - Has it come to this? Has the Denver-Oakland rivalry, historically one of the league's nastiest, become, gulp, civil? "We don't hate the Raiders as much as our fans do," Broncos quarterback Jake Plummer conceded this week. "We know a lot of guys that play for them." Back in the old days, to know Oakland's players was to abhor them. They were the Evil Empire. An Orange Sunday in Denver mixed with the Silver and Black, a color palette that will appear Sunday night at Invesco Field at Mile High, was enough to leave any self-respecting Broncos player or fan red-faced with anger. It isn't that Plummer doesn't get the rivalry. He does.

Raiders ground game bit of a running joke - Rocky Mountain News - Jeff Legwold
November 27, 2004 - The Denver Broncos might not know everything Oakland has to offer on offense Sunday night until the Raiders line up for their first play. That's because Raiders running back Tyrone Wheatley will test his sore foot Sunday morning to see if he will be available against the Broncos. And Wheatley, who is listed as questionable on the Raiders injury report and who missed three games earlier this season because of a separated shoulder, has had a lot to say about the Raiders running game this season.

NFL injury report, November 27 - Rocky Mountain News - Jeff Legwold
November 27, 2004 - NFL injury report, November 27

Broncos can't afford loss to Raiders - Daily Camera - Ryan Thorburn
November 27, 2004 - There are seven teams in the AFC with records of 7-3 or better, the most in the history of the conference this late in the season. If the Denver Broncos (7-3) were in the NFC, making the playoffs wouldn't be much of a concern. But in an AFC with two 9-1 teams (New England and Pittsburgh) and Peyton Manning (41 touchdowns and counting), 10-6 might not be good enough to get much done in the playoffs if it's even enough to get in. Which makes Sunday night's game against the rival Oakland Raiders (3-7) at Invesco Field (6:30, ESPN and Channel 9) almost a must-win for the Broncos considering they have road games against San Diego, Kansas City and Tennessee remaining and the final home game is against Indianapolis.

Porter isn't so sure he'll set himself free after season - Contra Costa Times - Steve Corkran
Sat, Nov. 27, 2004 - Wide receiver Jerry Porter said Oct. 21 that the countdown was on until his Raiders career ended and his name appeared on the free-agent market. Five weeks' time has softened his hard-line stance somewhat. "I'd love to come back to this team," Porter said Wednesday. "I've been here, what, five years? I've become pretty comfortable here." He has gone from second-round draft pick in 2000 to the senior member of Oakland's receiving corps this season. Jerry Rice and Tim Brown no longer impede Porter's progress and prevent his developing into the marquee player he envisions himself becoming. Yet, he responded to an article in a national magazine that said the Raiders attempted to trade Porter earlier this season by saying, "I've got 10 games here to do whatever with." Now, he has six games left. Or does he? He refused to be pinned down this time. He said Sunday night's game against the Denver Broncos presents another opportunity for him to display his wares to potential suitors.

Raiders running on empty - Oakland Tribune - Bill Soliday
Friday, November 26, 2004 - The Oakland Raiders' off-season plan to return to elite status was simple and straightforward. It had everything to do with the running game. Stop opposing rushers, then deal with the pass. Run consistently and often on offense, thus setting up the deep pass. Pie in the sky, as it turns out. Neither has happened, and the results have trickled down into every aspect of a disastrous 3-7 season on both offense and defense. The depths of despair to which the Raiders have sunk in those two areas are more than enough to explain why Oakland is a 101/2-point underdog Sunday night in Denver against the Broncos. The numbers not only do not lie, they do not exaggerate. Two-thirds of the way through the season, Oakland ranks dead last in the NFL in rushing yardage and, perhaps worse, rushing attempts. So much for ball control.

Broncos finally get some pressure from Chukwurah - Mercury News - Frank Schwab
Fri, Nov. 26, 2004 - The Denver Broncos watched Patrick Chukwurah blow by offensive tackles to get to the quarterback for most of the exhibition season. Chukwurah finally did the same thing in the regular season last week at New Orleans. Chukwurah had his first sack against the Saints and made a huge play that didn't show up in the stats - his pressure forced quarterback Aaron Brooks to throw an ill-advised interception that was returned by Al Wilson for a touchdown. Chukwurah has had some success pressuring the quarterback as a defensive end in pass-rushing situations this season, but last week was the first time it paid off with a sack.

Friday Notebook: Broncos Prepare for 'Dangerous' Game - - Andrew Mason
Friday, November 26, 2004 - The Broncos are 7-3, and if the playoffs started now, they'd be in. The Oakland Raiders are 3-7, and sit four games out of the last playoff spot. Even without factoring in the unpredictable nature of a game in a heated rivalry such as the one these two teams share, the Broncos have to be on guard for the unexpected and the unconventional. "Any time you've got a team that doesn't have anything to lose, they're a lot more dangerous than they would be, because they're taking chances that they normally wouldn't take," running back Reuben Droughns said.

Taking Care of Business - - James Merilatt
Friday, November 26, 2004 - Every team is a grand chemistry experiment, a mixture of ingredients that will react to one another in unknown ways. As an organization, the Denver Broncos are well aware of that fact. During their back-to-back Super Bowl years in 1997-98, they were able to find the perfect blend of elements, forging a team that couldn't be toppled. From Pat Bowlen to Mike Shanahan, from John Elway to Steve Atwater, from Terrell Davis to Neil Smith, the Broncos were a collection of parts that melded perfectly together. They meshed in a manner that allowed them to achieve greatness. Heading into the 2004 season, the Broncos were looking for ways to recreate that magic. Some of the pieces were already in place – Shanahan, Tom Nalen, Jake Plummer, Trevor Pryce, Rod Smith, Al Wilson and others – but they needed a few more ingredients added to the mix. As a result, they spent their free-agent dollars shopping for character, players that had proven over the course of their careers that they were winners and could help their teammates reach that level.

Broncology: Ground Bound - - Andrew Mason
Friday, November 26, 2004 - Of all the Thanksgiving sentiments shared by Broncos players with the media in the locker room this week, perhaps the oddest one of all belonged to ebullient running back Reuben Droughns. "Really, I'm thankful for this opportunity to talk to you guys," he said, addressing a few reporters in front of his locker on Wednesday. The words were met with raised eyebrows and a slight sense of incredulity; those in on the conversation who didn't mouth "Really?" in response surely had the thought run through their minds. But it wasn't so much the dialogue that Droughns shared at his locker, it was what caused it to begin with. The presence of a gaggle of tape recorders and cameras at his locker has become commonplace in recent weeks, but until he became the team's starting tailback in Week 5, such gatherings for Droughns were rare.

Patrick Chukwurah Answers Your Questions -
Friday, November 26, 2004 - This week's Q&A is with Broncos' linebacker Patrick Chukwurah. Chukwurah's road to Denver led through Wyoming, where he played his college ball for the Cowboys, and Minnesota, where he got his first shot at the pros with the Vikings. In his first two season of his professional career with the Vikings, who drafted him in the fifth round (157th overall) of the 2001 NFL Draft, Chukwurah played in 27 games and notched 2.5 sacks. A solid backer with explosive pass-rushing abilities, Chukwurah helped the Broncos score their first defensive touchdown of 2004 when his pressure of Saints' quarterback Aaron Brooks lead to an Al Wilson interception return for a touchdown. An solid backer and an explosive pass-rusher, Chukwurah has pitched in on defense and special teams this season.

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