Is Denver impressed with Oakland?

Do the Denver Broncos respect Oakland? After last season that figured to be up for debate. Denver head coach Mike Shanahan and quarterback Jay Cutler weighed in on their thoughts regarding the Raiders.

On the Oakland Raiders team and what is evident from studying them:

Mike Shanahan: People have different terms for the type of rivalry we have but there's a lot of respect. You take a look at the Raiders and I take a look at a team that was third in the National Football League (in overall defense). One hundred and fifty yards a game hasn't been done since 1991 with pass defense and an offense that struggled throughout the year. How do you end up third in the National Football League in defense when your offense can't stay on the field?

This is a much different Raider team. You take a look at the offense, you take a look at the preseason, you take a look at the concepts and they're playing much better. They lost a game where they were down 17-0 but they turned the ball over at the 13, 23 and 33-yard line and there's 17 points like that and they were a strong enough team to come back with eight minutes left in the fourth quarter and they're ahead 21-20.

Detroit is a much-improved team as well. When you take a look at the speculation of a team that went 2-14, it doesn't always coincide with a defense that was third in the National Football League setting all these records when the offense couldn't' stay on the field. That's amazing in itself, so our football team understands that. They know the job that we have at had and hopefully we practice and play accordingly.

On the rivalry with the Oakland Raiders:

Jay Cutler: You kind of sense it from the past, but it's a division game for us. It's an important one. We want to get to 2-0. They are a good, solid team, so we're going to have to step our game up again this week and execute even more.

On the Raiders opening game with the Lions:

Mike Shanahan: Like I said, sometimes when you're putting in a new offense, there's turnovers. When there's turnovers, you get three turnovers early and you're down 17-0 and you're (opponent) drives (begin) at the 13, 23, and 33, and they come back, that's pretty impressive.

You have to take a look at the whole game. You can't just take a look at the stats, and you have to take a look at how a team fights back. The Lions are better than people think they are.

On Oakland's defensive performance in its last game:

Jay Cutler: I was shocked when I saw that score because they were one of the top defenses in the NFL last year. They are excellent against the pass.

They've had some tough breaks on offense but scored a lot of points late. I thought they played really well through three quarters. Those things happen.

They are still a good defense with a talented secondary and linebackers that can really play, so they do present some challenges.

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