Raiders may (or may not) see different Denver plan

"I don't think so. We've had games where we've dropped nine and had success. It's just a matter of guys being in the right position. Miami has corners that like to bump guys. Over here, we don't have that luxury." -- Denver linebacker John Mobley

 

The Miami Dolphins employed a steady diet of man coverage with pressure to defeat the Oakland Raiders 23-17 Sunday.

            Will we see the Denver Broncos alter their plans Sunday when they visit Oakland?

            "At this point, we don't know," Raiders wide receiver Tim Brown said. "We expect them to play more man. They've been playing more man defense lately but with (safety) help over the top."

            The answer to that question bears watching since the last two times the teams have played Oakland quarterback Rich Gannon has seemingly had enough time to read the New York phonebook. Gannon has foiled Denver's strategy that often featured rushing two defenders and dropping nine into coverage.

            Brown might think the Broncos will change their strategy but not if you listen to Denver outside linebacker John Mobley.

            "I don't think so," Mobley said. "We've had games where we've dropped nine and had success. It's just a matter of guys being in the right position. Miami has corners that like to bump guys. Over here, we don't have that luxury."

            The Broncos previous strategy of only rushing two men, however, could play right into Gannon's hands. Gannon is the type of quarterback who is patient and willing to take what the defense gives him all day even if it comes in short chunks.

In the last three head-to-head meetings, two Oakland wins, Gannon has completed 94-of-121 passes (77.6%) for 907 yards, nine touchdowns and two interceptions. Since the Dolphins had success disrupting the Raiders' timing, one would think Denver might be compelled to push the envelope.

"We just have to be prepared no matter what they do," Oakland wide receiver Jerry Rice said. "We've got to mix it up and when we get the opportunity we have to capitalize. (Denver defensive coordinator) Ray Rhodes is a smart coach."

 

Vince D'Adamo can be reached at vdad7@yahoo.com


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