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What players and coaches are saying ahead of the Raiders, Broncos week two match-up

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NFL: Oakland Raiders-OTA Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

This Sunday the Raiders will be looking to rebound as they head to Denver to battle the division rival Broncos. The Raiders have had a sour taste in their mouth all week after a complete second half meltdown on Monday night football.

The Broncos opened the 2018 campaign with a 27-24, home victory over the Seattle Seahawks. Sports Authority Field at Mile High has not been a great place to play for the Raiders. The Broncos have won five of the last six home games versus the Raiders. Derek Carr in particular has struggled in his three career games at Denver. Carr has a 1-2 record in mile high, averaging 145 yards passing, completing only 48 percent of his passes.

Let’s not forget it was in Denver, last season when Derek Carr left the game early after suffering a transverse process fracture.

A key to the game will be how the Raiders left and right tackles hold up against edge rushers Von Miller and Bradley Chubb. The duo combined for three and half sacks in week one. The reviews were positive for rookie left tackle, Kolton Miller and Donald Penn, as he makes the transition to right tackle.

One other interesting thing to keep an eye on is the return of Martavis Bryant. Coach Gruden said earlier in the week, “We’ll see where he is in terms of his assignments. We’re going to give him plenty of opportunity to play.”

This game is critical not only because the Raiders don’t want to get off to a 0-2 start but also because it’s a divisional game.

Let’s take a look at what players and coaches from both teams are saying about the match up.

Head Coach Jon Gruden, when asked if anything stood out about the Broncos on tape.

Keenum. I think Case Keenum at the end of the year might be the No. 1 acquisition in football. I think he’s a great quarterback. What he did last year, the performance that he had down in Minnesota. He solidifies them at that position. They struggled last year. They went through a lot of different quarterbacks. I know he had couple of interceptions last week, but this kid can really play. He’s a great competitor. They have outstanding receivers. Look, they’ve always had a great defense. When they have had stability at quarterback, they’ve proven they can win a world championship. We’ll have our hands full, I know that. We’re excited to get ready.”

Derek Carr, on the challenges the Denver defense presents.

“I mean obviously you got to protect. You got to protect against Von and do those things. Myself, I got to take care of the ball with their good defensive backs. Whenever you play a team like this, it’s always about the ball. You got to take care of the football which is something we have been able to do well around here for some years. Something we can do better though. Obviously, after last week. We will. We are going to do that better. Making sure that you stay on schedule because you get in those long distances, let their cover guys cover and let Von come off the edge free and those kinds of things. Now they have Bradley Chubb, a top five pick, who is a good player. It’s kind of similar when they had DeMarcus and Von. They have another rusher and Von…And they try and take some pressure off him. You just got to take care of the ball and stay on schedule. The normal, cliché things that are actually really good coaching points that you have to do.”

Offensive coordinator Greg Olson on what Raiders tackles are up against facing Denver’s pass rushers

“Big challenge, obviously, last week for our interior guys against the Rams. Against the Broncos certainly those edge players, both Donald and Kolton will have their hands full. I just had mentioned to Donald out on the practice field, we felt as a coaching staff that he really didn’t look out of place at right tackle. We thought there might be some growing pains but really from the first day that we moved him there he looked natural playing the right tackle position. In conversations I had with him he said, ‘I still don’t feel completely comfortable.’ He said, ‘I felt better than I thought I would initially.’ We were happy with how he played. He played aggressive. He played the entire game but looked natural at the right tackle.”

Von Miller, on what he has seen from tackles, Kolton Miller and Donald Penn.

Donald Penn can play any position on the line. 77 is a beast. He was the best tackle in this year’s draft. I’ve always said the Raiders have the best offensive line in football. They made it a whole lot better with the Miller kid.”

Broncos Head Coach Vance Joseph, when asked if the addition of Martavis Bryant affects how you prepare for the Raiders offense.

“Well, I mean he gives them a serious vertical threat. I mean this guy over the years has made big plays in the screen game and obviously on the long ball. I faced him six or seven times when I coached in Cincinnati and he always made a big play on us. He’s obviously a matchup problem so we have to have a plan when he is in the game to play him top-down.”