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Raiders-Broncos Week 4 preview: Patrick Graham readies for Russell Wilson

The Las Vegas defensive coordinator and the Denver quarterback have a deep history.

NFL: San Francisco 49ers at Denver Broncos
Russell Wilson, Klint Kubiak
Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

Russell Wilson’s adjustment to the Denver Broncos hasn’t been pretty as he and the entire offense has been uneven thus far.

The reality is Wilson hasn’t looked like a quarterback who was worth the massive trade compensation and subsequent huge contract the Broncos surrendered to get him to be their first franchise quarterback since Peyton Manning.

Yet, as the Las Vegas Raiders prepare to host Wilson and the Broncos on Sunday at Allegiant Stadium in a 1:25 p.m. PT kickoff, Las Vegas defensive coordinator Patrick Graham is expecting to face the Wilson we saw over the years with the Seattle Seahawks.

“Russell has a lot of experience of running the offense, truly a check-with-me quarterback, where he could call the play, get them in and out of plays at the line of scrimmage, and the experience he has with that,” Graham told reporters this week. “No different than some of the other veteran quarterbacks, they’ve seen everything. They’ve seen you play two- high, they’ve seen you play single-high and spin to two-high. They’ve seen all that stuff. So, that’s always interesting when you’re playing a veteran quarterback like that, especially someone that’s played at such a high level.”

Graham has known and admired Wilson for years. Wilson was a ball boy at Richmond for a time when Graham was an assistant coach there from 2004-06. Wilson’s older brother, Harry, played at the school.

“I knew him when he was a kid ... he had these big hands, and he could throw the ball. He threw ball better than our quarterback – I don’t want to say that. (Former Richmond Quarterback) Stacy Tutt would get mad at me if I said that. Stacy, I didn’t mean that,” Graham said.

“But he could throw the ball pretty good when he was a young kid. And I think just the ability to throw the ball deep and the accuracy with it. He throws a very catchable ball, that’s one thing that stands out just over the years with him ... I think he remembers me. I’m pretty sure he remembers me. I just remember he could throw the ball pretty good, and I was like, ‘This guy is in like eighth grade or whatever.’ He was always a good player.”