Notebook: Raiders Look To Get Ground Game Rolling Against Broncos Defense

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Running Back DeAndré Washington

Sunday night's matchup at the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum has all the makings of a good, old-fashioned battle between a high-flying offense, and a stout defense.

A young, explosive quarterback, who's arguably playing the best football of his career? Check.

One the most-dynamic defensive players in the NFL, fresh off being named the Super Bowl 50 MVP? Check.

A pair of coordinators who have a combined 50-plus seasons of coaching experience? Also check.

The Raiders boast the No. 5 offense in the NFL, and the Broncos and their No. 3 ranked defense will likely present the biggest challenge the Silver and Black have seen thus far in 2016, but if there is one area where Wade Phillips' group has struggled this season, it's been stopping the run.

Through their first eight games of the regular season, the Broncos defense is allowing just north of 117 yards per game on the ground, and that penchant for allowing yardage on the ground – even with Von Miller in the mix – is something that the Raiders corps of running backs is aware of.

"The plan has been all week that we understand how fast they flow, and how fast they react, and their athletic ability that they have on the field," said running back Jalen Richard. "Obviously, they have Von Miller, so we have to get as many people to touch him before he gets going. Whenever he gets going, it's hard for any offensive lineman to get their hands on him. He's one heck of an athlete, so we're going to try to get as many hands on him, as far as pass blocking and run blocking to slow him down, and just run right at him."

Since Latavius Murray returned from injury two weeks ago, the Raiders ground attack has been performing at a high level, and particularly with the talent that the Broncos secondary possesses, keeping the Denver off balance will be at a premium Sunday night.

Over the past two games – both which ended in wins for the Silver and Black – the Raiders have totaled at least 125 yards on the ground, and while the team's stable of running backs has no doubt been playing well, DeAndré Washington believes a lot of the credit goes to the offensive line.

"A lot of that credit goes to the guys up front but I think we're definitely making progress, and doing some good things in the run game," Washington said.  "Guys just meshing. We're kind of a little more comfortable with the o-line, the o-line is a little more comfortable with us. They know what to expect of us. We know what to expect of them."

Kickoff against the Broncos is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. PT.

Injury Report:

G/T –Vadal Alexander – Ankle – Limited – Questionable

WR – Amari Cooper – Back – Limited – Questionable

C – Rodney Hudson – Knee – Limited – Questionable

RB – Taiwan Jones – Knee – Limited – Questionable

DT – Stacy McGee – Ankle – Did not participate – Out

FB – Jamize Olawale – Ankle – Limited – Questionable

G/T – Kelechi Osemele – Knee – Limited – Questionable

CB – Sean Smith – Shoulder – Limited – Questionable

T – Menelik Watson – Calf – Limited – Questionable

Notable:

-Another day, another accolade for Derek Carr, as the Raiders quarterback was voted the Castrol Edge Clutch Performer of the Week, the NFL announced Friday.

-The Raiders offense received a bit of good news before Friday's practice, as Head Coach Gary Kubiak officially ruled cornerback Aqib Talib out of Sunday night's matchup at the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum with a back injury.

-As far as the Silver and Black's health is concerned, following the team's Fast Friday session, defensive tackle Stacy McGee was ruled out of the Week 9 matchup.

-After missing Wednesday's practice with a shoulder injury, cornerback Sean Smith was able to practice in a limited capacity both Thursday and Friday, and is officially listed as questionable for the matchup against the Broncos.

Quotable:

Head Coach Del Rio shared his excitement about the team playing on Sunday Night Football:

"Anytime you're going to be under the lights, regardless of the records, I think you get a little fired up for that. Divisional opponent, you know, playing for early season positioning, it's all exciting. But really for us, it's got to be about just the process of preparing."

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