Raiders practice in full pads Wednesday afternoon, anticipate pivotal weekend hosting Denver.
The Oakland Raiders hit the field Wednesday afternoon for their first full practice of Week 5 as they started preparations for their first AFC Western Division opponent of the 2015 season. The Denver Broncos come to town sitting atop the division with a 4-0 record. The Raiders, 2-2, are currently in 2nd place. If the Raiders are going to achieve Head Coach Jack Del Rio's stated goal of winning the division, they are going to have to start with knocking off the defending division champs.
"It's one game. It's a division game, so they count a little more than just one," Coach Del Rio said. "It's the first of six division games that we're going to have this year. We get them at home and it's going to be a heck of a challenge."
Raiders quarterback Derek Carr, who completed 48 of 83 pass attempts for 376 yards, 3 TDs and 3 INTs in 2 games against the Broncos last season, said a win against the Broncos Sunday would go a long way for the Silver and Black.
"It would be huge. Obviously, it's a division game, the first one of the season. I've played against them twice. I know the talent that they have," Carr said. "They're obviously very talented everywhere on that defense. We have our work cut out for us, but we're excited to compete."
Center Rodney Hudson came over to the Raiders from the Kansas City Chiefs. He is familiar with the Broncos, the AFC West rivalries and the importance of winning in the division.
"Every game is important, especially division games, you play these teams twice, it's always important to get these wins," Hudson said. "They have a lot of really good players, they play well together."
The Broncos have won the AFC West the past four years in a row. Despite a coaching change, the Broncos are off to an undefeated start. Gary Kubiak takes over for John Fox, and Wade Phillips has come in as the defensive coordinator. The Broncos currently have the top ranked defense in the NFL.
"Wade has done a nice job his entire time in the league and he's doing a nice job to start the year," Coach Del Rio said. "There's a lot of talent and Wade does a nice job with what he does. He's got a lot of experience in the league and they're off to a fast start."
The Raiders have lost seven straight to the Broncos dating back to 2011 and have not defeated them in the three seasons Peyton Manning has been their starting quarterback. Linebacker Aldon Smith will be facing the Broncos as a Raider for the first time. He could be a key component in the Raiders solving the Manning dilemma and snapping the streak.
"[Manning is] a savvy vet quarterback, very smart back there, does a good job of finding his receivers, he makes good decisions, we just have to make it hard for him," Smith said.
Defensive end Benson Mayowa, who has been out since the end of the preseason with a knee injury, returned to practice today. Cornerback Keith McGill, who recorded a defensive touchdown at Denver last year, returned to practice after missing last week with a foot injury. A total of 13 players are on the Raiders injury report. Click here to view.
Song of the Day
Nothing Else Matters by Metallica was definitely something different at practice today. Heard during individual drills, the track from the 1991 self-titled album was rare heavy metal in the heavy hip-hop mix.