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Three-and-out: Bucky Brooks' observations from Raiders' Week 1 win

There is nothing like getting the first win of the season against a bitter division rival. The Raiders knocked off the Broncos 17-16 in a classic come-from-behind win that showed off the grit and toughness of Josh McDaniels' squad.

After taking some time to comb through the box score and examine the game tape, here are some observations from the eyes of a former NFL scout.

Jimmy G is the perfect fit

It is hard to find a quarterback with the physical tools and mental makeup that matches the franchise's "quarterback wish list". Garoppolo is exactly what the Raiders needed at QB1 in the Josh McDaniels era. The veteran is an efficient distributor with a quick trigger and an extraordinary feel for the game. Garoppolo fires the ball out to his pass catchers on the perimeter like a Blackjack dealer tossing out Aces and Jacks to his customers at the tables.

The veteran completed 20-of-26 pass attempts (76.9%) for 200 yards with two touchdowns and an interception for a 107.9 passer rating. And he did it while displaying the swagger, grit and leadership skills that have made him a locker-room favorite at his previous destinations.

"He's a good leader. He's won a lot of games in this league," Head Coach Josh McDaniels said. "I think the guys in the locker room know who they have and what this guy can do, how competitive he is. He's a very good leader. He's a great communicator. Just does what it takes to win.

"Doesn't care about his statistics or anything like that, it's just 'whatever I can do at my position to try to help the team win, I'm going to try to do it.' Super happy that he's a Raider."

When you sit down in the meetings with coaches, scouts and executives to outline the "must haves" at the quarterback position, the intangibles (intelligence, confidence, mental toughness) are more critical than the requisite physical tools (arm talent, athleticism and size). Garoppolo's poise, patience and perseverance stood out throughout the game, particularly in the fourth quarter when he rallied the team back to chalk up his career 12th fourth-quarter comeback win.

With the quarterback also shaking off a nasty hit to return to the lineup to guide his team to victory, he earned the locker room's respect with his toughness and tenacity in the season opener.

As the Raiders move forward with Garoppolo as the undisputed QB1, the team's belief in the veteran quarterback could push the team from good to great in the ultra-competitive AFC.

Maxx Crosby is a "one-man show"

The Raiders will eventually need a complementary pass rusher to emerge on the frontline to become an elite defense, but Maxx Crosby can hold it down on his own as his teammates continue to develop.

It is a role that the Pro Bowler has played in each of the past two seasons, with 20.5 sacks and 35 tackles for loss during that span, and he continued to shine as a one-man wrecking crew against the Broncos.

Crosby finished the game with five tackles, a sack and a pair of quarterback hurries while facing an assortment of double-team tackles and chip blocks at the point of attack. The veteran's relentless effort and tireless energy sparked a defense that held Russell Wilson and Co. to just 260 yards and 16 points on 58 offensive plays.

Given the importance of Crosby making an impact as a leader of the defense, the persistent pressure and scrappy performance from the former fourth-rounder set the tone for a defense that is built on toughness and effort under defensive coordinator Patrick Graham. Although No. 98 will need his teammates to pick up the pace as key contributors, the Raiders' top defender remains the key to a promising defense with destructive potential.

Jakobi Meyers impresses as a WR2

The addition of Meyers might have flown under the national radar, but the fifth-year receiver is an excellent complement to Davante Adams in the passing game.

The 6-foot-2, 200-pounder is a savvy route runner with sticky hands and sneaky running skills. He is comfortable playing inside or outside and displays a high IQ to adapt to a different role each week based on the game plan or matchup.

Against the Broncos, Meyers snagged nine balls for 81 yards with two scores on various back-shoulder fades, post-corners and digs (square-in) that showcased his talents and toughness as a high-end possession receiver. Though his yards-per-catch average (9.0) does not pop on the stat sheet, Meyers' willingness to do the dirty work will force opponents to abandon some of their exotic coverage tactics directed to Adams to limit the WR2's impact.

In addition, Meyers' ability to win outside versus one-on-one coverage will enable Jimmy G to continue to target him when opponents drop eight defenders into the box to contain Josh Jacobs on the ground.

As the Raiders continue to adapt and adjust to their personnel and how opponents are defending the 2023 version of this offense, Meyers' ability to make plays as a complementary weapon will help Adams and Jacobs find more room down the road.

View the best photos from the Raiders' Week 1 victory over the Denver Broncos at Empower Field at Mile High.

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