Broncos Cornerback Chris Harris, Jr.
It's no secret that the Denver Broncos have some players who are vocal with their opinions of other players and teams. Last time the Orange Crush were preparing for the Oakland Raiders, members of the Broncos had some unique descriptions of their opponents, but the Silver and Black weren't phased, and pulled out the 30-20 victory on primetime television for Sunday Night Football.
It's been seven weeks since the teams last met, and a lot has changed since then. The Raiders have clinched a spot in the playoffs and are contending for the division title, while the Broncos have officially been eliminated from the postseason. Even though Denver doesn't have anything on the line in the upcoming game, it should be a physical battle.
Heading into the showdown, here's a look at what the opponents are saying.
Broncos Head Coach Gary Kubiak
**Kubiak shared his thoughts on Raiders quarterback Matt McGloin, and praised the coaching staff for what they've been able to do with the team.
"I'm really impressed with the young man. I think every time he's been given the chance, he's done a really good job. I think Billy [offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave] has done a super job with him from a coaching standpoint. He's under center for a great football team and what they're capable of doing, I know it's a big opportunity for him, but we respect the football team and the job that [Head Coach] Jack [Del Rio] and the coaches have done. They have a really good group."
He elaborated on what the Silver and Black do that's so successful, and acknowledged the strong presence up front with the offensive line.
"Well, I mean, you never know. Obviously, they've been in the gun here a lot lately, but that was when Derek [Carr] was playing and coming off his hand. Now you have the adjustment with the new, young quarterback. I mean, I don't know. They're capable of doing everything. They're built really good. They're very talented across the board. [Offensive line coach] Mike Tice has done a super job with the front. They're very tough to deal with up front."
Kubiak broke down the similarities and differences between Raiders pass rushers Bruce Irvin and Khalil Mack.
"In a lot of ways, they're a lot alike; just two guys that can set the edge of the defense as good as anybody in football. They both can play the power game, too, which not many guys outside have the speed and the power. They make the defense go. If you can't handle them, then they're getting to your quarterback and bad things are happening. They've been exceptional to watch this year; two really good players on a team that defensively, Kenny [defensive coordinator Ken Norton, Jr.] has done a good job with. They work really hard, they play really hard."
Cornerback Chris Harris Jr.
Harris recalled the last time he faced off against McGloin, and what he'll expect to see come Sunday.
"We've played against him in the past before [Derek] Carr got there, so we have experience playing against him. We expect a big run game. We expect them to come out and start pounding us like they did the first time."
He was blunt when asked about the Raiders rushing attack last time they played, and said the team needs to be ready.
"Yeah, that definitely should piss off the D-line and linebackers and everybody up front to be able to know that, like you said, they could pound us. That should definitely make those guys up front mad and be able to shut it down."
Harris talked about what it's like squaring off against Raiders wide receivers Amari Cooper and Michael Crabtree.
"Oh yeah. We always have great matchups against them. I think we've done fairly [well], probably the best on those guys probably out of all the other secondaries around the league. We do a pretty good job versus those guys. It's going to be a great challenge, but we feel like we're always ready. We're always up to it when it comes to receivers."
Offensive Coordinator Rick Dennison
Dennison acknowledged the Raiders pass rush and their playmakers on the defensive side of the ball.
"I think so, that's their nature anyway. They've got really good players, especially on the two edges. Those guys are tremendous players, they impact the game, and we've got to do everything we can to control them to run it or throw it."