Welcome to our Week 17 installment of “Behind Enemy Lines.” This week, James Arcellana answers five questions about the Oakland Raiders in the lead-up to Broncos – Raiders in Oakland on Sunday afternoon.
1) How would you say former Denver Broncos defensive coordinator Dennis Allen has done as the Oakland Raiders head coach?
It is hard to tell considering the rosters he has had to work with. When general manager Reggie McKenzie took over the football operations of the Raiders, they were in salary cap hell. As a result, he saddled Allen with bad rosters two seasons in a row. If he is given one more season, we will finally be able to tell how good, or bad, a head coach he is since the Raiders will finally be able to afford a real roster.
2) Rashad Jennings seems to be a dynamic runner; what’s his biggest strength and weakness?
His strength is his strength. He does not avoid contact and will often punish defenders rather than be punished. He breaks a lot of tackles and once he gets into the open field he has a nice little bit of speed to show off. His biggest weakness is that he cannot create a lot of plays. If the offensive line does not give him many holes, he is not the type to be able to break it out wide for a big gain anyway.
3) Middle linebacker Nick Roach leads the team in tackles and sacks; why should we know his name? What allows him to produce like he does?
Versatility. Roach, who began his NFL career as an outside linebacker, did not play in the middle until he was forced to when he played for the Chicago Bears after Brian Urlacher was injured. Since coming to the Raiders, he has shown himself to be a leader on the field and one of the most consistent producers on defense. He reads offenses well and can shed blocks. His only draw back is that he is not the kind to be a game-changer like some middle linebackers are.
4) How are Oakland fans at the moment? Their team has been bad or really bad for a decade now. Is there discontent? Jadedness? Apathy?
It runs the gauntlet. Everywhere from apathy to anger. There are fans calling for Dennis Allen’s head, there are fans calling for the heads of everyone including the owner, Mark Davis. And then there are the ones who are forever hopeful and are already focusing on what could be with a ton of cap space and a top 10 draft pick.
5) What’s your prediction of the game?
In my dreams, the Raiders pull out a close defensive battle. In the real world, the Raiders will likely keep it within two scores. But primarily due to the Broncos letting off of the gas after Manning has his records and the game is in hand.
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