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Thursday, September 19, 2013
Broncos read up on read-option -- again

By Jeff Legwold

Terrelle Pryor, Darren McFadden
Terrelle Pryor and Darren McFadden will bring Oakland's brand of the read-option offense to Denver.
ENGLEWOOD, Colo. -- Dennis Allen was the Denver Broncos defensive coordinator when the Broncos dropped the read-option offense, with Tim Tebow at quarterback, into the NFL’s lap.

The Broncos did it, for the first time in that 2011 season, in a November game against the Raiders. Denver rushed for 299 yards in a 38-24 win where the Oakland defenders were repeatedly fooled. Allen will bring the Raiders' own version of the scheme to Denver Monday night with Terrelle Pryor at quarterback.

“It’s probably good we’ve seen a lot of that type of offense,’’ said Broncos cornerback Chris Harris. “Against that type of offense, you just have to do your job, don’t get out of your spot because you’re trying to do something else. You just have to keep your eyes right.’’

The Raiders arrive in Denver leading the league in team rushing yards -- 198.5 yards per gam. Pryor has contributed 162 of those yards. Changes in the playbook has kick-started running back Darren McFadden as well, who's 177 rushing yards (4.9 yards per carry) is ranked fourth in the league.

“[McFadden] is an explosive weapon for us and we realized that was something we had to figure out how we were going to get him the ball, get him in space and get him opportunities to create some explosive plays for us,’’ Allen said.

The decision to add Pryor to that mix was a bit of a surprise given the Raiders traded two draft picks (a fifth-rounder in the 2014 draft and a conditional pick in 2015) to Seattle to acquire Matt Flynn. At the time Allen said Flynn had the skillset of a starting quarterback and would benefit from the change of scenery where Flynn had been beaten out by then-rookie Russell Wilson for the job with the Seahawks.

But the Raiders went to Pryor to open the regular season and with that came the team’s current approach. The Raiders will test the discipline of the Broncos’ defenders, particularly defensive ends Derek Wolfe, Robert Ayers and Shaun Phillips.

“I always thought I would start for the Oakland Raiders, I just didn’t know when,’’ Pryor said. “I know the process, I just had to take it one day at a time and get better and keep bringing a spark to the offense.’’

“It was really one of those decisions where the more you sat back and watched it, you just saw when he was in the game, he moved the offense down the field, we were able to score some points and it gave some energy to our whole football team,’’ Allen said. “I just felt he was a guy  … he gave us the best chance to move the team, he gave us the best chance to win some football games, it was simple as that really.’’