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Friday, September 20, 2013
Raiders sport variety pack in pass rush

By Jeff Legwold

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. -- When Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning looks over the Raiders' defense Monday night, he will be looking at a group that has gotten the bulk of its sacks from guys wearing jerseys with numbers in the 20s on the front.

The Raiders have nine sacks this season, and the team’s defensive backs have five. When the Broncos go to the three-wide look, which they most often do when they have the ball, it will put the Broncos' running backs on the spot in pass protection. That's especially true when the Raiders add a player or two to the rush from off the line of scrimmage.

Peyton Manning
The Broncos know pass protection will be crucial against the Raiders.
The Broncos backs have worked plenty this week on different scenarios to know who to pick up when those defensive backs arrive in the rush after the initial surge following the snap.

“They do a good job of freeing guys up,’’ said Broncos offensive coordinator Adam Gase. “ … We just better be on whatever blockings assignments we have. If one guy’s on the wrong page, we’ve got an issue.’’

It also won’t be a matter of simply sliding the protection to the rusher doing to the most damage, either. The Raiders have nine sacks distributed among seven players. Defensive end Jason Hunter has two to lead the way, and cornerback Tracy Porter (both are former Broncos) has 1.5.

“When you have multiple DBs on the field, you have multiple DBs rushing,’’ said Broncos coach John Fox. “ … They do do a lot of that.’’

Manning was not sacked last weekend against the Giants after being sacked three times in the season opener against the Ravens.