The Broncos began AFC West play Sunday at 2:25 p.m. against the Oakland Raiders. Here is a Week 2 whip-around:
Pressing question. How early and how often will the Raiders throw to receiver Amari Cooper?
It happens throughout an NFL season. A key receiver doesn’t get many opportunities one week and the coaching staff prioritizes him the next game.
Cooper had only one catch (three targets) in last week’s loss to the Los Angeles Rams. It was only the eighth time in 47 games he had fewer than two catches.
“If we had more first downs in the second half and had more time of possession, perhaps we would’ve seen more of Cooper,” Raiders coach Jon Gruden said. “But you look at the film, we had him wide open deep (on one play). We didn’t go there. He was open a couple of times and for whatever reason, we didn’t go that route. Yeah, we want to get him going. That’s easier said than done.”
The re-signing of speedy receiver Martavis Bryant may open things up for Cooper.
In six career games against the Broncos, Cooper has 17 catches for 160 yards and two touchdowns.
Spotlight players. The Raiders wasted no time acquiring defensive tackle reinforcements after they produced one sack in last week’s loss to the Los Angeles Rams.
Enter Johnathan Hankins and Clinton McDonald.
A five-year veteran, Hankins spent four years with the New York Giants and last year with Indianapolis. He has 12 sacks in 67 career games.
McDonald was with the Broncos in training camp until his release. He can provide an interior pass rush, including 8 1/2 sacks the last two years with Tampa Bay.
“(McDonald) fits what we do,” Raiders defensive coordinator Paul Guenther said. “He’s a good team player, he’s serious about his job and he loves football. Hankins, I followed his career and he’s a big guy (320 pounds) in there. He’s athletic for a big guy.”
Rookie Maurice Hurst and fifth-year veteran Justin Ellis will also play.
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More seats to Raiders game at Broncos Stadium available after Oakland returns tickets
Watch for … Broncos quarterback Case Keenum to play a cleaner game.
Keenum threw three interceptions against Seattle, leading to 14 Seahawks points. He also threw three touchdowns.
“We’re just scratching the surface,” offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave said. “Has Case gotten enough turns at these concepts to know what to do when it’s not there? Probably not. It’s learning on the fly. A couple of the looks in the game (last) Sunday, he had never seen before because it was just the first offseason we’ve ever had running these concepts.
“What we need to do a good job of as coaches is not giving them too much so we can get enough repetitive turns and not have 50,000 plays — maybe 50 — so we can get enough turns to where they know what to do when it’s not there.”
Injury report. Every Broncos player practiced fully on Friday.
“We’re lucky, obviously, (to playing) Week 2 in the season and to have everyone healthy and ready to go,” coach Vance Joseph said.