Open Thread: MNF Week 4 - Bears @ Cowboys

Enjoy the game, everyone!

Here are the inactive lists; Neil Hornsby breaks down the matchup for PFF; Benjamin Hoffman is picking the Cowboys.

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Walton to IR; Mays, Green activated; Mohamed waived

As expected, the Broncos have placed center J.D. Walton on injured reserve with a fractured/dislocated ankle.

Taking his place on the active roster will be linebacker Joe Mays, who returns after serving a one-game suspension for his Week 3 hit on Texans QB Matt Schaub.

Tight end Virgil Green, who is back working with the team after serving a four-game PED-use suspension, was also reinstated to the active roster.

Updated 7:59pm ET

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Now that’s more like it Lard

Good Morning, Broncos fans! For anyone spoiled by the Mike Shanahan Era in Denver, yesterday was how Broncos/Raiders games are supposed to go.

Peyton Manning, Willis McGahee, and Elvis Dumervil were absolutely dominant in a 37-6 thrashing of Oakland yesterday at SAF@MH (Gamebook, ANS box score).

Manning had spoken during the week about faring better in the first and third quarters of games, and his teammates clearly got the message. The Broncos tallied all but six of their points in those periods, scored a first-quarter touchdown for the first time all year, and unloaded for three touchdowns in the third quarter, turning what had been a tight game (on the scoreboard, at least) into a laugher.

But the game was never in much doubt.

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Gut Reaction: Week 4 - Broncos vs Raiders

When Peyton Manning joined the Broncos, this is the type of game fanatics had in mind.

The Broncos get an early lead.

They build on that lead running the ball.

Then, they let loose the angry hounds.

Who are the hounds?

The entire Broncos defense, which allowed the Raiders only one third-down conversion all game long.

And now Carson Palmer needs a rabies shot.

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Open Thread: Sunday Week 4

Enjoy the games, and Go Broncos! Here are the inactive lists for today's games.

Denver's inactives are G Chris Kuper, WR Matthew Willis, DT Sealver Siliga, QB Caleb Hanie, RB Knowshon Moreno, LB Nate Irving, and C/G C.J. Davis. As expected, WR Andre Caldwell is active for the first time as a Bronco, while Ronnie Hillman and Lance Ball again get the nod over Moreno. S Duke Ihenacho and LB Mike Mohamed, who were just added to the 53-man roster yesterday, will presumably play on special teams.

Oakland will be without QB Terrelle Pryor, CB Shawntae Spencer, T Khalif Barnes, OL Lucas Nix, TE Richard Gordon, WR Darrius Heyward-Bey, and DE Andre Carter.

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Streak-ending time Lard

Good Morning, Broncos fans! We're all too aware that the Broncos have lost four straight home games to the Raiders, and six of nine matchups regardless of location.

No figure has loomed larger in this matchup recently than Oakland RB Darren McFadden, who has racked up 510 yards from scrimmage and four touchdowns in his last three games against Denver, all Raiders wins. Injury kept the back out of their last meeting, when the Broncos won 38-24 in Oakland.

Obviously, the Broncos defense is well aware of the threat McFadden brings; fortunately for Denver, Oakland may be somewhat one-dimensional today due to a banged-up WR corps.

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Carter to IR; Ihenacho, Mohamed promoted

Second-year safety Quinton Carter was placed on IR and will undergo microfracture surgery next week on the same knee he had arthroscopically repaired during training camp.

With Joe Mays suspended for tomorrow's game against Oakland, two spots had opened on the active roster; Denver promoted safety Duke Ihenacho and linebacker Mike Mohamed to fill them.

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Digesting the Raiders

Week 4 will feature the much-hated traditional division rival Oakland Raiders coming into Mile High, still feeling good about their come-from-behind win over Pittsburgh. Denver is coming off a tough loss to the Houston Texans, falling short by six points for the second time in two weeks to teams that remain undefeated. Both the Broncos and Raiders see an opportunity to rack up a divisional win in the AFC West. Let’s go through the two teams.

Key Points: Oakland on Offense

The Raiders come in with the same 1-2 record that Denver has, with both teams’ wins having come against Pittsburgh. The Raiders have struggled to throw for distance, as shown by quarterback Carson Palmer’s 1-of-10 completions for 21 yards when throwing long (20 or more yards). He hasn’t thrown long for a TD, but has an interception when trying to go deep.

Darrius Heyward-Bey appears to have dodged a huge bullet after a frightening cervical injury last week, but he wasn’t helping them in the long game either. Denver should be able to maintain that tendency: Their pass rush appears stronger than the Raiders’ line, and cornerback Tracy Porter is expected to return to the lineup after a brief scare with what turned out to be a bruised knee.

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Hillman itching for more play Lard

Good Morning, Broncos fans! It was another fine day at Dove Valley yesterday, but not in the positive sense of the word.

Von Miller was slapped with a $15,750 penalty for his late hit on Matt Schaub, which preceded Joe Mays's own suspension-inducing hit on the quarterback by one play. Mays will still collect a game check tomorrow, but he was fined $50K. In his brief career, Miller has already been penalized with over $60K in fines.

Meanwhile, John Fox has formally appealed the ridiculous $30K fine he received for his behavior in Atlanta; Jack Del Rio is expected to follow suit regarding his $25K penalty.

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Fat Camp: Run defense is still important

Every time you turn around, somebody is reminding you that the NFL has become a passing league.  Through a combination of offense-friendly rule changes, innovative passing concepts, and vastly improved QB coaching at the high school and college levels (not to even mention the excellent private tutoring out there), passing offenses in the NFL are better and more efficient than ever.

I agree wholeheartedly that passing rules in the NFL.  It’s easy to hear that, and read it, and conclude that the running game doesn’t really matter, though, and that’s not the case.  In fact, I would say that the ability to be very sound in run defense is the most important factor in defending the pass. 

That may be tough to get your head around, but let’s explore the idea, by first beginning with offense.  The offense is going to do something, and all 11 guys generally know what that something is.  The defense is reading keys, and trying to figure out what it will be, but they never really know until the play is underway.  This is the fundamental advantage of the offense. 

Embed this thought - you can lose games just as easily on defense by failing to stop the run, as you can by failing to stop the pass.  The reason for that is because failure to stop the run very often causes failure to stop the pass.

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