When facing the Oakland Raiders and their pass rush, the Broncos will roll out what they believe is the offensive line to stem any pass rush. With that said, below, the five players that the Raiders will encounter at the line of scrimmage.
LT Garret Bolles
The third-year player can be best described as a dancing bear. That is to say, he possesses excellent footwork. Regardless of run and pass Bolles can give the Raiders trouble will his ability to meet wide rushing ends with ease. In addition, he displays the nasty streak that coaches desire in offensive linemen. With a slow-footed quarterback like Joe Flacco, Bolles will keep him somewhat vertical. However, Bolles will accrue penalties at alarming rate. In 2018, he earned thirteen flags, ten for holding. If the Raiders win this one-on-one early, Bolles could lose focus.
“I’ve just got to be myself. I can’t get too high with the highs or too low with the lows. I’ve just got to be consistent. At the end of the day, it’s football. It’s a job. It’s the greatest job I could ever ask for,”
LG Dalton Risner
Overall, Risner’s demeanor matches Bolles. However, in execution, the rookie from Kansas State, brings a different approach. Unlike Bolles, who will grab, Risner will punch, with force and technique. Although he is not blessed with elite athleticism, he counters with savvy, power and nuance for the game. Whether he’s pulling on fighting in a phone booth, Risner will not back down. Hankins, Hurst, and company will need to combat his toughness with athleticism, forcing his off-balance.
C Connor McGovern
While not a natural center, McGovern slides in to replace Matt Paradis. As a result, look for the Raiders to immediately test his mettle. Paul Guenther requires his nose tackle to bully the center. Blessed with decent strength, McGovern will require help to handle Johnathan Hankins. Hankins’ size and power will collapse the field and constrict running lanes. On passing downs, he could see PJ Hall and Corey Liuget. Either way, this matchup favors Oakland.
“They kind of told me that there is a chance we bring in somebody and there is a chance we don’t. Once free agency cleared itself up, then I focused solely on center.”
RG Ronald Leary
After signing a 36-million dollar deal, Denver anticipates Leary to solidify the right side of the and the interior. In Dallas, Leary played exceptionally well, mixing heady play and a penchant for fluidity. The Raiders, understanding that zone runs will serve as a vital part of the Denver offense, must find a quicker way to defeat Leary. If not, look for Lindsay and Freeman to run to the right side frequently.
“I wanted to stay at right guard last year and I made that known to the coaches, but they decided to move me to left (guard).”
RT Ja’Waun James
Much like Trent Brown, an AFC West team forked over a large sum for him to play the right side tackle spot. Unlike Brown, James endured a cavalcade of shoddy quarterback play in Miami. In Denver, even Joe Flacco, at this stage, remains quite the upgrade. On the right side, James fully intends to meet the Raiders with power. If Clelin Ferrell or Arden Key flip sides, James will use the same approach with each. Granted, Ferrell shows more power potential than Key. Yet, James, needs to lock in, early in the play. Any hesitation and the Raiders will get home.
Despite Joe Flacco and a suspect receiving corps, the Broncos’ offensive line can and probably will give the Raiders fits. In return, the Raiders should enjoy the quickness advantage on the left side and the power in the middle. The question remains if Oakland can bait Garret Bolles into holding.