CENTENNIAL, Colo. -- The Oakland Raiders represent a delicious challenge: quarterback Derek Carr vs. the Broncos' No Fly Zone. Carr remains firmly in the NFL MVP conversation. And the Broncos can argue they possess the NFL's best secondary. But will they have all players at their disposal on Sunday?
The back injury that prevented cornerback Aqib Talib from playing last week could prevent him from facing the Oakland Raiders. Talib, 30, missed practice Wednesday, and is inching toward a game-time decision. Talib is expected to get more info on his injury to create a road map going forward. Talib thought he would play against the Chargers, but woke up Saturday sore and unable to go, pushing Bradley Roby into the starting lineup.
Center Matt Paradis, who told Denver7 he believes he will play and wants to work out at least once this week, watched practice along with left tackle Russell Okung (likely rest day). And linebacker Brandon Marshall (hamstring) and Devontae Booker (shoulder) made progress, practicing Thursday.
#Broncos Kubiak said "has good vibe" from training staff that Talib might be ready. Has not been ruled out @DenverChannel
The good news for the Broncos is Roby played the best game of his career against San Diego, earning AFC Defensive Player of the Week honors after posting seven tackles and a pick six. Talib, however, ranks among the league's top corners this season. He brings unique length, and provides swagger and a soundtrack to the defense. The Broncos didn't need Talib to beat San Diego, but Oakland features two strong receivers in Amari Cooper and Michael Crabtree. When the Broncos had three terrific corners -- Chris Harris Jr., Talib and Roby -- the math worked in their favor. If Talib can't go, the pressure falls back on Roby.
“They’re a pair of good receivers just like a lot of the receivers we’ve played this year. They’re no slouches, no slacking. I look forward to another game where there are some competitive guys out there," Roby said. "Every team is going to have good receivers in this league. It’s the NFL. No game is a break. I don’t really get too personal when I watch film. I don’t refer to guys by their names. I refer to them by their numbers. It helps me just not listen to what media says about people. It’s what I’m seeing on the field from these guys that’s the truth, that’s how I separate who’s good and who’s elite. It doesn’t matter. It’s just whatever you’re doing on tape.”