The Broncos and Raiders met earlier this year in the season opener, as Oakland emerged with a 23-20 victory. But as the two AFC West rivals get ready to meet again Sunday, Oakland Head Coach Hue Jackson admitted the Week 1 game film won’t aid his team’s preparation all that much.
“It’s like starting over,” Jackson said in a conference call earlier today. “This is a different game, a different quarterback.”
Tim Tebow watched from the sidelines during the Monday Night season opener but he’ll be the starter for Denver against the Raiders this time around.
The Raiders have some experience playing against Tebow, who started a game in Oakland in Week 15 of last season.
“I remember he was a passionate guy, a guy that played hard and competed out on the field,” Raiders defensive end Richard Seymour recalled. “We expect nothing less than that.”
Jackson hasn’t seen much of Tebow, but the first-year head coach sees plenty of potential in the young Denver signal-caller.
“They’ve got a quarterback who’s going to be in his third start, and some things take time, but I guarantee this young man knows how to play,” Jackson said. “He knows how to win, and at some point in time he’s going to catch on fire.”
The Raiders are hoping things start clicking for their own new quarterback as Carson Palmer enters just his second game with the franchise after a mid-season trade brought him in from Cincinnati.
Palmer replaces Jason Campbell, who was the starter in Oakland before suffering a season-ending collarbone injury in Week 6.
Seymour, one of the Raiders’ captains, said he gladly welcomed the new addition.
“You always have to get better. You always have to improve your football team,” Seymour said. “That’s what management did.”
Palmer made his debut for Oakland in the team’s last game against Kansas City, completing 8-of-21 passes for 116 yards to go along with three interceptions in a loss to the Chiefs.
A bye week following that loss allowed Palmer some extended time to learn the playbook and feel more comfortable in the Raiders’ offense.
“He’s picked up a little bit,” Jackson said. “Obviously, he’s been with us a little bit longer, so I think he’s starting to understand the system, how to play in it, how to play around his teammates and those types of things.”
The Raiders wasted no time bringing in another receiving threat for
Palmer — one who happens to be a familiar face — as the team announced the signing of veteran wideout T.J. Houshmandzadeh earlier today.
Jackson worked with Palmer and Houshmandzadeh when all three were part of the Bengals organization.
“I tried to get T.J. here during training camp, but we didn’t get it done then and obviously there is more of an opportunity now,” Jackson said. “I think it’s just coincidence that Carson is here and now they’re back together.
“He’s here because I think this guy can help us win football games.”