As though Head Coach Mike Shanahan needed more evidence to support his facts about the recent success of 0-4 teams in their fifth game, the early afternoon games brought these results to remind all about the danger that a winless team poses:
- Tampa Bay 14, Cincinnati 13
- Tennessee 25, Washington 22
- Detroit 20, Buffalo 17
Of course, the latter two results involved teams that had gotten to 0-5 before turning it around, but the point of Shanahan’s statistical emphasis this week remains clear: winless teams are not to be taken lightly, no matter how lopsided some of their losses have been.
“He only brought it up once; it doesn’t take but one time to get the point across,” He did a good job of letting us know what the history is of 0-4 teams. I think that is good, because it increases our awareness of what can happen. We don’t want that to happen.”
The Broncos had many reasons to take the Raiders seriously heading into tonight. The record of winless teams in their fifth game — now up to 16-10 since 1999 after the Bucs’ win. The rivalry with the Raiders and its historic tendency to produce unpredictable results. Both of those actually favored the Broncos seven years ago in Oakland, when the 0-4 Broncos turned back the Raiders 16-13 one week after Terrell Davis suffered the knee injury that would change his career forever.
Now, with the results earlier today, they’ve got another.
Other early pre-game tidbits as scattered players begin warming up on the field:
… The blue pants are back for a curtain call, six days after the Broncos brandished them against Baltimore. Denver is 2-1 in the blue pants in the regular season, but has never worn them outside of Monday Night Football until today.
… A contrast in defensive coordinators: Oakland’s Rob Ryan is animated, often gesturing wildly on the sidelines to get points across to his charges. Denver’s Larry Coyer is quiet; he sits in the booth, calls plays from above and lets his position coaches handle the sideline work. One can’t argue with either method, as these are two of the league’s better defenses in many key indicators.
Coyer prefers the view from up top.
“It’s a calmer, quieter situation and I’m able to put down information that may help (the players),” he said. “Sometimes on the sideline you get caught up with the emotion and you become emotional and you’re not coaching properly. My job is to see and make corrections and do the things we need to do to win, and their job is to play. My job is to stay out of their way and help them.”