The Las Vegas Raiders could have problems with the Denver Broncos and their new dual threatÂ rushing duo in 2020.
The Raiders upgraded their linebacker corps and added depth to their defensive line. This will serve them well against the Broncos. Division wise, the AFC West has some talented running back groups but the Broncos will feature a Pro Bowler partnered with a newly acquired dual-threat. Judging from the numbers alone, the Raiders could have problems defending this flexible running attack next season.
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Phillip Lindsay, a back-to-back 1,000-yard rusher who received a Pro Bowl nod in 2018 will continue to be the featured back for offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur. In the offseason, Broncos general manager John Elway signed a long time Charger and two-time Pro Bowler Melvin Gordon to a two-year deal. Shurmur wants his running backs to contribute to the Broncos passing game, making the Gordon signing crucial to that plan.
The Raiders’ New Guy
Gordon rushed for 602 yards in 2019, a decrease from past seasons. He totaled 885 and 1,105 each of the prior two seasons, respectively. The benefit he brings to the Broncos is his pass-catching abilities which outweigh the low rushing numbers. Gordon’s 75.2% career reception is indicative of his reliability, 321 yards after the catch in 2019 also reinforces this.
Lindsay, for his part, will continue to carry the load as evidence by his 224 carries last year. A career reception percentage of 72.9% with 70 total receptions in two seasons proves he too is a weapon in the passing game. The five-foot-eight, 190 pound running back bruised for 408 yards after contact and broke 29 tackles last season. Needless to say, the Raiders defense will have its hands full, the linebackers will especially be stretched by this rushing attack. Gordon’s pass-catching talent means he’ll have to be neutralized on every down. Meanwhile, Lindsay can rush to either the outside or down the middle with a linebacker having to account for Gordon.
We’ll have to wait and see if Raiders defensive coordinator Paul Guenther will make the right in-game adjustments when facing this divisional foe. As we’ve stated before, this could be Guenther’s “prove it” year, and if he’s unable to beat the Broncos what could that mean for his future as the Broncos are trending upwards.
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