We’re nearly 24 hours away from the start of the 2023 season for the Silver and Black. The Las Vegas Raiders open the year with a matchup against an all-too-familiar foe, the Denver Broncos. The last time these two teams met, a certain disregarded quarterback dropped a dime to Davante Adams for a walk-off touchdown.
As far as this season and the team’s new signal-caller go, should we expect a slugfest in Denver on Sunday afternoon? Let’s take a look. I mean, you’re not here for the obvious, right?
Let’s get spicy.
Raiders QB Jimmy Garoppolo Earns A Standing Ovation!..
…From Bronco fans after throwing three interceptions.
Garoppolo is already familiar with the formidability of the Denver defense. In Week 3 of the 2022 season, he was on the losing end of a Sunday night matchup with Russ’ Riders. The former 49ers “franchise QB” finished the night with 211 yards passing, completing 18 of 29 passes for one touchdown, an interception, and whatever the hell this was. The 11-10 final score is hard to look at, but not as hard as Jimmy G casually backpedaling into an unforced safety.
Garoppolo played just one series during the preseason this year and missed a good amount of camp time recovering from foot surgery. Familiarity with head coach Josh McDaniels system be damned—rust is real. Especially when you have as much gray as film star Jim Bob. Questionable mobility, a lack of real field time over the last year, and a hungry Denver defense kicking the season off?
Jah Bless, Jimbo. Jah Bless.
Good Will Hunting: Hunter Renfrow Leads Team In Receiving
When you consider the amount of attention the receiver next to him gets, this may not seem like such a hot take. But to paraphrase a famous baboon from the greatest animated movie of all-time, think hardaaaa. Don’t forget that the Raiders dumped a ton of cash into former Patriots wideout Jakobi Meyers this offseason.
That was before spending second- and third-round picks on tight end Michael Mayer and receiver Tre Tucker, respectively. Couple that with a major letdown season in 2022, especially against Denver, and it becomes easy to see how Renfrow could get lost in the shuffle.
But this writer says nay! I anticipate Hunter forming a fast bond with Jimmy Garoppolo in this offense. Put the Clemson alum in the slot and let him work the intermediate part of the field better than few can. Number 13 should be the safety valve until Mayer is fully acclimated to the scheme and speed of the league.
Malcolm Koonce Finishes With Two Crucial Sacks
Las Vegas will be without Chandler Jones this Sunday. This will open up major snaps for not just rookie first-rounder Tyree Wilson but also Buffalo alum Malcolm Koonce. The three-year veteran flashed throughout the preseason when given the opportunity.
Tyree Wilson is still coming along physically, and I don’t see him filling a full-time starting role against the Broncos. He’ll likely split time with Malcolm Koonce. Honestly, I wouldn’t be surprised if Koonce gets the start for the #Raiders. https://t.co/WrvWNjczmU
— Tashan Reed (@tashanreed) September 8, 2023
While all eyes will be on the aforementioned Wilson, what offensive tackle will he power slam while completely ignoring the opposing quarterback this week?
Koonce should be primed for a breakout performance if we’re being honest. We know Maxx Crosby will attract plenty of attention from the other end. The former third-rounder will make the most of it, bringing down Ciara’s cameraman for two big sacks.
*Top Photo: Las Vegas Review-Journal