Editor’s note: This is the first part in a series that spotlights three Broncos-Raiders matchups to watch Sunday, 1:05 p.m., at O.co Coliseum.
Broncos WR Demaryius Thomas vs. Raiders CB Tarell Brown
Tale of the tape:
Thomas (88): 6-foot-3, 229 pounds, fifth season, Georgia Tech
Brown (23): 5-foot-11, 190 pounds, eighth season, Texas
Injuries have thinned the Raiders cornerbacks to Tarell Brown and a bunch of youngsters. He will likely play with rookie TJ Carrie and second-year pro DJ Hayden for a second straight week.
That means the Raiders hope Brown can handle his own. Brown has been the stabilizing presence the Raiders hoped for on the right side, playing solid in coverage. He’s allowed one touchdown in eight games and has avoided the big play.
On Sunday afternoon, Brown draws a tough assignment. Broncos receiver Demaryius Thomas is having another standout season working with quarterback Peyton Manning, with 54 catches for 894 yards and six touchdowns through eight games.
Thomas is fast and a solid route runner, but his size can also be an issue for a short set of Raiders cornerbacks. Brown isn’t small by any stretch, but he must neutralize Thomas’ size.
“I’m not going to give up all my secrets, but I will tell you this,” Brown said. “You have to disrupt timing. If he’s in perfect sync with a guy like Peyton Manning, big plays are going to happen. You have to make a receiver adjust and keep him from establishing a good rhythm.”
Brown needs to set a good standard for the younger players to follow or it could be a long day against Denver.
“The young guys are coming along well,” Brown said. “They listen and respond well. You just want to lead by example and try to help them and the defense as a whole by doing your job well.”