ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — The 2-7 Raiders may not appear to be a scary opponent but they have a secret weapon.
In six appearances against the Broncos, Jacobs has posted nine touchdowns and more than 100 yards per game. Those numbers include a 144-yard performance earlier this season. Jacobs and the Raiders won all six of those games.
“We’re confident in our guys and how we can play the run game,” linebacker Singleton said. “We know what we can do and we have to show it.”
The Broncos showed they can stop the run last week when they held the NFL’s leading rusher, Derrick Henry, to 53 yards on 19 attempts. Denver has allowed the ninth-fewest rushing yards in the NFL this season. Beside their No. 1 passing defense and No. 1 total defense by points and yards, the ninth-best rushing defense is a bit of a letdown.
“It seems like we’ll do little bits and pieces of what we did last game (against Tennessee),” defensive lineman Dre’Mont Jones said.
One of those things was playing Dre’Mont Jones on the edge. He aligned as a standup outside linebacker for about 60% of the time he was on the field. That’s a new role for a defensive lineman best known for his ability to rush the passer from the middle of the field.
“It was cool. I haven’t done something like that since high school,” Jones said. “I’m used to it. I’m athletic enough to do it, so I wasn’t tripping about it.”
Still, playing a new position was a change.
“You can’t really drift as much because you don’t have outside help and you are the contain guy,” Jones said. “I like to—I wouldn’t say freestyle—but I like to take my shots when I can. I might jump a gap because I know I’ve got help.”
Part of the reason the Broncos moved Jones outside was a lack of options at outside linebacker. Randy Gregory and Baron Browning were hurt. Bradley Chubb had just been traded to the Miami Dolphins.
This week, Browning will be back but playing Jones on the perimeter against the run was successful enough that the Broncos will likely give him at least a little bit of run on the edge.
And if he does, Jones will be happy.
“I don’t know about full-time but I wouldn’t mind doing it half of my snaps,” Jones said.
If Jones spends significant time on the edge, which would provide significantly more bulk to the Broncos’ front, he’ll have a number of one-on-one opportunities with Jacobs.
“He’s excellent at breaking tackles,” defensive lineman Dre’Mont Jones said. “I think he’s ranked fifth overall in missed tackles [forced] so we’ve gotta be on our P’s and Q’s in that area.”
Jones was a little bit off. Jacobs is second in the NFL in missed tackles forced. He’s fifth in the league in yards after contact, which make up more than 70% of his production. For what it’s worth, only the Jaguars have missed more tackles against Jacobs than the Broncos this season. Nobody has given up more than the 117 yards after contact the Broncos allowed to Jacobs.
“It’s a get-back game, for sure,” Jones said.