Broncos rule out Aqib Talib for showdown at Oakland
ENGLEWOOD, Colo. (AP) — The Denver Broncos will be without Pro Bowl cornerback Aqib Talib for their Sunday night showdown with the Oakland Raiders.
Talib was sent for a cortisone injection in his lower back Friday and coach Gary Kubiak said he was optimistic that will help Talib return to the field soon.
Talib missed Denver’s 27-19 victory over San Diego last week when his back stiffened during the team’s walkthrough the day before the game. He missed practice all of this week and traveled to California on Thursday for a second opinion on his back, which began bothering him two weeks ago.
Bradley Roby started in his place last week and earned the AFC’s defensive player of the week honors after making seven tackles, two pass breakups and a pick-6 of Philip Rivers.
Roby said Sunday night’s game, which pits two 6-2 teams and marks a revival of the rivalry that had faded in recent years — along with the Raiders’ fortunes — marks “another opportunity for me to go out and show what I can do and help this team win.”
He’ll team with Chris Harris Jr. to cover Michael Crabtree and, if he plays, Amari Cooper, who have accounted for 99 catches, 1,356 yards and eight touchdowns. Cooper is questionable with a back injury.
“We just need the young guys to continue to step up,” Harris said. “They don’t have to do too much, just play their role. We still like our matchups, me and Robe and Doss or Kayvon, whoever plays, and so we feel like we can still cover them.”
Kayvon Webster (hamstring) returned to practice Friday and is questionable for the game. He got hurt after just a handful of snaps last week, and Lorenzo Doss stepped into the slot and had two big pass breakups, including a deflection on fourth-and-goal from the 2 with 2:40 remaining.
“We’ve seen Doss, he’s been around the ball forever,” Harris said. “I don’t even worry about Doss because he’s like a ball magnet. He’s just got those natural instincts that you can’t coach.
“This is a perfect game for him to get a lot of picks. He could have had two last week, and then just think about it: nobody would be talking about being nervous that Talib’s out because the dude just had two picks last week.”
The equalizer to losing Talib this weekend, Harris suggested, is having pass rusher DeMarcus Ware back from a broken arm to pressure Raiders QB Derek Carr.
“Having D-Ware back, that kind of takes away any of the losses, having that pressure right there,” Harris said. “As long as we get a lot of pressure on this dude, that’s what it’s about.”
Ware returned last week after a six-week absence, but said he was only about 70 percent. This week, he proclaimed himself 100 percent.
“The moves that I did were more speed-type moves, just bending, ripping, going around the corner, trying to get to the quarterback and not using that arm when it came to power moves,” Ware said. “Now, I can.”
The secondary digging so deep into its depth is of little concern to star pass rusher Von Miller.
“I’m not worried about any of those guys,” Miller insisted. “We’ve got the best secondary in the National Football League ... It’s still the No Fly Zone.”
The Broncos also are expecting to get back inside linebacker Brandon Marshall from a pulled left hamstring that sidelined him last week.
“It’s doing a lot better,” Marshall said. “I’m feeling good. I’m excited to be out there with my brothers again.”
Also back is defensive coordinator Wade Phillips, who suffered a broken rib when he was plowed over by San Diego running back Melvin Gordon during Roby’s interception return for a touchdown.
Phillips will likely coach from the booth rather than the sideline for just the second time as a coordinator. The other time came in Houston after he had his gall bladder and a kidney removed.
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