This matchup could be very interesting given what has transpired this week. Bruce Irvin has only had a few decent games in an otherwise down year for the Raiders’ pass rusher. He just saw the biggest reason for him coming to the Raiders in defensive coordinator Ken Norton Jr. get fired on Tuesday. Look for Irvin to either play mad with a chip on his shoulder or tune out interim defensive coordinator John Pagano completely.
Lining up opposite of him is Broncos’ first-round pick in 25-year-old left tackle Garett Bolles. Denver absolutely needed help up front in the draft, but Bolles has only been marginal in his first season out of Utah. He has brought to some degree stability on the blind side, but how high is Bolles’ NFL ceiling exactly?
We also need to keep in mind that Bolles has battled through injury throughout much of his first season in the league. Let’s not forget that Denver will be using a new offensive coordinator this week in Bill Musgrave, who takes over for a fired Mike McCoy in Denver.
In short, if Irvin plays angry, he will match his best game of the season, which coincidentally was Denver in Denver back in Week 4. However should he not be on board with the new direction of the Raiders’ defense, he could mail it in and Bolles could gain confidence in stopping a solid NFL pass rusher in Irvin on Sunday.