Peyton Manning and Denver: If It Happens, Oakland Must Respond

Oakland RaiderContributor IIIMarch 18, 2012

OAKLAND, CA - DECEMBER 16:  Peyton Manning #18 of the Indianapolis Colts scrambles during the game against the Oakland Raiders on December 16, 2007 at McAfee Coliseum in Oakland, California. The Colts won 21-14.  (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)
Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

It was reported by Adam Schefter of ESPN that the Denver Broncos were working out Peyton Manning. While there is no guarantee he will sign with Denver, the possibility is disturbing for Raiders fans all the same.

If Manning does sign with Denver, Oakland needs a contingency plan, to deal with the extra threat of having Manning as a divisional opponent. Some of these things are fixes the Raiders must make regardless of Manning signing with the Broncos or not, however if he does sign they become that much more important to address. 

Get a Pass-Rushing Linebacker

Now that the Raiders are one lighter at linebacker (parting ways with OLB Kamerion Wimbley on Friday), they need to find a pass-rushing linebacker.

While the linebackers they have now (Quentin Groves, Rolando McClain, Aaron Curry) are talented, the latter two are more like battering rams than pass-rushers who can come around the edge and get to the QB in different ways.

The good news is that the Raiders defensive line (even without John Henderson) is one of the best in the league. It has tough and talented veterans like Richard Seymour and Tommy Kelly, as well as younger talent like Matt Shaughnessy and Desmond Bryant.

This group will no doubt provide good pressure on any quarterback due to their tough play, but I still see the Raiders needing one more linebacker to complete the outfit. 


Improve at Cornerback


The cornerbacks on the Raiders aren't very talented. They aren't starting quality and probably won't be for some time.

They did sign ex-Ram Ronald Bartell, but there is still more work to be done. The NFL draft may be a venue the Raiders can look to in an effort to bolster this group.  

The good news for Raiders fans is the team already has good safeties in Michael Huff and Tyvon Branch, along with backup Mike Mitchell. That said, if Manning does join the AFC West, significant additions will be needed.


Add A FS/Promote Mike Mitchell

Currently the Raiders are set at SS, with Tyvon Branch being the young talent to anchor the secondary. However at the other safety position, things are rather shaky.

While Michael Huff (the assumed starter) re worked his contract to stay with the Raiders, I am still worried about the consistency of his play. Last year, with the injury of Hiram Eugene, Oakland brought in Veteran Matt Giordano, who filled in nicely. There was also talk of Huff moving back to CB, so all the more reason for the Raiders to find a solid free safety.

I think that the Raiders should go in house and promote Mike Mitchell. Tough, underrated, and the hardest hitter the Raiders have, I think he would thrive given the chance to start.