Raiders' Moss gets new look at Broncos rivalry
Jarvis Moss spent the first 31/2 years of his NFL career in Denver, where beating the Oakland Raiders was always a goal.
Now he gets his first chance to experience this AFC West rivalry from the other side when his former team comes to Oakland on Sunday to take on the Raiders (6-7).
Moss has been looking to this game ever since signing with the Raiders last month, but knows his team has bigger goals than just his personal revenge.
"I definitely knew when this game was coming, but at the same time I didn't want to make it about that," Moss said Wednesday. "I just wanted to keep trying to get better and learn here and just do what I can to contribute. I really don't want to make it about how I'm playing my old team because it's definitely not what it's about. It's about us winning out, starting with this game."
The Raiders need to bounce back after losing 38-31 at Jacksonville last week in a game that seriously damaged their playoff hopes. Oakland likely needs to win its final three games and get help from Kansas City (8-5) and San Diego (7-6) in order to make the playoffs.
The Broncos (3-10) seem to be the perfect opponent to do it against, having lost 18 of 23 games since starting last season 6-0 under former coach Josh McDaniels.
Moss went from the high of that fast start to the depths of this season as Moss got released a few weeks before McDaniels was fired.
"Any team that can start off the season 6-0, yeah you're riding pretty high," Moss said. "You know, that's pretty hard to do in this league. It was a good situation. It's kind of hard to believe how downhill it went after that. It's hard to point the finger. You know, it's this person's fault, or that person's fault, it's a team thing, an organization thing. It went downhill from there and that's things that they have to figure out."
Perhaps the low point came in the most recent edition of this rivalry, when the Raiders set a franchise record for points in a 59-14 win at Denver on Oct. 24 that still stings the Broncos.
Moss was on the losing side of that game and knows his former teammates will want to avenge that defeat.
"I know those guys over there in the locker room. They want to win," he said. "But at the same time they're coming in here and we need to win. We're playing for something and we can't let it be ruined by a rivalry."
Moss was drafted 17th overall in 2007 to be a pass-rusher in Denver's 4-3 defense. His development was slow, however, and the Broncos moved him to outside linebacker when the team went to a 3-4 defense in 2009.
When that failed to help - Moss hasn't had a sack since '08 - Denver released him last month and he signed with the Raiders.
"I just want to focus on this week, and prepare well, and help everybody here that I can, get ready for them with any knowledge that I can help them succeed on Sunday and that's what it's all about. Period," he said. "We need to win out and it starts with this game on Sunday."
After sitting out his first game with Oakland, Moss has played the past two weeks as the Raiders try to get him more involved to make up for a season-ending injury to pass-rushing specialist Trevor Scott.
"I think he showed up a little bit last week" coach Tom Cable said. "He came underneath a tackle, got a holding call on a potential big play for them, and busts his tail every day on the look team, and is improving."
NOTES: MLB Rolando McClain, who missed last week's game, did not practice as the Raiders try to figure out what is wrong with his sore foot. ... CB Nnamdi Asomugha (sprained ankle), PR Johnnie Lee Higgins (ankle) and DT Richard Seymour (knee) also did not practice. ... The Raiders signed DT David Howard to the practice squad to replace Kellen Heard, who was recently added to Buffalo's 53-man roster.