EDITOR'S NOTE: This is the second part in a series that spotlights three Raiders-Broncos matchups to watch Sunday, 1:05 p.m. (CBS) at Sports Authority Field at Mile High.
Part No. 1: Dennis Allen vs. John Fox
Raiders CBS Michael Huff vs. Broncos QB Peyton Manning
Tale of the tape
Huff: 6-foot-1, 205 pounds, seventh season, Texas
Manning: 6-foot-5, 230 pounds, 15th season, TennesseeSo how would Michael Huff assess his play last week as a starting cornerback?"Got thrown in the fire," he said. "Kind of learned a lot last week. Had my growing pains on a few plays, obviously should have played better, got to hold up better on the outside. But luckily we got the 'W' and that week's over so I can learn from that film and get better this week."Sounds fair enough, right? Against Pittsburgh, Huff's "burn rate" was 55.6 percent in giving up five receptions on nine targets for 89 yards and a touchdown.Now Huff, who last played corner on a regular basis as a sophomore in college, finds a new challenge in Peyton Manning. Talk about your learning-on-the-job training."It's like a cat and mouse (game) because you know every snap he's reading," Huff said. "He reads everybody. Linemen, he reads whether your right foot's up, your left foot's up, things like that. So every snap you've got to be on point and ready for him."Manning, who has made a cottage industry of the no-huddle offense and changing calls at the line of scrimmage, is off to a pedestrian start, at least by his standards, with five touchdowns, three interceptions and a passer rating of 85.6."I'm not falling into that trap," said Raiders coach Dennis Allen. "Hes Peyton Manning. Hes a Hall of Fame quarterback. Theres no way that were going to, in any way, say that hes not the same quarterback that hes been. Ive watched the tape. Hes still an outstanding quarterback. Hes operating that offense and I dont really see much of a drop off of where hes been before. I think hes still an outstanding quarterback."RELATED: Notes from Dennis Allen's Friday briefing
Which might bode poorly for not only Huff, but also fellow cornerbacks Pat Lee and Joselio Hanson. As a trio, the three have a combined burn rate of 81.8 percent, allowing 27 receptions on 36 targets for 358 yards with a touchdown and a passer rating of 115.3.Not that Manning is licking his chops. At least, not publicly."Were still, you know, kind of forming our identity a little bit here," Manning said. "I really havent gotten into any comparisons to playing in Indianapolis here. Its a new team, weve got new players, a new system and were trying to get things going in the right direction here. So I still think it comes down to execution. Whether you huddle or you dont huddle, you still have to be able to execute. Thats really the key to moving the ball, I think."The key for Huff, meanwhile, will be beyond just covering his man. It will be mental, as in building his confidence."Definitely, because it's been so long since I was out there (at corner)," he said. "I looked back (at the tape) and I lined up sometimes 10, 12 yards off, when I really wasn't probably paying attention to it. But this week I'll be more focused on my depth on certain things."And that switch from safety to corner, just how different are the positions?"You can't really simulate what it's going to be like until you're out there," he said. "So I think just being out there that week, just learning splits and my depth on certain coverages and things like that definitely helped. I got that week out the way so this week should be better."