As it turned out, the Raiders didn't have to worry about CBS-TV broadcaster Rich Gannon showing his unwanted face at the Raiders facility in Alameda on Saturday after all.
The Raiders made it clear Friday that Gannon wasn't welcome at the team's facility because of "incendiary" comments he has made about the team that employed him from 1999-2004, according to senior executive John Herrera.
The Raiders reluctantly agreed to let Gannon make an appearance because of league rules that permit broadcasters to do background in advance of the game.
It's customary for the broadcasters working a particular game to spend some time with team officials, the coach and selected players a day or two before the game.
Gannon, a noted stickler for detail, somehow was unable to catch a flight to Oakland in time for the Saturday meeting with the Raiders. He relayed word to the Raiders that he was unable to make it in time.
"That was a win-win situation for us," Herrera said.
Gannon made it to the Oakland Coliseum in plenty of time for the game but declined an interview request through a person assigned security detail to the broadcasting booth. Raiders running back Darren McFadden fumbled three times against the Denver Broncos on Sunday. The Raiders recovered the first two, both in the first half.
They weren't so fortunate on the third one, as Broncos safety Brian Dawkins recovered at the Denver 6-yard line.
"It's a huge concern," Raiders coach Tom Cable said. "Take care of the football. We talk about it all the time, ball security." Raiders rookie wide receiver Darrius Heyward-Bey started his third straight game, and he was a non-factor once again. Quarterback JaMarcus Russell targeted Heyward-Bey twice in the first quarter on deep throws. Both were intercepted. Heyward-Bey had no throws his way the rest of the game. He has one reception for 18 yards this season. Rookie safety Mike Mitchell made his first significant play as a Raider by recovering a fumble at the Broncos 16-yard line midway through the third quarter. The Raiders failed to score on the drive as a result of McFadden's lost fumble. Raiders running back Justin Fargas touched the ball in a game for the first time this season on a second-quarter carry for no yards. He was inactive the first two games. Cable has leaned on McFadden and Michael Bush the first three games. The Raiders waived running back/kick returner Louis Rankin to make room for cornerback/kick returner Jonathan Holland on the 53-man roster. Holland was signed from the Raiders practice squad Friday.
Holland assumed kick-return duties from Rankin. He averaged 22 yards on his three returns, or 4 yards more than Rankin did on his six returns the first two games. The Broncos won their division-opening game for the 10th straight season, including four times against the Raiders. Sunday's game marked the 100 meeting between two of the original members of the American Football League. The Raiders lead the regular-season series 55-41-2 — they are 1-1 in postseason games — but the Broncos have won 22 of the past 29 games. Broncos second-year left offensive tackle Ryan Clady extended his streak of not allowing a full sack to 19 games. It's the longest-active streak among starting tackles and tied for the NFL record for the most consecutive games without a sack allowed at the start of one's career. Oakland safeties Michael Huff (ribs, quadriceps) and Mitchell (thumb) and cornerback John Bowie (knee) weren't able to finish the game. Their status for this Sunday's game against the Houston Texans is unknown. Wide receiver Javon Walker and free safety Hiram Eugene (leg) were among the eight inactive players for the Raiders.