ENGLEWOOD, Colo. – Carson Palmer will make his first start for the Raiders at quarterback on Sunday, and when it comes to mobility, he has never been confused with Michael Vick — or even Jason Campbell, the Raiders’ original 2011 starter at the position. Darren McFadden would ordinarily take pressure off the recently-acquired Palmer, but appears unlikely to play since he didn’t practice all week.
So if there was ever a week for Elvis Dumervil to record his first regular-season sack since Dec. 27, 2009, this would be it. He pressured Detroit’s Matthew Stafford last Sunday, and while Dumervil is not 100 percent, he’s the closest to healthy he’s been since January 2010.
“And he had a couple of good rushes in the Miami game, too,” defensive coordinator Dennis Allen said. “It’s hard to sack the quarterback, but the thing you want to do is you want to affect him. And if we can get guys back there around the quarterback and he feels the heat, in general, you usually affect him, and it alters passes.
“He’s going to get his sacks,” Allen added. “The thing that he has to do is just go out there and keep competing every day and eventually those will come.”
Dumervil’s increased pressure comes in spite of a high ankle sprain that kept him sidelined for two practices last week.
“At least the other areas have healed so that’s a good thing,” Dumervil said. “I’m just trying to be positive. The high ankle sprain is something that’s keeping me going back and forth.
“Sometimes you get off the ball and you feel good but then as you lean and put your body weight on the ankle it can become a little uncomfortable.”
But the shoulder that bothered him in September is no longer an issue. Dumervil returned to the weight room during the bye week and has been able to work out normally ever since.
But the sacks haven’t come like they did before he tore his pectoral muscle during the 2010 training camp — or even in this year’s preseason, when he notched 1.5 sacks in about a full game’s worth of work over three weeks. More significantly to many Broncos fans, he hasn’t had a regular-season sack since signing a $61.5 million contract extension — including $43 million in guaranteed money — in July 2010.
“As a competitor you’re always frustrated, but as a professional you have be able to get yourself out of frustration,” Dumervil said.
“It’s inevitable, you’re going to be frustrated when things aren’t going the way you want them to go. But it’s how you respond. That’s the professional part of it.”
He also knows that when sacks come, they come in clumps. His seven multi-sack games in 2009 led the league. Even after missing 2010, he has more multi-sack games since 2006 — the year he was drafted — than all but three players league-wide.
“They do come in bunches, just like everything else in this league,” Allen said. ” People get on rolls, and like with anything else you do in your life, sometimes you’ve just got that good feeling and things just work the right way and sometimes that happens in football.”