ENGLEWOOD—Don’t bother, Derek Carr, checking out the safeties or pointing out the Mike.
Lorenzo Doss sees you looking at him. Doss knows you’re going after him.
“Definitely. If he’s going to do it, he’s welcome to try,’’ Doss said. “I’m going to be in position to make the plays.’’
Doss is the next man up because Denver Broncos’ cornerback Aqib Talib has been ruled out for the game Sunday night against Carr and the Oakland Raiders in the Black Hole.
Broncos head coach Gary Kubiak said Talib was injected with a shot in his lower back Friday. Kubiak didn’t say exactly where or why the shot was administered but shots in the lower back area are almost always used to calm nerves around a troublesome disc.
Broncos pass-rushing linebacker DeMarcus Ware missed several games last season because of a similar problem.
The shot to Talib was administered after he sought a second medical opinion from a back specialist in California on Thursday.
Talib first felt his back grab during pregame warmups of the Broncos’ game Oct. 24 against Houston. He played that game, missing only one play, but he has only practiced once since, and missed the game last week against San Diego. He will now be out a second game against Oakland.
“Let it calm down over the weekend,’’ Kubiak said. “He’s doing well, so we feel good moving forward.’’
Talib will be replaced at starting left corner by Bradley Roby, who had been playing in more than 50 percent of the defensive snaps, anyway, as the Broncos’ No. 3 corner.
Chris Harris Jr. becomes key when the Broncos use their nickel package. The starting right corner often slides inside to cover the slot – in part because it’s easier for him to quarterback the secondary from inside than the outside corner position.
If Kayvon Webster is healthy enough to play he would be the No. 3 corner – and play outside in the nickel package. But Webster yanked his right hamstring early last week against San Diego and didn’t return.
The good news is it’s not the same hamstring that forced Webster to miss the Broncos’ week 4 game at Tampa – that was his left hammy. But while Webster returned to practice on a limited basis Friday, hamstring strains to non-linemen are the type of injury where it’s best to let them heal for two weeks.
Webster, linebacker Brandon Marshall and center Matt Paradis are listed as questionable for the game Sunday at Oakland. Put Marshall and Paradis on the probable side of questionable and Webster on the doubtful side.
That leaves Doss as the Broncos’ cornerback on the spot against a Raiders’ passing attack that features Carr at quarterback and a talented receiver trio in Amari Cooper, Michael Crabtree and Seth Roberts.
Doss was targeted by San Diego quarterback Philip Rivers last week.
“To no avail,’’ said Doss, who lined both inside in the slot area, and outside. “It’s what my teammates expect out of me. If you keep trying me I’m going to make a play. That’s my mentality.’’
The Raiders’ receivers, though, are considered superior to those in San Diego, where Keenan Allen is long gone with a season-ending injury and Rivers relies more on his tight ends.
“I agree they have more weapons,’’ Doss said of the Raiders. “But we have ballers over here. This No Fly Zone is a different breed. You can tell by last week, Roby got defensive player of the week.’’
Indeed, Roby had a pick six and was named AFC Defensive Player of the Week. The fill-in performances of Roby and Doss helped set the stage for the AFC West showdown this Sunday between the 6-2 Broncos and 6-2 Raiders.
“It’s a big game,’’ Doss said. “I have to just do my job and make plays I’m expected to make.’’