ENGLEWOOD, Colo. -- The Denver Broncos will give key members of their offensive line time to rest, even as they try to hash out issues in the unit.
Broncos coach Gary Kubiak said after practice Thursday he will now hold center Matt Paradis (hip) and left tackle Russell Okung, who had offseason shoulder surgery, out of one full practice a week for the remainder of the season.
"You're going to see Russell miss a day a week," Kubiak said. " ... You're going to see that from him and Matt, probably, the rest of the way."
Ty Sambrailo has worked in Okung's spot when Okung has been held out of practice and James Ferentz has worked at center for Paradis. Paradis, in particular, has battled a hip injury that kept him out of practice last week even though he still played every snap -- 65 plays -- in the Broncos' win over the San Diego Chargers on Sunday.
This rest comes as Denver prepares for Sunday night's road game against the 6-2 Oakland Raiders, and as it irons some things out on their offensive line and with their offense as a whole.
The Broncos are currently just 20th in the league in rushing. They have had five games where they did not top 90 yards on the ground and have a 3-2 record during that span. Perhaps even more troubling is that they have failed to get a first down on 40 percent of their possessions this season. That's the worst rate in the league.
"It's the enemy of your tempo on offense," said offensive coordinator Rick Dennison. "If you're getting three-and-outs, you're not taking time, you're not resting your defense and you're not moving the ball. We like long drives and we like to chew up time. ... Making them defend everything and being explosive on run and pass is what we'd like to do."
The Broncos have had zero or just one first down on their opening possession of a game five times this season. They have had zero or one first down on their opening drive of the second half three times.
It's the not the tempo the Broncos want and not the tempo Kubiak has come to expect from his offense -- which has usually flourished in those situations given the team is working off a pre-determined script of plays at during these first drives.
The Raiders, too, were the only team to hold the Broncos' offense without a touchdown last season. In two meetings against Oakland -- a Denver win in Oakland to go with the Raiders' win in Denver -- the Broncos' only touchdown was a Chris Harris Jr. interception return for a score.
"You're right, they really got after us last year," Kubiak said. "Hell, we didn't score a touchdown in two games. ... We struggled with their edges last year."
Raiders defensive end Khalil Mack had five sacks in Oakland's 15-12 win in Denver last Dec. 13. The Broncos had a 12-0 lead at halftime of that game, but did not score in the second half and lost despite out-gaining the Raiders 310-126 yards.