Broncos star DB: Crabtree, Cooper not elite NFL receivers


Ahead of a Sunday night showdown between the thriving Raiders and defending Super Bowl champion Broncos, the trash talking has already begun between the division rivals. 

Broncos safety T.J. Ward threw the first barb Wednesday.

"We never liked the Raiders," Ward told reporters. "We just don't like them. You ever not like someone and you don't know why? We just don't like them."

Ward didn't stop there. He went on to diminish Amari Cooper and Michael Crabtree, players that have been strengths for the Raiders, and ones he'll be charged with slowing down in Week 9. 

"I feel like they have two good receivers. I don't feel like they have two elite receivers," Ward said. 

Based on the first half of the season, Crabtree is on pace for 94 receptions, 1,138 yards and 12 touchdowns.

Crabtree's six touchdown catches through eight games ties him for an NFL-high with Mike Evans and Jordy Nelson.

Cooper, who was Oakland's lone 1,000-yard receiver as a rookie last year, is on pace for 102 catches, 1,574 yards and four touchdowns. 

Crabtree and Cooper, both drafted in the top 10, respectively, are on their way to being the Raiders' first receiving tandem to pass 1,000 yards each since Pro Football Hall of Famers Jerry Rice and Tim Brown achieved the feat in 2001.  

The Raiders (6-2) and Broncos (6-2) are currently locked in a battle for divisional supremacy.  

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