ENGLEWOOD, Colo. -- The first defensive snaps of rookie linebacker Danny Trevathan's career could come this weekend.
With starting middle linebacker Joe Mays serving a one-game suspension and linebacker Nate Irving listed as questionable with a concussion, Trevathan might be asked to step in.
Trevathan, a rookie selected in the sixth round of the 2012 NFL Draft, has been active in each of the first three games of the season, playing in more than 50 percent of the team's special snaps. Trevathan said his experience as a special teamer has helped him get acclimated to the NFL.
"I think the special teams kind of made me change my attitude toward the approach I had," Trevathan said. "Special teams, I kind of didn't know what it was when I was first out there. But my first game, going out there and having repetitions at it, it made me know the environment I'm in now, be able to play well, play great, play with that intensity that you need to have out there. Special teams really helped me in that aspect of the game."
Though the circumstances in the Broncos' linebacking corps might give him his first defensive reps Sunday against Oakland, his approach this week in practice hasn't changed.
"I'm just going to take it one day at a time, prepare myself well, try to learn out here from watching film, and see what they can do," Trevathan said. "And when I get out there, just put my best foot forward."
As Trevathan approaches what could be his defensive debut, he's being helped along by input from the Broncos' cohesive group of linebackers.
"I talked to Wood (Wesley Woodyard) and I talked to Von (Miller), Nate (Irving), all of them," Trevathan said. "They just try to help guys. That's the difference here. Here it's a family environment and guys just try to help each other get better. And I think that's going help us be a championship team."
Another source of guidance for Trevathan is Defensive Coordinator Jack Del Rio, who has given Trevathan simple advice on how to react if called upon.
"(Del Rio) just says you have to be ready when you get thrown in there," Trevathan said. "Know what to do, execute and just fly around and have fun."
For the Broncos, only safety Quinton Carter (knee) is listed as out for Sunday's game against the Raiders. Linebacker Nate Irving (concussion) and wide receiver Matthew Willis (hamstring) are both questionable. Guard Chris Kuper (forearm) is doubtful. Running back Willis McGahee (ribs), cornerbacks Chris Harris (ankle) and Tracy Porter (knee) and tight end Jacob Tamme (groin) are all probable.
For Oakland, tackle Khalif Barnes (groin) and cornerback Shawntae Spencer (knee) are listed as out. Wide receiver Darrius Heyward-Bey (concussion/neck) is doubtful. Running back Mike Goodson (hamstring), tight end Brandon Myers (concussion), wide receiver Rod Streater (eye), and tight end Richard Gordon (hamstring) are all questionable. Defensive tackle Richard Seymour (knee), kicker Sebastian Janikowski (left groin), nose tackle Tommy Kelly (knee), running back Darren McFadden (shoulder), center/guard Alex Parsons (shoulder), tight end David Ausberry (shoulder) and defensive back Michael Huff (knee) are all probable.