Five Questions: Oakland Raiders

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You may recall we voted the Raiders 32nd in our preseason power rankings.

You may also recall the bottom five teams in our ratings were AFC clubs.

On paper, this doesn’t look like a banner year for the American Football Conference. Which, in turn, doesn’t hurt Oakland’s chances to perhaps exceed expectations, as we noted in our preseason Raiders analysis. And the Raiders have started decently enough in Dennis Allen’s first two seasons as head coach, posting 3-4 marks through seven games each time. However, they struggled down the stretch in both seasons, going 1-8 in Games 8 through 16 in 2012 and 2013.

With the club’s stadium lease expiring after the season, and with Allen and G.M. Reggie McKenzie under pressure to win after a couple of tough years, Raiders owner Mark Davis could have some major strategic decisions to make in the coming months. Here’s a look at five questions facing Oakland in 2014:

1. Who will start more regular season games at quarterback — Matt Schaub or Derek Carr?

Schaub has been the starter throughout the summer, and he’s on track to start in Week One. However, he lacks mobility, and the Raiders’ pass protection is very much an area to watch.

If the Raiders can’t protect Schaub, and if the 11th-year quarterback again struggles to take care of the ball, Oakland could turn to Carr, a second-round pick from Fresno State. Carr played well in extended action in the Raiders’ Aug. 15 preseason game vs. Detroit before suffering a concussion and injured ribs.

The Raiders’ bye is in Week Five, which could be a nice time to change quarterbacks if the Raiders have reason to do so. However, the Raiders get a fairly favorable draw in September, meaning the club may want to keep continuity. And why wouldn’t they if Schaub plays back to his best Houston form?

2. If the Raiders’ passing game sputters, can the ground game pick up the slack?

As a team, the Raiders rushed for 2,000 yards in 2013, 13th-best in the NFL. The club gained 4.6 yards per attempt, sixth-highest in the league, though TD runs of 93, 80 and 63 yards helped drive up the average.

There’s reason to believe Oakland can again have a productive rushing attack. The Raiders have three capable ball carriers (Maurice Jones-Drew, Darren McFadden, Marcel Reece). The offensive line is deeper than a season ago, too.

Still, the success of Oakland’s running game could very well be tied to its passing game. If the Raiders can’t give Schaub the time he needs to find open receivers, teams will be inclined to bring extra pressure and play tighter coverage. In this scenario, the Raiders could see defenses stacking the line and daring Oakland to do something about it. Then, it will be on the Raiders’ passing game to get defenses to back off, thus opening a little more room for that ground game.

3. Will the Raiders’ front seven have to carry the defense?

Let’s say this for the Raiders: they are going to be fun to watch when they force teams into obvious passing situations. Defensive ends Justin Tuck and LaMarr Woodley and defensive tackle Antonio Smith all know how to generate pressure, and young strong-side linebacker Khalil Mack has upside as a rusher, too.

The Raiders should also be solid against the run. Oakland surrendered just 3.9 yards per attempt a season, and its front seven is stronger this season.

However, the Raiders’ pass defense could be an area of concern. Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford shredded Oakland’s secondary in the second preseason game, completing 9-of-10 passes for 88 yards and two scores. While the Raiders did well to add ex-Niners cornerbacks Tarell Brown and Carlos Rogers in the offseason, they could very much use a real contribution from 2013 first-round pick D.J. Hayden, who remains on the PUP list because of a foot injury.

4. Can the Raiders get off to a good start?

A 2-2 record in September is a reasonable goal for Oakland. The Week Three matchup at New England will be very, very tough, but matchups at the Jets (Week One) and against the Texans (Week Two) and Dolphins (Week Four) are games in which Oakland should be competitive. In fact, if Oakland plays well, 3-1 isn’t an impossible dream in the least.

With the schedule turning much tougher later in the year, the Raiders must seize the moment in September.

5. Will the uncertainty about the Raiders’ future in Oakland continue throughout the season, or will there be clarity?

The Raiders’ stadium situation will be a storyline until it is resolved, whether the club is contending or struggling. The longer this drags on, the more it threatens to be the issue that defines the season, especially if the team falls out of contention. Davis’ willingness to meet with San Antonio this summer speaks to the franchise’s need for a viable long-term home.

54 responses to “Five Questions: Oakland Raiders

  1. Trust me the Raiders will surprise alot of NFL fans and being realistic when i say the raiders will go deep into the playoffs maybe not reach super bowl but theyre putting a nice squad together and its under the radar so watch out NFL here come the Raiders baby

  2. Five questions:

    1: Why does your owner walk into the barber and say “Make me look like prince Valiant!”

    2: Why are you in Oakland and not LA?

    3:Why do you have a stadium Lewis and Clark used for shelter?

    4: Why are you in Oakland and not LA?

    5: Why hasn’t your team won anything since everyone in your state was called a 49er?

  3. Worst team in the league, except for maybe Houston. We’ll find out who gets the first pick in the draft in week 2 as the Terrible Texans adn Raiduhs face off.

  4. They won’t score much. The question is, can they stop anyone. Weak secondary, but should have a good pass rush. With that schedule, they could still have the same win total, but be a much better team. Then they blow out the whole staff, announce the move and try to hire a celebrity coach. And wait for Manning to retire.

  5. 1- Matt Schaub (unless injured)
    2- will be a running team to begin with
    3 yes….hayden going on the PUP is a total disappointment, and Reggie has pie on his face right now.
    4 yes…they should beat jets and texans, but then staying on the east coast to host a home game against dolphins in london might be tough…should come back and beat the “choo choo train after bye week…could see them 3-2, and if all goes great 4-1….
    5- all comes down to Mark Davis, and how cheap he is. I mean between the league and raiders they have about 600 million…just blow up the other old side, and leave MT Davis if need be.

    Go Raiders!

  6. On the last point, there’s no doubt they’ll be moving again. The only question is where.
    Anyone who lives in the Bay Area, and has paid attention, knows that a new stadium in Oakland isn’t going to happen.
    It’s a dream. The fans who still think otherwise are in denial. Or don’t understand money.

  7. Gees . Well seeing Carr got a concussion in a preseason game I really hope they don’t turn to him if Schaub can’t be protected . That is one brutal schedule . So yes I think the plan will be to turn to small ball . Lots of ground game and screens .

  8. Their record has been abysmal during the second half of recent seasons because the guys on their roster who are old enough to collect Social Security have run out of has.

  9. Didn’t you already throw them “under the bus” at pre-season rankings? Then why now ask questions? The passing game will need work because of WR drops and QB getting still in tune with receivers. But O-line will be better and so will the defense, even with the secondary problems. Because of Manning the Denver offense will be difficult to beat. Therefore the Broncos should be favored for the division, but Chiefs and Chargers can be beaten by this Raiders team. Chiefs are weaker and Chargers are still suspect on defense.

  10. we need to beat the jets. period. can’t keep losing on the east coast. After 2nd preseason game I like our chances better. Let’s see how we do in Green bay Friday.

  11. Davis doesn’t have the capital the make an LA move happen. He doesn’t have enough money to build a stadium himself, the taxpayers in LA refuse to chip in for a stadium, and he only owns 47% of the franchise anyways. Farmers Field? AEG (i.e. Philip Anschultz) has said time and time again that they want a “significant” stake in any franchise that relocates, not only that, but they want to pay below market value for that stake. Mark Davis won’t sell his team and he can’t afford to part with too many more percents of ownership either.

    The only way the Raiders will move to Los Angeles is if another team (Rams) move there first and start construction on their own stadium and agree to share (something Davis has been vehemently against when suggested that he should share Levi’s Stadium with the 49ers.)

    San Antonio is one of the biggest cities in the US without an NFL franchise (excluding Los Angeles) Texas is football rabid and the Alamodome is only about $60 million away from being “up to NFL standards” They’re getting that money anyways due to an NCAA Final Four bid. The economy in Texas is booming and Davis will have no problem getting a new stadium out of Bexar County tax payers.

    San Antonio alone has the 36th largest media market, but when you add Austin and Corpus Christi (which would be in their market) they would jump up to 13th, behind Phoenix and ahead of Seattle.

    Not to mention that Davis needs money so that he can pay the inheritance tax when his mother dies, he can make that money easily in San Antonio where he won’t have to pay exuberant California taxes.

    It looks like a win-win for Davis and San Antonio.

  12. It’s touchy at this point. Schuab looks like last years Schaub, as of 8/20. Carr reminds me of a young Brett Farve or maybe it’s just the #4?! Mc Lovin is the mystery man and for some odd reason he makes this team better. I’ll start McLovin over Schaub and Carr. He knows the offense and he didn’t have a great running game and the dee was running thin. With an upgrade on dee and fresh start who knows. 7-9 is my prediction for my boys in black.

  13. McGloin knows the offense. You can tell his receivers trust him. He’ll have a better o-line and the run game has improved. Above all, the guy will not go away! McGloin will be the starter by the time the early bye comes along.

  14. Need to get off to a good start. At least 2-2 but 3-1 would really create some early excitement at the bye week early on.

    There is potential on this team. If they can’t at least win 7 games then it’s time for sweeping changes.

  15. Our secondary will get shredded again like it always does. At least it appears so through a couple preseason games. If Branch has a strong season that will help. We missed him last year.

    Tis another season to be Raider fan. Either way, nothing could be more embarrassing than being a Charger fan. There’s my gratitude for the day – thank god I’m not a Choker fan. If I remember that I can get through anything.

  16. Carr has a chance to be good if he’s protected and isnt ruined like his brother was. Schaub was good, but he’s regressing.

  17. Enough with the mcgloin talk. Yes he plays with confidence, yes he probably knows the Playbook better than schaub or Carr, but he had his chance last year and went 0-7. Bottom line is he has the weakest arm in the NFL, and Santa have the physical attributes needed to succeed at QB. Great #2 though. If dj Hayden can get healthy our D will be top 10, our secondary will benefit from our good run D, and fierce pass rush. RAIDERNATION!

  18. I realize the Raiders are paying Schaub a good salary. I realize that Schaub has had several good seasons in the past. Schaub is still relatively young and he’s healthy. But last year it was rookie McGloin who defeated Schaub and the Texans. I still think Carr is better than McGloin, but I like what he adds to the team.

  19. Five things to know about the Oakland Raiders:

    1. The Raiders are the only team in NFL history to lose 11 or more games a season for seven consecutive seasons.

    2. The Raiders are the only team in history to be shut out twice on Monday Night Football in the same season.

    3. The year that Ladainian Tomlinson scored 31 TDs by himself, the entire Raiders’ offense scored 12.

    4. Two of the top 5 all time busts at quarterback were drafted the Oakland Raiders: Todd Marinovich and JaMarcus Russell.

    5. The Raiders have averaged under 5 wins per season for the past 11 years.

  20. The most entertaining part of the 2014 season, as it pertains to the Raiders, is the race between them and St. Louis over who gets to move to LA first.

    My money is on the Rams. Oakland will inevitably stumble their way out of consideration. But hey, there’s always San Antonio..

  21. I like matt McGloin, and Carr but we have to hope Schaub plays well enough not to get benched if he gets benched it means we’re sucking which I can’t handle anymore

  22. At one time I was thinking of trolling this website posing as a delusional Raider fan, basically the Logicalvoice of the Raiders. But then I realized that given how delusional their fanbase is, you wouldn’t be able to tell my comments from the serious ones posted here.

  23. 1. 7
    2. Nope
    3 Yes
    4. If we do, I’ll probably run around screaming “we’re going to the playoffs” like the retard I am. But, We all know 2-2 is the norm.
    5. FML, my beautiful Raiders are moving back down south.

  24. How can a team you say should be 2-2, and could be 3-1 after 4 games be #32 on your powder rankings?

  25. If Schaub can’t consistently get the Short and intermediate passes completed in the first couple of games they are better off leaning on the run and going with Carr. I was at the game Friday and Schaub looked horrible and Carr looked like the better option to drive the ball down field. This is only preseason though and although heavily criticized I thought Schaub did I better job in the first preseason game vs Vikes. With that said the Oline has to protect and the receivers need to catch the freaking ball when they get the opportunity. If those things happen Schaub should be okay and the Raiders should be at least 2-2 to start the year.. Go Raiders!!!!

  26. I’m concerned about the secondary but don’t use the preseason as an indicator for crying out loud. Tarver is one of those guys who plays the preseason very vanilla. They looked awful last preseason too, then they surprised the Colts in week one and actually played beyond expectations until they wore down in November…

  27. This is a cute little list. Raiders are still a ways from being a contender. Get ready for a 12th, 13th or whatever it is non-winning season. Rascals.

  28. In a recent NFL players poll, which team got the most votes for the statement:

    They would have to double my salary for me to play for the __________ ___________

    No. 1 Answer: Oakland Raiders – 23% of the vote.

    Players don’t want to play for them. And fans don’t want to pay to see them. Tarps don’t lie.

    “The year that Ladainian Tomlinson scored 31 TDs by himself, the entire Raiders’ offense scored 12”

    If that’s true, that’s incredibly embarrassing.

  29. San Antonio alone has the 36th largest media market, but when you add Austin and Corpus Christi (which would be in their market) they would jump up to 13th, behind Phoenix and ahead of Seattle.
    – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –
    wow ….get your boots on, it’s getting deep…..fact (not fiction) is Portland, Salt Lake City, Las Vegas are all bigger markets w/o a team…and if you want to start factoring demo’s that include 150 miles …lets face it the bay area when you add in Sacramento, Stockton, Modesto…etc they are in the #3 market….heck, based on your logic the Raiders could move to Reno NV., and be in the 3rd largest market in the United States.

    Bottom line …it all comes down to $$$$…..if that is where Mark Davis wants to go, so be it… way in hell would I ever root for anything from Texas….

  30. humb0lt says:
    Aug 21, 2014 12:55 AM
    Five things to know about the Oakland Raiders:
    – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –
    5 things about your choo choo train.

    1) they have never won a super bowl.

    2) they are losers…all time record 412-414

    3 ) 1992 draft – Ryan Leaf, and traded a first rd pick to get Mikhael Ricks – possibly worse draft ever by any NFL team.

    4) Powder Blue – sums it up…maybe they should change the white to pink

    5) their fans ( or lack of them)

  31. dasmol says:
    Aug 21, 2014 12:40 PM
    In a recent NFL players poll, which team got the most votes for the statement:

    They would have to double my salary for me to play for the __________ ___________

    No. 1 Answer: Oakland Raiders – 23% of the vote.
    – – – – – – – – – — — – – – – – –
    you failed to mention it was a BSPN poll…

    22 players in Canton lets stop the BS and Hate…and keep to the facts.

  32. Last appearance in Super Bowl or
    NFL Championship[1][3]


    Last appearance


    Detroit Lions

    NFL Championship Game, 1957


    New York Jets

    Super Bowl III


    Kansas City Chiefs

    Super Bowl IV


    Cleveland Browns*

    NFL Championship Game, 1969


    Minnesota Vikings

    Super Bowl XI


    Miami Dolphins

    Super Bowl XIX


    Cincinnati Bengals

    Super Bowl XXIII


    Washington Redskins

    Super Bowl XXVI


    Buffalo Bills

    Super Bowl XXVIII


    Jacksonville Jaguars

    Never (enfranchised 1995)


    San Diego Chargers

    Super Bowl XXIX


    Dallas Cowboys

    Super Bowl XXX


    Atlanta Falcons

    Super Bowl XXXIII


    Tennessee Titans

    Super Bowl XXXIV


    Houston Texans

    Never (enfranchised 2002)


    St. Louis Rams

    Super Bowl XXXVI


    Tampa Bay Buccaneers

    Super Bowl XXXVII


    Oakland Raiders

    Super Bowl XXXVII


    Carolina Panthers

    Super Bowl XXXVIII


    Philadelphia Eagles

    Super Bowl XXXIX


    Chicago Bears

    Super Bowl XLI


    Arizona Cardinals

    Super Bowl XLIII


    New Orleans Saints

    Super Bowl XLIV


    Indianapolis Colts

    Super Bowl XLIV


    Pittsburgh Steelers

    Super Bowl XLV


    Green Bay Packers

    Super Bowl XLV


    New York Giants

    Super Bowl XLVI


    New England Patriots

    Super Bowl XLVI


    San Francisco 49ers

    Super Bowl XLVII


    Baltimore Ravens

    Super Bowl XLVII


    Super Bowl XLVIII Teams

    Denver Broncos

    Super Bowl XLVIII

    Seattle Seahawks

    Super Bowl XLVIII

    Yeah its been 11 years since we were in it but that is not bad compared to some teams

  33. raiders playing in a dome stadiumm, in nan antonio,COME ON MAN, THAT IS RIDICULOUS!!,, don’t trust the texas people raider fans,,they will change the name to gunslingers or some idiotic gun slogan!!!

  34. Yeah its been 11 years since we were in it but that is not bad compared to some teams
    True but your Raiders have a sub .500 winning percentage since then and every other team in the division has won the division at least twice since then, which makes it seem much longer.

  35. Matt McGloin should be the Starting QB with Schaubb #2 and Carr #3.

    Not a good idea to start a Rookie QB. He could get rattled too much…. just like David Carr!!!! REMEMBER!!!!!

    Let Carr get used to the league and game.while McGloin gets a chance to proove himself. Schaubb is going to be more of the same from last year.

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