New York Jets Week 1 Know Thy Enemy: The Oakland Raiders
Aug 28, 2014; Oakland, CA, USA; Oakland Raiders quarterback Derek Carr (4) celebrates after throwing a touchdown pass against the Seattle Seahawks during the second quarter at O.co Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Ed Szczepanski-USA TODAY Sports
I recently interviewed Chase Ruttig from our counterparts at Fansided covering the Oakland Raiders, Just Blog Baby. I asked Chase some questions about the Raiders and what his readers thought in advance of Sunday afternoon’s game between the two teams.
Question 1 What are yourself and your reader’s expectations of the Raiders this year? What do you think their ceiling and their floor is?
Answer: Most expect the Raiders to be better than what the mainstream analysts project, likely between a 5-11 season as a floor and a 9-7 season as the ceiling with more talent after two seasons of restructuring the salary cap situation. This team has a mix of promising rookies and veterans which fans feel that can compete, something that I have to agree with especially if rookie starting quarterback Derek Carr keeps proving he is ready to start in the league.Question 2 – What do you think of Reggie McKenzie’s rebuilding strategy? He chose to rebuild with veterans and the result was the oldest roster in the league.Answer: That is actually a misleading stat as the Raiders have brought in those veterans to work with some talented young players in those position groups. Justin Tuck and LaMarr Woodley will be alongside Sio Moore and Khalil Mack as outside pass rushers while the cornerbacks on the team will help teach DJ Hayden, Keith McGill, and TJ Carrie. McKenzie also hit home runs early in the draft this season with the moves to bring in Mack, Carr, and Gabe Jackson who was the best run blocking guard in the draft and a four-year starter in the SEC.
This rebuilding strategy should work with low risk deals to veteran players who will contribute while establishing a professional atmosphere inside the locker room. Those who look at the stat that the team has the oldest roster in the league should also note that Sebastian Janikowski and Charles Woodson skew that number as well. This Raiders team is probably younger than you think if you pay attention and look at their roster.
Question 3 – The Raiders chose Derek Carr as the starter over the veteran Matt Schaub. Do you feel like it was the right decision? What should we expect to see from Carr on Sunday?
Answer: Carr is going to come out and be the guy you saw last season at Fresno State which is a quarterback with astrong arm that also uses the screen game well. As long as he handles the pressure the Jets will assuredly be throwing at him and limits turnovers this should be a game where the rest of the league sees the progress Carr has made during the preseason. After scoring in bunches against theSeahawks, including a back shoulder throw on Richard Sherman, Carr has built enough momentum to succeed once the games count.Question 4 – How do you think Justin Tuck, Lamarr Woodley and Charles Woodson will fit into the Raiders’ aggressive defensive scheme? Have Maurice Jones-Drew and James Jones made the expected impact on the offensive side of the ball? Why was ex-Jet Austin Howard moved to guard?
Answer: Tuck and Woodley seem motivated by being shipped off by franchises they helped win titles with so for those two health will be the defining factor on whether or not their first seasons in Oakland are successes or not because as long as they are on the field I see opportunity for success for both.
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As forMJD and Jones both were limited in preseason but made enough plays to show that they should be productive once the season begins, especially Jones-Drew who busted out a long rushing touchdown against the Packers during the preseason. To answer your last question Howard was moved to guard to bolster the inside blocking and the team also brought in Donald Penn so it was a move that made sense in my opinion.Question 5 – What is your prediction for Sunday?
Answer: A close game between two teams that need to get early momentum if they want a playoff berth entertains a national television audience as the “A” CBS broadcast. Derek Carr also does better than those in New York expect and guides the Raiders, who nearly won in Indy on the road with Terrelle Pryor in a similar situation in 2013, to a win with their new look mix of rookies and former Super Bowl champions.Raiders 31 Jets 24