Week 8 Mailbag: Oakland Raiders

Week 8 of the JBB Mailbag, answering questions from Twitter about the Oakland Raiders win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, as well as questions about the upcoming matchup with the Denver Broncos.

Life can certainly come at a fanbase swiftly; although, sometimes more ironically than negatively. So after fielding several weeks worth of Sean Smith complaints, I got quite the chuckle out of the first inquiry I came across, when vetting this week’s submissions.

Note: Some of the questions were duplicates or similar to other questions that had already been asked. If you don’t see your question specifically responded to, that is likely the reason why.

Per multiple outlets, Sean Smith is questionable to play Sunday night versus Denver, yet the cornerback was not seen at practice on Wednesday. If I was a betting man, I’d lean towards Smith missing this marquee matchup — unfortunately.

In the absence of Smith, the responsibility of covering Broncos WR2, Emmanuel Sanders, will more than likely result in a co-effort from cornerbacks T.J. Carrie and D.J. Hayden.

While JDR, at his Monday press conference, endorsed more playing time for Hayden (along with Carrie), I can’t seem to shake the images of Hayden being beat by Tampa Bay wide receiver Russell Shepard, on more than one occasion. Most notably, for a touchdown, and another potential touchdown, if not for Jameis Winston overthrowing Shepard.

All cards on the table, I’m holding my breath on one-on-one Hayden coverage.

I continue to wonder how Carrie has not earned more snaps, even before Sean Smith went down. Now in fairness, it can be argued that perhaps I’m looking for mishaps from Hayden more so than I am of Carrie, but I find myself to be far more at ease with Carrie on the outside versus Denver than I am Hayden.

Can we meet somewhere in the middle? Because while I don’t believe this unit has yet turned the corner completely, one would hope we all could agree that the defense is trending in a positive direction.

Pressure on the quarterback continues to be there, as evident by the increase in quarterback hits — and along with that, Khalil Mack’s ability to sack the quarterback. Mack has now had at least one sack in Oakland’s last three games.

So while the need for improvement continues to be made, ease off the panic button, slightly.

Well, according to some, we don’t have any elite receivers. Just two who are — I guess just a little — “good”. That was news to me, and I assume news to many in Raider Nation as well. Although aside from that, I’m ecstatic to see our offensive line against the likes of Von Miller and DeMarcus Ware.

I’ve championed the offensive line essentially all season, here and on Twitter, and stated that I will put the Raiders offensive line up against anybody. That included the Broncos.

What I will say, objectively, is that what transpired last Sunday (23 penalties) against Tampa Bay can absolutely not have any existence on Sunday night. You won’t beat this Denver team if you’re insistent on beating yourself.

With his play versus Tampa Bay, Mychal Rivera is making a case to have a role in the passing attack. And more to that point, I would argue that incorporating he and Clive Walford, both, into the passing game is a critical key to victory for the Raiders.

JBB readers know I have addressed this very sentiment time and time again. I’m right there with you, Dude. Derek Carr isn’t a boy anymore. This is a grown man that teams are dealing with, in #4, and it’s far past time Musgrave handed him the keys to the sports car — without supervision.

Now, I’m not necessarily lobbying for Carr to have complete autonomy at the line, but I am tremendously in favor of our offense going over the speed limit more times than not.

In fact, wouldn’t it be something to see Carr and company come out on the opening drive, spread the defense, and push the pedal to floor? I’m all here for it. I’m here for all of this: primetime football in Oakland, against the Broncos, and for first place in the AFC West.

What a time to be alive. Just Win, Baby.

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