This week's opponent is an intriguing one for sure. While the Raiders have been known for their lack of sucess over the past few years, the team has straightened out by writing off bad contracts from the books, drafting smartly, and making key veteran signings. While the team looks vastly better on paper compared to the squads of years past, it hasn't translated to the field so far, as the team got blown out by the Bengals last week.
With a deadly pass rush consiting of Khalil Mack, Justin Tuck, and Aldon Smith, this Raiders' defense is no joke. If the Ravens offensive line is up to last week's shenanigans, this could be a deadly mismatch.
For this week's chat, I sat down with Levi Damien, who is the Editor in Chief of SBNation's 'Silver and Black Pride', the premier Oakland Raiders blog. I'd like to thank Levi for his time and great answers. Here are my answers to his questions.
1.) No team wants to be blown out Week 1, but that's just what happened to your Raiders. What can the team do differently this week? What went wrong, what went right?
Wow. That's a lot of big questions. Though, it's answered pretty simply: Everything went wrong. There wasn't a single area of the team that functioned properly. Against the Ravens, they need to commit to the run, blitz the quarterback (which they didn't do at all last week), protect the quarterback, not commit so many stupid penalties, and throw the ball more than 10 yards down the field. Like I said, pretty much everything they weren't doing last week.
2.) While we didn't get to see much of him last week, what's the expectation for Derek Carr as he enters his second year in the NFL?
The expectation was to see more accuracy and more confidence throwing the ball down field. Though we didn't see any of that in the season opener. He was all over the place on his throws and didn't complete a single pass past ten yards. It's hard not to expect more of the same until he proves otherwise.
3.) What sort of, or is there any confidence in the two backup safeties that the Raiders may have to start Sunday?
4.) Amari Cooper looked like he had a nice game based on the stat line. Was he as good as the numbers say? Or were those just garbage time numbers?
He had a rocky start, dropping the first two passes to him, but after that he settled down and had a good game. His 24-yard reception was almost entirely run after the catch. He had a similar play in the third preseason game. You can bet he will make a few defensive backs look silly in this one.
5.) On a scale of 1 to 10, how rustled are your jimmies about Adam Jones' display of aggression towards Amari Cooper last week?
Author's Note: To rustle one's jimmies means to make someone discontent or to bother someone. (Urban Dictionary)
I am not sure I know what it means to be rustled in my jimmies, but I will take a stab at it. The most upsetting part about the whole thing is the fact that Jones wasn't ejected or suspended for his actions. It goes against everything the NFL has been preaching in recent years about head injuries, violence, and contact with helmetless players. The explanation the NFL gave as complete nonsense too. They said the Bengals were penalized 15 yard -- they weren't because they flagged the Raiders for defending Cooper causing offsetting penalties. They said he didn't swing the helmet -- he swung Cooper head to hit the helmet, which is pretty much the same thing. And they said he wasn't injured -- as if that has ever mattered one bit in the enforcement of such rules. The whole thing is just weird and makes no sense why they would go through such trouble to defend Pacman Jones.