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LONDON — Greetings from across the pond, everyone.
I touched down in London around 7 a.m. local time Wednesday, a little over two days before the Raiders land here for their Sunday game against the Seahawks at 6 p.m. local time (10 a.m. PST). Feel free to send over any recommendations for what to do these next two-plus days.
For now, let’s get to some of your Week 6 mailbag questions. There were some good ones among the bunch.
Here are your answers to 20 of them.
1. @ROCRAIDER585: Who’s fault is it for Cooper’s disappearance? Carr, Coop, or Gruden’s?
I’d say it’s a combination. Jon Gruden insists Cooper has been the No. 1 option on some plays, that the ball just hasn’t found its way there for whatever reason. Cooper insists he’s not always smothered, like when he reminded his head coach and quarterback after Carr’s interception against the Chargers that he was open in the end zone. Sometimes Carr needs to look the way of his No. 1 receiver more when he’s a primary option, sometimes Cooper needs to create more space, sometimes Gruden needs to call his number more. It’s a collaborative effort when it comes to Cooper’s three no-shows this season (a combined four catches on nine targets for 36 yards), which have all come on odd weeks.
2. @bigpayday13: Why is Doug Martin the backup RB and better yet on the roster??? Deandre Washington is a MUCH better back at this point and also a much better Receiver!
The Doug Martin haters among Raider Nation are certainly stockpiling more fuel for their case. Martin has 27 carries for 99 yards (a mediocre 3.7 yards per carry) and no touchdowns through five games. In the last two weeks, he’s run seven times for 12 yards. DeAndre Washington has yet to be active on game day upon healing his knee following a minor scope, so we don’t really know what he has in 2018 just yet since we haven’t seen flashes in a game. Jalen Richard, however, got the most snaps of any running back in Week 5 (27), and his abilities in the passing game may vault him to No. 2 from No. 3 if Martin keeps struggling to break through.
3. @chappy23us: Is Gruden tied at the hip with Carr or can you see a scenario where Carr is out?
I don’t see a scenario where Carr is out, to be honest with you. Then again, I’m not sure what your time frame is for Carr being “out.” Certainly not any time in the next couple seasons. They seem pretty tied at the hip right now.
4. @jamescash05: What’s going on with Gareon?
He’s just not playing well. Paul Guenther said Tuesday he’s spoon-feeding Conley the system to treat him like a rookie since he only played two games last season. Gruden said Monday it’s part Daryl Worley playing well in his debut, part Conley’s struggles. I think Gruden’s response is closer to the real reason Conley played a season-low 13 defensive snaps last Sunday.
5. @DreamSurferFilm: Do the raiders need to run more? Considering they have good running back’s. I understand that the line is beat up but they would do better going forward then their pass protection especially when Carr seems to lose his accuracy while under pressure.
Last weekend they were down big, so that’s why you only saw 13 runs combined from four different players in the 16-point loss to the Chargers. Carr hasn’t been good under pressure this season, yes, but I think the Raiders are fine with how much they’re running the ball (16th in the NFL with 124 attempts). Especially when you’re trailing late (see: Weeks 1, 3 and 5) your rushing attempts will dip. According to Pro Football Focus, Carr completed 6-of-10 passes for 76 yards and one interception when pressured against the Chargers. Carr has six picks and no touchdowns when pressured this season. His 37.3 passer rating under pressure ranks 32nd of 36 qualifying quarterbacks. So maybe the Raiders can run a little bit more to alleviate some pressure, but then again they have to get somewhere on those runs and not every attempt will be a bruising Marshawn Lynch 9-yard gain.
6. @kendall_rooker: What were your expectations for the raiders to be at this point of the year, also what are your expectations for the rest of the year?
I probably expected the Raiders to be 2-3 or 3-2 at this point before the season started. With their record 1-4, I think they’ll go 6-10 or 7-9 just because the Seahawks, Colts, 49ers and Cardinals are four very winnable games among their next five. The home stretch is brutal, though, with the Chiefs twice, Steelers, Ravens and Bengals. No playoffs this year it seems, Raider Nation.
7. @TimMarburger62: Not trying to cast blame but, how many of Raider draft picks in the last five years are still in the league? maybe its time to acknowledge that Reggie was great at getting the Raiders out of salary cap hell but talent evaluation has not been his strength.
I think we can all agree on that. Of McKenzie’s 43 draft picks over the last five years, 12 are free agents. Some of the 31 still in the league, Elijah Hood with Panthers, Obi Melifonwu with Raiders, etc., aren’t on active rosters, but we won’t hold their injuries against them. Point being, you’d find few who disagree with you in your assessment of McKenzie.
8. @Glennamstyle: Where do see the Raiders playing next season? San Diego, Oakland, or elsewhere
I think they either stay in Oakland or play at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara.
9. @LGND54626: I know we have a young Dline but why can’t we get to the QB? Is it lack of technique, reps, strength?
Lack of reps for rookies certainly has something to do with it, but Mo Hurst and P.J. Hall are getting there. Arden Key, too. Bruce Irvin has three sacks this season, but he doesn’t bring the Khalil Mack factor that would’ve opened up so much more for the youngsters on the defensive line. So I would say not having a premier pass-rusher, obviously, and then simply the fact three prominent players on the D-line are rookies.
10. @urbanteaaa: what do you think of our lbs?
Not great. Tahir Whitehead has missed two big tackles the last two weeks on long touchdown runs. Derrick Johnson’s age seems to be catching up with him. Marquel Lee is serviceable for now, but still nothing eye-opening. Emmanuel Lamur hasn’t played much. As Raider Nation knows all too well, linebackers are a sore subject.
11. @raidercanada: Why is Reggie Mck still with the team if all his picks have been purged?
There’s no point of firing McKenzie in the middle of the season just to create more chaos around an already struggling team. Gruden is the de facto GM anyway, so just let McKenzie hold the title until Gruden wants someone else, which may come after this season.
12. @larrysharma: How bad is Osemele? What about left tackle knee?
Osemele returned to non-padded practice Tuesday, which is a start given the fact he didn’t step on the practice field once leading up to the Chargers game. Kolton Miller’s right knee obviously didn’t prevent him from playing, but he’s not 100% either. Both wore a brace on their right knee at practice Tuesday, and I’d expect both to play Sunday.
13. @JimmyJavier: Is it time for the Raiders to already start thinking about new coordinators? The playcalling on both sides of the ball has been absolutely awful.
Greg Olson doesn’t call plays for the offense – Gruden does – so there’s no point in firing him because of the offensive playcalling. Guenther’s unit has maybe performed worse than expected, but take it easy on the firing talk.
14. @BORI_LOLLO: what did you think how worley play this past weekend and why we still playing reggie nelson?
I thought Worley was alright Sunday in his first action of the season. He played the most defensive snaps of any cornerback (49) and, according to Pro Football Focus, was targeted five times, allowed four catches for only 17 yards and made four total stops (tackles that constitute a “loss” for the offense). Gruden was impressed with Worley, too, clearly. As for Reggie Nelson: I mean, who else do you have that is that much better. Erik Harris played well Sunday, but I don’t really think it makes that much of a difference with Nelson in there.
15. @AlexValerio01: Do you see any major moves happening before the trade deadline for the Raiders?
I don’t, no. Gruden seems to want to turn this around with the guys he has in there now, but you never know with Chucky. Maybe he trades a guy like Irvin for a pick if this season really gets out of control, but I still don’t see it.
16. @David32259308: Expecting Carr to lay an egg vs the Seahawks. Do you think McCarron gets the next start?
My man. Come on.
17. @discgman: Why is the offensive line so bad this year? Half the reason Carr is struggling is because he is running for his life. He is a pocket qb not a runner.
I wouldn’t say the offensive line has been bad this year. Sure, it hasn’t been 2016 level good, but with a rookie left tackle and a past-his-prime veteran/rookie third-rounder at right tackle, Gruden and Tom Cable can’t be disappointed.
18. @PigskinEdge: Is Gruden’s ticket to London of the one way variety?
Again, my man. Come on.
19. @RandomMandood: Do you foresee next years team dropping all the aging vets and focusing on a rebuild with young players and another year out of contention?
Good question. If there’s one thing we’ve learned about Gruden, it’s that he values his vets. I think there is plenty value in having them on the roster – maybe not as many as the Raiders have – and Gruden won’t stray entirely from that philosophy. He certainly won’t go for a full-on rebuilding here for the team’s last year before the Vegas move because he knows how badly that would sit with the fanbase.
20. @TheStephanClark: Does Mark Davis regret it yet?
Not sure Mark will ever regret it. This was his guy, his golden boy, his prized possession, and it will take A LOT to make him think he made the wrong call hiring Gruden.