This has been a wild couple of week for the Oakland Raiders. Two weeks ago the Raiders not only beat the Niners, but they dominated the flow of the game for the vast majority of it. During the course of that game, rookie quarterback Derek Carr torched the Niners putting up the second best quarterback rating against the San Francisco defense this season. The following game was against the Chiefs in Kansas City, and the game was over early. For all intents and purposes, the Raiders got blown out and had a very poor showing eliminating any momentum they may have had, while on the flip side, preserving top draft position. This week the Raiders are taking on the Bills at home. Buffalo is coming in with swagger, and a downright nasty front seven. Buffalo’s offense can be anemic at times which means this game will be low scoring most likely. Will the Raiders win? Maybe, but at this point it is really irrelevant. For this week’s column I am going back to the question and answer format to have some more fun.
Question 1 from @khdez24raiders
do you think Greg Olson is the problem with the raiders offense or do you think it’s just everyone not putting in a full?
I have been criticizing Greg Olson pretty consistently all season. The issue for me with Olson is not a lack of creativity, because in both of the Raiders wins we have seen all of the route concepts that I have been crying out for. What it comes down to is inconsistency. Why is it against the Chiefs when the Raiders were in that game we did not see any shallow crossing routes? We saw a tight end drag route for the first time all season against the Niners and it got a first down that set up a touchdown. We saw Reece used outside the numbers running a slant route with a designed blocker ahead of him and it scored a touchdown. Both are concepts I have been screaming for on a regular basis. Why we do not see them every week is a curious question. It is the difference between a team with a losing West Coast offense and a team with a winning one such as the Packers. It truly is bizarre.
Question 2 from @Raiders42025
your thoughts on mark Davis vs Michigan athletics dept?
First off, the power of the bowl cut is with Mark, and we all know that awesome hair like Mark’s automatically makes things happen. Secondly, and much more importantly, the Raiders are an NFL franchise. That is the pinnacle of all football in the world and although Harbaugh may have a fondness for Michigan athletics, is that more intense than the NFL? Interestingly enough, where would Jim have the best potential to compete and maybe win a title? It seems more realistic that he could do that in Oakland. At least in Oakland he has the advantages of money and getting a crack at top talent. There are no playing field leveling measures in the college game. There is also a report that Jim’s wife wants to stay in the Bay Area. As far as I am concerned, I do not think Michigan will get Harbaugh because they outbid Mark. If Harbaugh chooses Michigan, it will be because his heart is there more than it is with the Raiders and the Davis family whom he speaks glowingly of especially Al. I think it is 50-50 but I am confident that Mark is not screwing around and means business in his pursuit of a new head coach.
Question 3 from @donaldday0129
…if williams is gone and if we pick 4 gregory or cooper
I know I am only answering the second half of your question, but that is because I will wrap the Harbaugh related question into the next one. As for the draft, if Williams is gone and my options are Cooper or Gregory I am basically deciding between two prospects I still do not have finite opinions on yet. With that in mind, I would tend to lean towards Gregory in this discussion. When I watch Gregory what I like most is his motor. He makes a ton of hustle plays which can disappear with top defensive prospects. I like his versatility a lot, and his pad level for being such a tall guy is quite decent. As impressive as Cooper is, I for whatever reason cannot get a real feel for him. I want to see more diverse routes run by Cooper, and I think his routes are a little soft at times. That is not to say that Cooper is not a very good prospect, but if I am going to nitpick then I tend to lean towards Gregory, but I reserve the right to change that as I start to watch more tape with notes.
Question 4 from @K_DUBB_80
WHO IS THE VERY NEXT HC ON YOUR LIST AFTER HARBAUGH?
Good grief…… Assuming I can have my pick of the litter I would say David Shaw. After that I would say Rex Ryan, Todd Bowles, David Cutcliffe, and finally John Pagano would fill out the rest of my list. To be honest, I am not overly picky about who the Raiders puruse for a new head coach as long as the guy they get is not over 63, and has not spent significant time away from being in a franchise working at his craft.
Question 5 from @Mistah50
what percentage would you say reggie mckenzie is back with the Raiders?
Honestly, I would say it is 50-50. I am not entirely sold that Harbaugh would demand his own general manager without at least understanding who Reggie is. Reggie is the right sort of general manager for Harbaugh and Mark could simply redefine some of Reggie’s roles and give Harbaugh a more level playing field while making Mark the ultimate decider if no concensus. I understand the idea that Harbaugh may want to pick his own general manager. The proponents of this concept site the experiment in Seattle as evidence for this. It has also been rumored that the Raiders would bring in Tom Gamble to work with Harbaugh. I do not see Gamble as a significant upgrade if at all from Reggie McKenzie. He has no general managerial experience, but his resume looks very similar to Reggie’s. Tom was Director of Pro Personnel in San Francisco, and was then promoted to Director of Player Personnel. Gamble also did a short stint with coaching and worked his way up as a scout. Whether you like Reggie or not Gamble’s resume reads almost identically to his. Simply put, I do not see Gamble as a signfiicant upgrade, nor do I see any other potential candidate as a better option.
Question 6 from @newcalgarymayor
which safety in the draft should the raiders target?
Great question. I find the likelihood of Landon Collins pretty minimal unless something wild happens with a trade down. Beyond that there are many safeties I am high on in this draft. Jalen Mills from LSU is a well rounded safety that I like a lot. Karl Joseph from West Virginia had some crazy games including huge tackle numbers against Alabama. He has shown an ability to play both deep and in the box. I do worry a bit about his man skills but overall hehas a huge ceiling. To me the best safety from the neck up is Kurtis Drummond from Michegan State. I love him as a versatile safety with solid instincts. He has a tendency to be overly aggressive and bite at times, but he is a playmaker and has the ability to hit as well. If the Raiders could get Drummond in the second or third round I would be extremely happy.
Question 7 from @nanddukes
will reggie back up truck for suh/thomas (gotta spend it) or get multiple tier 2 guys(paea, spikes etc)..
I do not view this as an either or situation. We know Reggie publically went after Desean Jackson and Darelle Revis, but neither wanted to go to Oakland. Depending on who the big fish is I think Reggie wants to make a splash. I do think that man will not be Suh nor Dez for different reasons. However, the pair of Pierre-Paul and Cobb would be a duo I could see Reggie loving. From there adding Paea, Bowling, Hudson, Spikes, and Gresham would make for an immense haul and well spent money. Having Tuck may assist in Reggie’s ability to acquire Pierre-Paul, and he is very knowledgeable about the talents of Cobb. Bowling and Hudson would solidify the interior offensive line allowing Howard to go back to right tackle, while signing Spikes gives the Raiders the big middle linebacker they need. Paea would be a solid interior pass rusher, while Gresham would add that blocking tight end the Raiders need which is why they pursued Pettigrew in the offseason. If Reggie were to land Cobb and Pierre-Paul he would land two of the top seven or so free agents. Having Harbaugh as his head coach could make this a reality, but the significant increase we will see in next year’s cap will nullify the Raiders’ advantage again this season.