Week 14 Mailbag: Oakland Raiders

Dec 8, 2016; Kansas City, MO, USA; Oakland Raiders quarterback Derek Carr (4) reacts during a NFL football game against the Kansas City Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
Dec 8, 2016; Kansas City, MO, USA; Oakland Raiders quarterback Derek Carr (4) reacts during a NFL football game against the Kansas City Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports /

Week 14 of the JBB Mailbag, answering questions from Twitter following the Oakland Raiders loss to the Kansas City Chiefs.

A cardinal rule for me, personally, is to “never write out of emotion”. There are some who would argue that’s where your best work stems from, but last Thursday night, it wasn’t happening.

Before the season started, associating the Oakland Raiders — our Oakland Raiders — with the Super Bowl was beyond even my wildest pigskin dreams. But now we’re here. And that’s why last Thursday’s 21-13 loss to Kansas City — the second of the season to the Chiefs — hurt.

Because I believe in this team, we all do; and it just felt like that was the win the team, the organization, and this fan base needed — for validation.

It’s like Al once said, “The fire that burns brightest in the Raiders organization is the will to win.”

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.

I believe what is most frustrating, for many of us, is that we can beat Kansas City. As a sports fan, I try not to ever belittle the ultimate outcome of a game, nor demean the effort, and victory, of an opposing team. Combat the urge to be a sore loser.

Yet on the contrary, what transpired last Thursday, you can’t help but to count the ways we beat ourselves — and that’s why holding this L, again, stings.

We. Can. Beat. That. Team.

If the souls of Al Davis and Lamar Hunt collide in the heavens, and the Raiders meet the Chiefs this postseason, I believe that we will win.

Let’s start by saying this, the obvious, the Raiders pass coverage at the second level is a hole. Glaring, in nature, and football. The is no right answer to this question, because it’s a devastating weakness for this team.

What I will say is, Bruce Irvin shows encouraging signs. Although the issue with Irvin is when it’s bad, it’s brutal. You can see it in his body language, he doesn’t want the responsibility of pass coverage, and honestly, none of us want him to!

Perry Riley is another that comes to mind, but the aforementioned applies here as well. There is no happy medium — when it’s bad, it’s bad.

We can’t drive ourselves crazy searching for what isn’t there. Acquiring a linebacker that can excel in pass coverage is a top priority this offseason, and I believe our best option would be finding that player in the draft.

I’m with you somewhat, and I say somewhat only because I attacked this from a different angle. Why wasn’t the game plan, initially, to attack Kansas City with the ground game? Regardless of whether Carr struggled or not, I felt that the opportunity was there to be successful running the ball — even sans Osemele.

Although to your point, once Carr showed signs of struggling, there was no reason not to feature our running backs more. Latavius Murray and Jalen Richard averaged 4.7 and 4.8 yards per carry, respectively, the opportunity was there to further force the run game.

Carr threw 41 pass attempts. Turn even ten of those into carries, by either back, and it can be argued that we have a different outcome.

Over the last three games, Amari Cooper beats out Seth Roberts in targets, 21-18. In last week’s defeat, Cooper had 10, and Roberts had 9.

A better way to look at this situation is much like the previous question, what could the Raiders be doing, better, offensively if Seth Roberts targets were cut in half — food for thought.

What we’re witnessing is the football version of shooting 70 percent from half court, while air balling midrange jumpers, almost routinely.

Both Darius Latham and Shilique Calhoun come to mind. However, I am becoming increasingly concerned with the toe of Karl Joseph. Any injury relative to the foot sends chills down my spine. Definitely a situation to monitor.

Khalil Mack. As long as Mack is the anchor of this unit, I maintain faith that this defense can succeed in the postseason. With MEJ expected back, and Goodell willing, Aldon Smith as well, I believe the potential — and continued — dominance of our front could absolutely compete in the postseason.

But ultimately, it’s a team effort. Postseason success, and continued success in the regular season, can only be made possible by a commitment to excellence by all three phases: offense, defense, and special teams.

Or, simply put, “by any means!”.

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