Week 15 of the JBB Mailbag, answering questions from Twitter following the Oakland Raiders win over the San Diego Chargers.
I’ll be with you all in a moment, I just can’t stop looping these visuals of Donald Penn and Kelechi Osemele violating various Chargers.
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.
Firstly, I know I speak for all of Raider Nation in extending an overwhelming congratulations to our league-high seven selected Pro Bowlers: Khalil Mack, Kelechi Osemele, Rodney Hudson, Donald Penn, Amari Cooper, Derek Carr, and Reggie Nelson.
As it pertains to Nelson, it’s sort of unfortunate to see that most of the balking over his selection has come from the fans of this organization.
Nelson has not been perfect in coverage, this season, yet he has made critical plays when this team needed them most — on more than a couple of occasions.
Interestingly enough, for a fan base typically engrossed with statistics, I find it odd that some don’t believe that one of our own safeties — who is tied for most takeaways (6) among all safeties — doesn’t believe that Nelson was worthy of his Pro Bowl selection. Especially since three of those takeaways ultimately resulted in victory formations for Oakland.
That’s my case.
You’re speaking to my soul, Joe. Yelling at my television, over Latavius Murray missing what seems like an endless stretch of green, has become a staple of my Sundays this season. Too often I find myself in this tug of war, debating whether this is an issue of Murray bloodthirsty for contact, or a lack of vision. In any case, it’s an issue.
By now I assume everyone is aware MEJ has been cleared to practice, has been practicing, and is expected to play on Christmas Eve. What is unclear is how much MEJ we will see against Indianapolis, although I think it’s safe to say — due to the nature of the injury — he’ll be on monitored extremely closely, and on a limited snap count. But don’t let an anticipated limited amount of snaps distract you from the fact that he’s back.
We are all at the mercy of this inquiry. In the presence of lingering Watson injuries, one could understand why Howard continued to start over Watson. But when healthy, especially when taking into account Howard’s struggling performance against Chargers rookie Joey Bosa, and the internally infamous false start in Kansas City, it remains unfathomable to me how Menelik Watson isn’t starting for this team.
Although Khalil Mack is currently tied for fifth, with 11 sacks on the season, he trails league leader, Vic Beasley, by 3.5.
Unfortunately for Mack, Beasley’s last two games coming against teams who have flagrantly struggled to protect their quarterback — Carolina and New Orleans — the second-year Falcons linebacker may have no trouble extending and securing his sack lead to closeout the 2016 season.
Rest could serve to be beneficial for this team, as the Week 10 bye week seems like it was seasons ago. Although there’s also a part of me that could justify continuing to play into the postseason, without a bye, in the event the Raiders win their final two games. Why disrupt the continuity?
Ultimately, it’s a situation that the team — the players and coaches — control. Win out, and the Raiders have a first round bye, presumably along with the Patriots. And again, this team could use the rest.
In clinching a playoff berth, the Oakland Raiders have created a momentous opportunity for themselves, the fans, and the organization as a whole, though most importantly, the entire East Bay community. The magnitude of what’s at stake cannot be overstated.
Now, more than ever before, is the time to commit to excellence. Now is the time to just win.
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