Levi Damien of SB Nation's site for all things Oakland and Raider, Silver And Black Pride, was kind enough to answer some of my questions about the Raiders before tomorrow's game. Here's what he had to say.
1. What do you think of Reggie McKenzie's job in Oakland so far? How soon do you think the Raiders can return to the glory days?
SBP: It’s been mixed. His free agents last season were pretty poor. The only real winner was Philip Wheeler, and he left as a free agent after the season. This season’s free agents have been much better. There are quite a few who will contribute for a good long while and a few others who are on one-year deals and will be priorities for re-signing.
His first two drafts have not been very good. Most of this season, there has only been one active player on the roster from last year’s draft. Currently there are expected to be two – Jack Crawford and Juron Criner. Sunday we will see one player from the past two draft classes – a total of 17 picks -- take the field as a starter – Sio Moore. Fourth round pick Tyler Wilson didn’t make the final roster out of camp and is on the team’s practice squad. He is expected to be activated for the first time Sunday with Terrelle Pryor likely not healthy enough to play.
2. What are your impressions of Terrelle Pryor? Is he the long term answer at quarterback?
SBP: Ah yes, the weekly question. I have gone back and forth on this. He showed progress early in the season and has now had an historically bad four-game stretch. It appears he has regressed and if he can’t show something soon, there is no reason to think he can be the long-term answer. Not that that matters to your readers this week because he isn’t playing. Undrafted rookie Matt McGloin will be getting the start.
3. The Raiders seem to have some very poorly timed injuries going in to this game. What does the absence of Darren McFadden mean for this offense?
SBP: Poorly timed? Is there a good time for injuries? Darren McFadden is injured every season. His absence actually improves the offense, believe it or not. Rashad Jennings has been far more effective. I’m not just saying that because it sounds good either. Jennings has three games over 100 yards of offense despite only getting two starts. McFadden had just one game this season over 100 yards of offense despite getting seven starts. Jennings averages more than a yard more per carry than McFadden and therefore is just 20 yards away from matching McFadden’s season total having had many fewer carries.
4. What would you say is Oakland's top priority in this coming draft?
SBP: It could be quarterback, barring any unforeseen heroics from Pryor, McGloin, or Tyler Wilson. Outside of that, offensive guard is the weakest position on the team. The new regime’s first ever draft pick was offensive guard Tony Bergstrom, but he looked pretty bad before being lost for the season with an injury. His replacement, Lucas Nix, has been an all out travesty.
5. Put Your Name On It: The score for this game will be OAK ____ HOU ____. Why?
SBP: Oakland 17, Houston 24. Both teams are starting undrafted quarterbacks. Case Keenum is playing inspired football for his hometown Texans. McGloin is a rookie getting his first start. The Raiders would lose this one regardless of who was at quarterback anyway. Neither Pryor nor McGloin inspire much in the way of confidence that they can pick up this stagnant offense. The Raiders' defense has been good but the Texans' defense has been the best in the league statistically. Plus, it’s in Houston.
Thanks to Levi for stopping by. Make sure to check out Silver And Black Pride to see what Raiders fans have to say about tomorrow's game.