Levi Damien from our sister site, Silver and Black Pride, was kind enough to stop by and educate us on his beloved Raiders before the Texans head up to Oakland for this seemingly annual matchup. We touched on everything from Carr Part Deux (that’s CPD to you), to Khalil Mack, to Levi’s expectations for the Bastards of the Black Hole this season. Read on for the whole Q&A, and make sure to take a look at my answers to Levi's questions over at Silver and Black Pride.
1 - How did Derek Carr look in his first NFL start? Are you encouraged or discouraged by what you saw?
Not to be too plain, but he looked like a rookie in his first start. I was not encouraged by what I saw for two main reasons. I don’t think these coaches will be able to get the most out of him, and he showed the same lack of pocket presence that was his biggest criticism coming into the draft. He has all the other skills, but the one area that caused him to fall to the second round was his lack of pocket presence. He is too quick to check down or flee the pocket altogether instead of standing in the pocket and going through all his reads. That absolutely doesn’t mean he can’t improve – it was his first start after all, and everything was probably going 100 miles per hour – but he didn’t show anything encouraging in the opener.
2 - Sio Moore had a statistically monstrous day with 10 tackles, a sack, and a forced fumble. Along with Khalil Mack, the duo seems to be the future of the Raiders' defense. How did they look last week against the Jets? Should Texans fans be worried?
Khalil Mack didn’t do much, but Sio Moore was all over the place making plays. I also don’t think teams will be able to keep Mack down forever. He will get his and he will get better. And I suspect he will stop tackling his own guys.
How worried? Maybe some. Geno Smith is quite a bit more elusive than Ryan Fitzpatrick, and there were a couple times a less mobile quarterback would have been sacked or stopped short.
3 - Speaking of defense, what would you say is Oakland's greatest weakness on D?
The corners have and will continue to be a weakness. Carlos Rogers saw nine passes Sunday and gave up catches on all nine of them. Tarell Brown didn’t see any targets, but that’s because Geno Smith doesn’t throw to his left unless he absolutely has to. The nickel will be either Chimdi Chekwa or rookie seventh round pick TJ Carrie. I will add that the defensive line didn’t look too good last week either. They got manhandled at the line of scrimmage by the Jets. They must rebound from that performance.
4 - What are your expectations for the Raiders this season?
I don’t expect much. Even before the loss last week in the Meadowlands. They are still a rebuilding team and they have a brutal schedule with a rookie quarterback backed up by the "tired arm" of Matt Schaub. My record predication was 5-11. That is looking optimistic at the moment.
5 - Put your name on it: The score for this game will be Texans ____, Raiders ____. Why?
Texans 27, Raiders 23.
I don’t see the Raiders' defensive line and linebackers being able to keep Arian Foster under wraps, the secondary being able to guard Andre Johnson, and I see Ryan Fitzpatrick playing relatively mistake-free football. In turn, the Raiders' offense hasn’t shown they can or will stretch the field, and I can’t see them being able to put together enough long drives to keep pace.
Thank you again to Levi for making himself available to answer our questions. For all things Raiders, head on over to Silver and Black Pride and join the discussion.
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