It's just about time to kick off the regular season! Raider Nation has questions, and Raiders.com Senior Editor Jerry Knaak has answers.
From Malcolm M: What are the three biggest reasons for optimism this season?
Jerry Knaak: Totally new coaching staff – led by Jack Del Rio, who has had much success in the NFL as a head coach and a coordinator, this staff has more than 100 years of playing experience. Quarterback Derek Carr – the sky is the limit for the second-year signal caller who is the first quarterback to start as a rookie and play all 16 games at the position as a rookie in Raiders history. With new weapons, Carr should show dramatic improvement. Linebacker Khalil Mack – if the preseason is any indication, the second-year man out of the University of Buffalo is ready to terrorize the opposition. He'll anchor this revamped defense for years to come.
From Ian P: What are the chances that Matt McGloin becomes the starter IF the Raiders don't get off to a strong offensive start?
JK: Many factors would have to go into a quarterback change, however, I don't think Derek Carr is going to have a short leash and I don't think Head Coach Jack Del Rio is going to have a quick hook. The Raiders are committed to Carr as the quarterback of now and the future. However, McGloin proved himself in the preseason, has starting experience and is ready to jump in if necessary.
From Joe D**: Which player is going to wow the NFL more this season: Amari Cooper, Khalil Mack, or Derek Carr?
JK: That's a tough question. I think all three will impress. Cooper should be a rookie of the year candidate and Mack could earn Defensive Player of the Year consideration. But as far as "wow" goes, I'd say Mack.
From Javier O: With Tuck and Woodson not playing much during pre-season how where they evaluated? Are they in good shape to start the season?
JK: These two players are consummate professionals. They are trusted to not only be in game shape but also be leaders in the locker room and on the field. Both got plenty of work in practice and throughout the offseason program.
Diego O: Are we going to see Seth Roberts play often after he had a nice preseason?
JK: We won't really know until Sunday. The team can only dress 46 players on game day so you don't really know how many receivers will be up until inactives are declared. With Andre Holmes coming off the hand injury, and Roberts special teams value, he could see plenty of action early.
From Jason H**: Where is the leadership expected to come from on this team?
JK: It starts with Head Coach Jack Del Rio. Although the team is young, Woodson and Tuck will provide that veteran leadership, along with new middle linebacker Curtis Lofton. Offensively, Carr is the unquestioned leader.
From James P: Lots of people are really upset that the team traded Sio Moore – what is the silver lining to this move???
JK: A 6th round draft pick. There are a few 6th former round picks on the team now including running back Latavius Murray. This move also gives other players opportunity to play as Coach Del Rio said he wasn't going to make the team. The team was able to get something in return.
From David S: I know nothing is set in stone but what positions could the Raiders still be looking to upgrade with free agents?
JK: Every position would be a candidate for an upgrade if a player was available who could improve the stock at that spot.
From Alex S**: The running game didn't do anything the last two games. Is that on the offensive line or the backs and do you expect that the Raiders will be able to run the ball more effectively in the regular season?
JK: That's an interesting question. The Cardinals did an effective job of crowding the box and run blitzing. The Seahawks did some of the same, but front-line players didn't play in this game. Once game planning and full game prep are in effect and Latavius Murray is in the 20-carry range, I think you are going to see a totally different animal here.
Jim P: Which players were you most surprised see to make the 53-man roster?
JK: Wide receiver Seth Roberts is the story here. Undrafted free agent out of a small school, he worked hard and jumped up and earned a spot. He shined with his job on the line.
Check out who's currently on the roster for the Oakland Raiders.