Prior to the Oakland Raiders trip to Minneapolis to face the Vikings, Raiders.com Senior Editor Jerry Knaak posed five questions as the Raiders entered Week 2 of the preseason. Here are the answers to those questions.
1. Can the Raiders play mistake free football two weeks in a row?
No. The Raiders committed 13 penalties, compared to just one for the Vikings. The infractions ranged from illegal contact, pass interference and hits on defenseless receivers on defense, to false starts and holding on offense. One interception led directly to a Vikings touchdown.
2. Are the Raiders reading headlines?
It doesn't appear so. The effort and enthusiasm were good, even with the weather delay. The Raiders got some chunk plays on offense they didn't get last week, but penalties and mistakes, and a few missed tackles, kept the Silver and Black from pulling this one out – not overconfidence.
- Who will claim the return jobs?**
Trindon Holliday and Trent Richardson returned one kickoff each, and the Raiders did not record a punt return. There have not been many opportunities for Raiders return men this preseason. Holliday called for and made one fair catch. The wind did wreak havoc with some punts. This next game against Cardinals will go a long way in determining the winner of this battle. Perhaps newcomer Devon Wiley will get a shot this week.
4. Who not named Khalil Mack can rush the passer for the Silver and Black?
Defensive end Shelby Harris has been the most impressive of the Raiders pass rushers thus far. Mario Edwards Jr flashed this week as he and Ben Heeney combined for a strip/sack that Harris recovered. Defensive end Denico Autry has been disruptive as well. With front line players getting more playing time this week, it will be interesting to see what the sub packages are and who can get to the quarterback.
5. How will the secondary respond?
Safety Jonathan Dowling made a nice sliding interception off quarterback Shaun Hill. Other than that, an illegal contact penalty, a pass interference call, two personal fouls for hits on defenseless receivers (one by a linebacker), a few missed tackles, a few receivers left open, all added up to an uneven performance. With the Cardinals coming to town, the secondary will have to tighten things up. Holding the opposition to field goal attempts is commendable, but not every kicker is going to miss three makeable attempts in one game.