Latest Raiders.com Mailbag Questions Answered

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Last week, we asked you, the Raider Nation, to send in questions via social media. Thank you for all of the great questions. Normally we like to do this on Friday, but I was at this little ceremony in Ohio over the weekend. So, without further adieu…

From Carlos G: who are the stand out DB's so far after the 1st week?

Jerry Knaak: Cornerback Keith McGill has made some plays, safeties Charles Woodson and Nate Allen have been solid and consistent. Safety Jonathan Dowling has chalked up a few passes defensed. Cornerback Neiko Thorpe turned in an interception over the weekend.

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From Sharon C**: Prediction for who'll be our KR? What about PR?

JK: Trindon Holliday will get the first crack at it Friday night. It's what he does. This is one of those things you can't really get a gauge on in practice because you don't have an opponent bearing down on you wanting to knock you into the middle of next week. I think we'll see an open audition for three or four guys in the preseason.

Peter B: How has Mychal Rivera looked? I wanted to see how Walford would be but he hasn't practiced yet from what I've heard.

JK: Peter, Mychal Rivera has looked pretty impressive so far in camp. He has been running crisp routes and making nice catches downfield. Hopefully we'll get to see Clive Walford sooner than later.

Evan J: Are our receivers as good as they look or are our defensive backs really subpar?

JK: The position has definitely been upgraded. Amari Cooper is the real deal and Michael Crabtree is a crafty veteran. Yes, the defensive backs, with one exception, are very young. The receivers realize that there is real competition and they have stepped up their game. At the same token, the defensive backs had a nice three-day run as the defense dominated for a few days.

Jimmy T: Taiwan Jones has popped up in the practice notes several time can he actually compete for carries?

JK: I think "touches" might be the better word here. Taiwan Jones can fat out fly and is dangerous in space. I'm looking forward to seeing how offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave utilizes him. I'm thinking how the Atlanta Falcons used Eric Metcalf from 1995-96.

From John W: It doesn't seem that the running backs get thrown to very often. Will this change???

JK: Raiders running backs caught 106 passes last season. I think Coach Musgrave is going to try to take full advantage of all the weapons at his disposal.

From Jeff K: Any sleeper players that Raider Nation should know about???

JK: I really had my eye on running back Michael Dyer until he suffered an injury a few days ago. Tight ends coach Bobby Johnson is high on Gabe Holmes, who has been taking advantage of increased reps with Walford out. He might be fourth on the depth chart right now, but keep an eye on cornerback SaQwan Edwards. He always seems t be around the ball. Wide receiver Austin Willis has had a nice camp so far and he could be in the mix for a return job.

From Ben J: Everything about Cooper says he's going to be a star but what is most impressive about him and can he be our number one guy right away?

JK: Let's see… Amari Cooper is fast, has quick feet, catches the ball well, runs excellent routes, has a tireless work ethic, he's his own worst critic, he loves to play, and he seems to have his head screwed on straight. For a rookie, he just gets it.

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From Jackson J**: Trent Richardson missed the first week of training camp does this mean he already has no shot?

JK: Jackson, I think it's much too early to write Trent Richardson off. He had a nice week of practice and he is currently No. 2 on the depth chart. He needs work because of the time he's missed but he's made some nice runs in traffic. We'll see what he's got Friday night against the Rams.

From Alex H: between Valles, Mayowa and Autry who has been practicing better??

JK: All three have been very active and have flashed making different types of plays. Valles certainly has that off the ball and off the edge quickness that you like to see.

From Kenneth S: Will the depth be built more with the draft picks? Or will major free agents and released players the course taken going forward?

JK: I think the best 53 players will make this team, bottom line. The depth will shake itself out from there.

From Eric D: Will Khalil mack have his hand in the dirt more often this year? So we can use more linebackers that we brought in like Malcom Smith, and Ray-Ray Armstrong, Curtis Lofton, Sio Moore, etc.

JK: Eric, as of right now, linebacker Khalil Mack is listed at defensive end on the depth chart. However, the coaching staff has indicated the Mack will be used in a variety of ways. The pass rush must be addressed and Head Coach Jack Del Rio indicated in a recent press conference that this is a very high priority.

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