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Raiders Mailbag: Consistency and balance remain key as team moves into late stretch

Chuy Sandoval says:

"Mix it up with runs and passes."

Balance, balance and more balance.

The Raiders offense has shown it's most dangerous with a balanced running and passing attack, as well as controlling the time of possession. This season, the Silver and Black are 4-0 when they pick up at least 400 total yards of offense, reaching at least 225 passing yards and 100 rushing yards in each of those four victories.

With Darren Waller and Hunter Renfrow designated to return from injured reserve, that could amplify the balance if they are activated to the 53-man in time for the game. Josh Jacobs has been lights out this season, currently leading the league in rushing yards. If he can keep dominating on the ground, that will continue to create opportunities in the passing game for a returning Waller and Renfrow, not to mention Davante Adams, who's tied for the league lead in touchdown receptions (12).

"We've been putting the thought together for months and months now," Adams said of potentially playing alongside Waller and Renfrow again. "It's about just making real action, doing something about it once we get out there and going to make plays. We definitely scheme up. We've got a good plan in so far, and I think those guys have put in the proper steps to make sure that they are back and ready to go now, so it's just about execution."

Peter Blood said:

"Play superior defense when you have the lead."

The Silver and Black defense has played good complimentary football lately, and must continue to do so late in games.

The defensive unit has compiled 15 sacks and four turnovers in the past four games, which can be considered a big role behind the team going 3-1 in that stretch. Despite how great the defense has been playing, they allowed 14 unanswered points in the fourth quarter to the Rams last Thursday – after holding Los Angeles to three points up to that point.

Fortunately for them, the untimely penalties and mental mistakes made late in that game can be fixed through preparation. The Raiders are currently ranked top ten in the league in fewest penalty yards committed.

Tyler Sweeney asks:

"Who's going to step up on defense and start feasting with Maxx Crosby?"

As of late, it's been his teammate across the defensive line, Chandler Jones.

The edge rusher has been sensational the previous two weeks, racking up four sacks, seven quarterback hits, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery in that span, plus a AFC Defensive Player of the Week award. The emergence of Jones has been aided by the interior pass rush with Bilal Nichols, Kyle Peko and late season acquisition Jerry Tillery.

While Maxx Crosby is having an exceptional season, it was only a matter of time before Jones found his groove as well.

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