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Raiders Mailbag: How could Patrick Graham utilize new practice squad addition Blake Martinez?

Michael Valencia asks:

"Is Blake Martinez going to be starting or be a sub? We need a veteran linebacker."

The great thing about adding Blake Martinez to the team is he can prosper as a starter or a depth piece.

The Silver and Black added the seasoned linebacker to the practice squad this week, with potential to be elevated when needed. What makes Martinez an interesting signing is his relationship with defensive coordinator Patrick Graham, who coached him for three seasons on the Green Bay Packers and the New York Giants. The two seasons Martinez spent in New York under Graham, he accumulated 174 total tackles, 10 tackles for loss, five pass deflections and three sacks.

"[W]e go back to, I believe it was 2018 at Green Bay. I met [Martinez] and I think it was his third year as a linebacker in the league, and really our relationship grew from there," Graham said. "I was coaching linebackers, that was first time back coaching linebackers since 2015, and just got a good chance to grow with him. ... He works extremely hard and just developed a great relationship so when the opportunity came in New York, we got a chance to sign him there. He did a great job for me in terms of running the defense, echoing the message from the coaching staff and I just got a lot of respect for him."

"I got a lot of respect for him as a player, but more importantly as a man," continued Graham. "Just to see his growth as he's gotten older, that's one of the benefits of our job is you get to see these young men grow up on and off the field."

The linebacker was just as vocal about his relationship with Graham, labeling it as a huge factor behind signing with the Raiders. The Tucson, Arizona, native also gets much closer to home with the move to Vegas. He believes his experience in Graham's defense will fare well for him as well as for the Silver and Black.

"It helps a lot to have that comfortability to be able to understand exactly his mindset, what he wants to see out there and quickly pick it up," said Martinez. "Overall [his first practice] went well. There's things to clean up, things to understand and just understand what [linebackers coach] Antonio Pierce wants from me out there and wants me to do."

Greg Milman asks:

"Why has Chandler Jones been so non-effective?"

Taking a look at Chandler Jones stats this season, some could assume he's been non-effective. But you know what they say about assuming.

When watching film from the past four weeks, Jones has still found ways to be effective rushing the passer and stopping the run. Patrick Graham has asked Jones to play a different role against all four of their opponents this season, with Jones unselfishly obliging. The veteran edge rusher has been able to contribute pressure, despite not recording a sack yet.

Through four games, Jones has eight total pressures and four quarterback hits. Additionally, he had a 76.9 PFF coverage grade in his previous game against the Denver Broncos.

"He's making a lot of plays that don't show up in the stats," Head Coach Josh McDaniels said Monday. "And that's probably going to be not good enough for everybody to listen to, but he's making plays in the running game, he drew multiple holding penalties yesterday.

"I mean, there is ways to produce and there is a way to impact the game beyond just the one column that everybody's looking for. ... Chandler is an unselfish guy, and he understands what his role is. Nobody would want to have more of those than Chandler would, but he also is not going to sit here and get frustrated with lack of those production stats."

Adam Joseph Littleton asks:

"Are we going to run the ball as much again as we did against Denver?"

Josh Jacobs has been running like a mad man this season, so of course it's possible McDaniels could want to keep that going. The Raiders workhorse back is coming off a career-high 144 rushing yards with two touchdowns against the Broncos. He's currently averaging a little over five scrimmage yards per touch, with no sign of slowing down, according to his head coach.

"He's hard to tackle. Getting him started, getting him going early in the game, I think was a big focus for us," McDaniels on Jacobs showing against Denver. "I thought he carried that through to the end. ... One of the unique things about Josh Jacobs is you've never seen him do this [tap helmet for substitution], and I think that's a tribute to the kid and how much he loves football, how hard he competes on a play after play basis."

Even with how successful Jacobs has been running the ball this season, it will be a tough task to get him going against a Chiefs defense that has allowed the least amount of rushing yards this season.

Head inside Intermountain Healthcare Performance Center to view the best photos from Wednesday's practice.

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