What's popping, Raider Nation?
This will be my first Raiders.com Mailbag since flying to the desert from SEC Country in Birmingham, Ala. There's not too much difference from Las Vegas to Birmingham: The people are friendly, the food is fantastic, and it's hot as hell.
A lot of you asked some pretty good questions on Facebook regarding what can be done to stop the experienced Saints team going into the first game in Allegiant Stadium.
Thank you all for your questions this week and if there's anything I missed, or if you would like to keep the conversation going, hit me up @theleviedwards on Twitter and Instagram.
I apologize for that shameless social media plug. Let's get after it.
Ricky Jimenez - "What are some areas of improvement you need to see the Raiders make on defense to get ready for Drew Brees?
A lot of people sounded off in the comments regarding the need for the defensive line to step up this game.
You are all absolutely right.
This young, aggressive defensive line for the Silver and Black needs to put ample amount of pressure on Drew Brees for him to make mistakes. This will be easier said that done though, as the Saints offensive line has three Pro Bowlers, and Drew Brees is certainly going to Canton once he hangs up his pads for good.
Donny Wowor - "What's the latest on Ruggs?"
The rookie sensation Henry Ruggs III led the team in receiving yards against the Panthers despite not catching a ball in the second half. He suffered a knee injury in the second quarter in the win against Carolina; however, returned to play the rest of the game.
Ruggs did not participate in practice Thursday or Friday. There is no word yet on if he''ll be ready to suit up for Monday against the Saints, but if he does, he will be someone that draws a lot of attention from the Saints — even if he's not at 100 percent.
Michael Richey - "Why wasn't Bryan Edwards targeted more?"
It's only a matter of time before Bryan Edwards gets his moment. The rookie has a 6'3, 212-pound frame that demands a lot of attention from opposing defenses.
Despite Edwards not being targeted against the Panthers, he was on the field a lot, and the offense could definitely look to use Edwards as a redzone threat against the Saints. Also, if Ruggs is a no-go against the Saints, Edwards will automatically be in line for more production.
Matthew Ryan Flores - "Glad to see we didn't turn the ball over on Sunday; however we didn't get a takeaway either. Who will come up with the first takeaway of the season for the Silver and Black?"
This might be a bold prediction, but I'm going with Cory Littleton.
The speedy linebacker was signed by the Raiders this offseason to lead the linebacking core and cause havoc in the middle of the field. Drew Brees is known for taking the short completion over the long juggernaut-type throws, which has worked out for him being the NFL's career leader in passer completion percent.
If the defense can cause Drew Brees to make a misread on a short route that he's comfortable making, Littleton would be in prime position to use his instincts and speed to make a play on the ball.
Gloria Marie Lopez- "Will the team still come out the tunnel at home to Hells Bells?"
What a great question, Gloria. I can't think of anything more badass than the Raiders running out the tunnel on primetime television for the first time in the Death Star, where opponents' dreams come to die.
I guess we'll have to find out on Monday Night. Regardless, AC/DC must have known they had a banger on their hands when they were in the studio recording it for 'Back in Black'.
Check into Intermountain Healthcare Performance Center for another day of practice as the Silver and Black prepare for their home opener against the Saints.