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Raiders Mailbag: Will we see more from Isaiah Johnson?


What a time to be alive.

If we're talking teams, the Las Vegas Raiders are one to be talking about coming off an impressive victory against much-hyped rookie Justin Herbert and the Los Angeles Chargers.

The Raiders are starting to play peak football as they return to Allegiant Stadium with a 5-3 record, and they have another big challenge ahead of them against a young, emerging Denver Broncos team.

I had the pleasure of answering your questions, and if any of you need more answered, you can find me at @theleviedwards on Twitter and Instagram.

Now let the good times roll.

Paul Grothe asks..

"Will Isaiah Johnson be getting more snaps?"

For the past several weeks, the Mailbag comments have begged and pleaded for Isaiah Johnson to get more playing time.

After last Sunday, I get it now.

Isaiah Johnson received a deserved game ball in the win against the Chargers, coming through with a great performance in place of the injured Trayvon Mullen and forcing incompletions on the last two plays of the game on the goal-line to seal the victory for the Raiders.

Johnson showcased every bit of his 4.4 combine speed out of Houston and his lengthy 6-foot-2 frame. Seeing Johnson in Los Angeles made me curious as to why he's only had 31 snaps on defense this season myself, though there are only a certain amount of snaps to go around and he's short on experience after spending much of his rookie year dealing with injuries that kept him sidelined for nearly the entire season.

I would love to see Jon Gruden and Paul Guenther give Johnson a few more snaps in Allegiant Stadium this Sunday against Denver — perhaps against another big frame like Broncos tight end Noah Fant? — and prove his heroic performance in Los Angeles wasn't a fluke.

Antonio Rand asks…

"What are we going to do to prevent the deep ball?"

The Silver and Black definitely need to be concerned about the deep ball against the young Denver Broncos this Sunday.

Denver has a young, talented quarterback in Drew Lock who has been able to find a strong rapport with his two rookie wideouts Jerry Jeudy out of Alabama and K.J. Hamler from Penn State. Both receivers will be a threat to the Raiders' secondary, especially with Lock's strong arm.

The good news for the Raiders is that they're optimistic for Damon Arnette to return this Sunday against the Broncos after being placed on IR several weeks ago with a thumb injury. Arnette was having a productive rookie campaign before his injury and showed promise alongside Trayvon Mullen and Johnathan Abram in a dynamic young secondary.

If Mullen can bounce back from his hamstring injury he sustained in Los Angeles, we may be able to see the Raiders' secondary back to full force for the first time since late September.

Luke Machado asks…

"What are our plans for pressuring the QB?"

The Silver and Black has shown the past couple of weeks that they fully intend to get after the quarterback the second half of the season.

After producing seven sacks the first seven games of the season, they were able to produce two on Justin Herbert in Los Angeles last Sunday. It is apparent that the DC Paul Guenther has been staying creative with his blitzes, as well as putting together different combinations of players on the defensive line to rush the quarterback.

Another impressive thing that I've noticed — the continuation of sending safety Johnathan Abram at the quarterback on some plays, which became a noticeable problem for Baker Mayfield and Justin Herbert.

Lou Castro asks…

"Is there a way to get Ruggs more involved?"

The Raiders are still struggling to get their first-round pick involved in the offense.

Henry Ruggs has combined for 21 yards and three receptions in his previous three games. Derek Carr has continued to look for his rookie speedster deep, however it hasn't been to great avail since Kansas City.

The Raiders braintrust simply must keep developing the young Montgomery, Alabama, native to find new ways to get him involved in the slot, one-on-one situations and possibly in the run game as well.

"We've got to work with Henry Ruggs," said Coach Gruden after last Sunday's win against the Chargers. "We've got to get Ruggs some white-line work."

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