Preseason Week 3 Raiders.com Mailbag

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From Javier O: What is going on with Keith McGill? He played a lot during the first preseason game and then only snaps against Minnesota? Is he injured or is he the starting DB and they wanted to give Hayden more snaps?

Jerry Knaak: Keith McGill missed a few days of practice so a few other guys, especially Neiko Thorpe, took advantage of extra opportunities. I hope to see McGill out there this Sunday night against the Cardinals. This would be a good test going up against QB Carson Palmer and the Cardinals talented receiving corps.

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Ashley P**: How do you think the Raiders new practice building will help the team most?

JK: First of all, pride of ownership. Second of all, the team can be much more efficient in getting their work done every day. The full team can lift weights at the same time and there is space for walk-throughs in case of inclement weather. It's a state-of-the-art facility they can take pride in and maximize their time.

Michael M: The name Seth Roberts keeps popping up in the practice observations. Is there a chance that he breaks into the starting lineup?

JK: Starting lineup is a stretch with Michael Crabtree and Amari Cooper playing as well as they are. Not to mention we saw what Thompkins can do last season. Rod Streater is working his way back in and Brice Butler has come on lately. However, Andre Holmes' injury has opened some doors and Roberts stepped right through.

Joe H: Why hasn't Taiwan Jones been getting more snaps in the preseason games?

JK: Coaching staffs typically have work they want to get done in preseason games, or specific players they want to see more from, or personnel groups they'd like to feature. I think Taiwan will have a fun, exciting role on this offense that will evolve over time.

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Peter C**: How long do you expect the starters to play against Arizona?

JK: Head Coach Jack Del Rio is non-committal on this but typically you'll see starters play into the 3rd quarter in the third preseason game. It all depends on the score, the number of possessions, and if the coaches feel as though the starters get in the work the need.

Morgan W: Have the Raiders figured out who is going to return kicks yet this year?

JK: The short answer is no. This is something I have been following since early in the offseason. Sunday night could go a long way in determining this battle. Look for Devon Wiley to get a shot returning punts this week.

From Renecillo T: How many running backs and wide receivers are we keeping?

JK: Another interesting question. I think that all depends where the kick returner comes from. Safe bet is five back and five-six wide receivers. That also depends on health and depth at other positions.

From Chris F: How is #71 Watson getting on in camp? Will he play this year?

JK: Menelik Watson has done well so far. He has been running with the first team most of training camp and the preseason. We'll see how the last two preseason games shake out.

Jim B: We haven't heard anything in a while about Brian Leonhardt – what's his status?

JK: He's been seeing action in the second half in the preseason games so far. He's been taking advantage of the extra reps with Clive Walford being out. This position was revamped in the offseason with the addition of Lee Smith from Buffalo. Undrafted free agent Gabe Holmes is in this mix as well.

Alex M: What are the Raiders expecting from Roy Helu this week in his first game back?

JK: My guess would be to see where he is health and conditioning-wise, and where he is with the playbook. He's been out for three weeks so he'll have to play his way back into football shape and demonstrate pass protection, blitz pick-up, etc.

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