Well, it's been a quiet few weeks since we last did a mailbag, huh?
I joke, I joke; this has been one of the most feverish offseasons I can remember, and with nearly 20 new faces on the roster, the Oakland Raiders will be a much different team in 2018.
It's hard to believe that the Offseason Workout Program is just around the corner, and the 2018 NFL Draft kicks off just a few weeks later, so now seems as good a time as any to answer some of your questions.
Let's get it started; here's the newest edition of the Raiders.com Mailbag.
EP:Joey, I'm glad you asked, brother.
April 9 is the big day, the day when the entire Raiders roster is permitted to get back to work, and start Phase I of the Offseason Workout Program.
Now, it's important to keep in mind that the Silver and Black won't be actually running through drills and such on the field, but regardless, just the mere fact that they'll be working out, and able to finally meet with Coach Gruden and his staff means that football is inching closer to an official return.
So, circle April 9 on your calendar, but make sure to mark the following dates as well: April 24-26 (Voluntary Minicamp), May 22-24, May 29-31, June 4-7 (OTA Offseason Workouts), and June 12-14 (Mandatory Minicamp).
EP:So, I saw this interesting stat the other day. In 2017, the Raiders finished No. 3 in the NFL in net punting, averaging 44.4 yards punt – a great mark, no doubt. But, the New England Patriots, the team that finished No. 16, dead in the middle of the league, averaged 41.6 net yards per punt. That's a difference of less than three yards per punt.
We all know that Coach Gruden and Reggie McKenzie are retooling the Silver and Black's roster, and it makes sense to part ways with a guy who's making big money, if you think you can replace that production with somebody else.
I totally understand that Marquette was a fan favorite, but at the end of the day, this is a business; you all know that.
As far as life after "The King" goes, the Raiders do have one punter on the roster, 22 year old Colby Wadman, but without any NFL experience under his belt thus far, I firmly believe the team will bring in another leg to compete with him, acquiring said player through the draft or free agency.
EP:I'll say this, I'm really, really excited to see how Derek Carr handles his first season with Jon Gruden, and I think you should be too.
Look, and this is no shot at any of the coaches or coordinators D.C. has had in his NFL career, but at this point in his career, he hasn't worked with an offensive mind like Gruden.
Were there throws in 2017 that Carr would like have to back? No doubt about it, but 2018 brings a new dawn for the Raiders franchise quarterback, and I think we're going to see the best version of No. 4 in going forward.
EP:Will the second-year defensive tackle be ready to rock come training camp after suffering an ACL injury in the regular season finale last year? Well, we're not quite sure about that just yet, but big No. 94 looks like he's moving around pretty well in a video that he posted to his twitter feed.
And as far as his status in the future plans of the Silver and Black, Vanderdoes is a young, talented player, so I'm looking forward to seeing how he develops in Paul Guenther's system.