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Raiders.com Mailbag: Which player are you excited to watch during the second half of the season?

The Oakland Raiders are back to work.

After a disappointing outing last Thursday on the road against the San Francisco 49ers, the Silver and Black returned to work Monday, and are now in the midst of their preparations for their Week 10 clash against the Los Angeles Chargers.

Philip Rivers and Co., handled the Raiders earlier this year, so Head Coach Jon Gruden’s squad will look to even the season series, snapping a four-game skid in the process.

Kickoff against the Bolts is scheduled for 1:05 p.m. at the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum; let’s get to this week’s edition of the Mailbag.

From Chris Harbert: What position do you see the Raiders looking for in the draft?

EP: Chris, I’m very much looking forward to the 2019 NFL Draft – as is our resident draft expert Kyle Martin aka @kylesfeed – but the fact remains, it’s a little bit early to start thinking about the draft.

I know that things are kind of rough right now with the team sitting at 1-7, but the reality of it is, we still have a lot of football to play – eight games in fact.

It only takes one win to change the tune of a team, so I’m looking forward to seeing what the Raiders do this weekend against the Bolts.

I’ll say this though, with three first-round picks coming up, the draft content on Raiders.com will come fast and furious…. when the time is right.

From John Godwin: What player are you excited to see more from this year?

EP: Arden Key’s going to my guy here.

Each week when we watch the rookie from LSU go out and do his thing, I feel like we see him getting closer and closer to having a handful of big, explosive plays.

Well, without Bruce Irvin on the roster any longer, I think more will be asked of No. 99, and truthfully, I’m really fired up to see what he does with those chances.

Headed into the back half of the regular season schedule, we all collectively know that the pass rush has to be better for the Raiders. Now, do I think that some of that lack of production is because of the youth movement on the defensive line? Certainly, but I’ll be keeping a keen eye on Key, and the rest of the Raiders rookies as we solider on throughout the regular season.

From Ruben Lopez: Who will start at the QB position this week?

EP: Appreciate the question, Ruben, but the answer will be a short one.

Derek Carr is this team’s starting quarterback; the only reason he was pulled from Thursday night’s game early is because the game was out of reach, and Head Coach Jon Gruden didn’t want to risk him getting hurt.

Nothing to read into there – D.C. is the guy going forward.

From Jacque Taylor: What’s the one thing the team needs to do to win Sunday?

EP: Honestly, when I look at Sunday’s game in Oakland, if the Raiders want to enjoy their first win since Week 4, they’re going to have to find a way to stop the run.

Coming into the Week 10 battle, the Chargers rank fifth in the NFL, averaging 128.9 rushing yards per game, with a bulk of those yards coming by way of Melvin Gordon, who’s in the midst of another stellar season in Southern California.

The last time these two games got together – Week 5 in Los Angeles – while Gordon did find the end zone, the Raiders actually did a relatively good job limiting him on the ground.

The Silver and Black have struggled to stymy the opposition’s ground game the past two weeks, so if they can flip the switch and make the Chargers offense one dimensional, it would go a long way in them helping nab their second “W” of 2018.

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