We took to social media earlier this week to find out what's on your mind heading into the Raiders matchup with Minnesota. You asked and Raiders.com Senior Editor Jerry Knaak answered.
From Joe R: Do you think the Vikings are going to try a more traditional rushing up the middle approach with AP or will they try to hurt us with a lot of screens?
JK: I haven't seen much of the Vikings this year, but screens are typically part of any team's game plan. Adrian Peterson is leading the NFL in rushing so I would anticipate more of the traditional "pro" style attack from Minnesota. They don't strike me as the throw it all over the yard type of team.
From Danee O**: What adjustments will be made to apply more pressure on the opposing QB?
JK: Defensive coordinator Ken Norton, Jr., is preaching consistency. "We're just working for consistency and I think all four guys up front, everyone who's rushing whether it's a lineman or linebacker or safety, everyone has to work together, the coverage and the rush," Coach Norton said Thursday. "It's just being consistent. Sometimes we look really good and sometimes we don't look really good. It's something we continue to try to improve." The coverage has to be good off the bat to make the quarterback hold the ball and give the rushers time to get to him. At the same token, the line needs to work together to create opportunities.
From Charles M: Why does it seem like our turnovers come in bunches? We could get away with probably a turnover each game but when we lose we often have three or four.
JK: That's an excellent question. It's kind of the whole when it rains it pours thing. I do think that things in a football game are contagious. Sacks come in bunches, big plays can come in bunches, and bad things can too. Once things start to go sideways, the opposition can start to sense it and they start to feed off each other. With regard to last week's game, the Steelers are a very physical team, and not to take anything away from Pittsburgh, the Raiders grabbed a couple of turnovers as well.
From Jarred A**: Will moving TJ Carrie back to corner with the return of Nate Allen be a big difference-maker for the defense? Is corner a better fit for Carrie?
JK: I think the return of Nate Allen is a big deal no matter how you look at it. He is an experienced player who was playing very well at the time of his injury. He adds a quality playmaker and improves the secondary. Carrie did a nice job at safety and his newfound versatility can only help the secondary. I don't think it's important to get wrapped up in the player's designation, but in what way does he help the team.
From James H: What are the different strengths of Jamize Olawale vs. Marcel Reece? Olawale has made some nice plays this year, is he earning more snaps?
JK: When in the fullback position, Olawale is more of the traditional bruiser-type fullback, but does have surprising speed. Reece is more of a receiving threat and can be lined up anywhere. Both can play tailback however. It's a nice problem to have when these are fullbacks we're talking about here. They definitely create matchup problems.
From Alex N**: What is the next step for the offense to take to turn from really good to great?
JK: Work. Consistency. Reps. This group, as it is constituted today, has not been together that long, yet it is currently the 8th ranked offense in the NFL. Many new, moving pieces were added, including a new coaching staff. They need to just continue to work together. However, if you had told me nine weeks ago that this offense would be ranked 8th in the NFL at this point, I'd take it.
From George C: Who is the most dangerous receiver for the Vikings this week? Peterson is really good but it's our secondary that struggles, not the front seven.
JK: Stefon Diggs is the vertical threat.
From Sandy J: Is it becoming a trend that the Raiders beat the bad teams but lose to the good teams? What will it take to beat the teams with winning records? JK: You can't say that about the Jets, that's for sure. The Raiders are very close. They've lost three games by a total of 11 points. It's going to take eliminating mistakes at critical times. The Chargers were in a make or break situation and the Raiders dominated them. The Bears had their backs against the wall and beat the Raiders on a last-second field goal. The Bears have turned out to be a good team. It comes down to taking care of the ball for the Raiders.