Raiders.com Week 14 Mailbag Questions Answered

Photos of the Raiders and Broncos' AFC West rivalry throughout the years.

We took to social media to find out what was on your mind heading into the Raiders Week 14 clash with Denver. You asked, Raiders.com Senior Editor Jerry Knaak answered.

From Jeremy K: Do you expect Derek Carr to rebound after a really rough ending against Kansas City?

JK: Absolutely. Derek Carr seems to be resilient and after talking to him at his weekly press conference appears as confident as ever. Last week's game definitely left a bad taste in his mouth, but it is obvious he'd like to gargle it away as fast as possible. Bear in mind, this is only his second year in the league, and he only has 28 starts under his belt. He is still learning when to try to make a play and when to throw it away or take a sack. Carr put back-to-back 300-yard games together after a rough start against Cincinnati in Week 1; he led the Raiders to a win at San Diego after two-straight tough losses and then followed that with three-straight 300-yard games; and he helped the Raiders snap a three-game losing streak with a 300-yard game and a game-winning TD pass at Tennessee.

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From Paul G**: Do you think that it is better for the Raiders that they're facing Brock Osweiler instead of Peyton Manning?

JK: At this stage of Peyton Manning's career and what was going on with him physically, I'd have to say no. Brock Osweiler is much younger and healthy. He may not have Manning's experience, but he does have the benefit of one of the more talented skill position groups in the league. The Broncos are more apt to run the ball with Osweiler at quarterback. With Manning, they tend to be little one-dimensional at times.  Manning has never been what you'd call "mobile," and the Raiders nearly toppled the Broncos in the last meeting. With a healthy Osweiler, Broncos Head Coach Gary Kubiak can call more zone-stretch running plays, roll-outs, and bootlegs that have been staples of his offense for years.

From Vince D: Do you think Jack Del Rio will have a hard time motivating the team down the stretch with the playoffs now nearly impossible?

JK: Oakland Raiders Head Coach Jack Del Rio has said all season that the team is made up of professionals and that the climate in the locker room is a good one. Coach Del Rio preaches that the NFL is a week-to-week league. With three division games left, there is plenty to play for.

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From Morgan F**: Who is the second back behind Latavius Murray now? A new guy gets the touches every week it seems.

JK: Jamize Olawale, signed to a contract extension this week as a matter-of-fact, appears to be that guy. With Taiwan Jones down, Roy Helu, Jr., got more action last week than he's seen in a while. Olawale is the team's second-leading rusher with 110 yards on 24 carries and is averaging 4.6 yards per carry. He also has eight catches for 70 yards.  Helu may not get a lot of touches, but he has proven to be a playmaker and makes the most of his chances, which is all you can ask.

From Ben P: Do you think the Raiders will do anything different to deal with the altitude in Denver because it's a tough place to play? Will it change the routine at all?

JK: I have talked to several people about this over the years and it's all about your strength and conditioning program. If you're in shape, you're in shape. Perhaps they might rotate guys in a little more often to keep players fresh. Head Coach Jack Del Rio spoke about preaching hydration to his team during the Silver and Black Show. He also likes that they aren't flying in until Saturday afternoon. Coach Del Rio is intimately familiar with the environment after serving as Denver's defensive coordinator from 2012-14.

From Alex R: Is Rodney Hudson's injury much more serious than was initially thought?

JK: That's not the impression I'm getting. He was back on the practice field this week; he practiced "full" Friday and is listed as "probable" for the game. He got the start at Detroit and aggravated the injury. I know from personal experience that ankle injuries are no fun.

From Steve C: Can we expect the rookies to get more time in the final weeks to see what they have to offer?

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JK**: This seems to be a question that crops up every year. Quite a few young players have already seen significant action this season due to earned playing time or injuries to veterans. The only two draft picks who haven't seen much action are offensive lineman Jon Feliciano and cornerback Dexter McDonald. The coaches may want to get a good look at what they can do before season's end.

Amari Cooper: starting wide receiver, leads the team with 920 receiving yards.
Mario Edwards Jr: starting defensive end, 36 tackles, 2.5 sacks.
Clive Walford: 18 catches for 204 yards, 3 touchdowns.
Jon Feliciano: Active the past four games as a backup offensive lineman.
Ben Heeney: Integral part of goal line defense early in the season, 13 tackles and 1.5 sacks (last two games).
Neiron Ball: Nine tackles and one sack before suffering a knee injury also recovered a fumble on special teams.
Max Valles: Has spent the season on the practice squad.
Anthony Morris: Didn't make the team.
Andre Debose: Was expected to compete for kick return jobs, lost for the season with torn Achilles tendon.

From Malcolm M: What is the biggest lesson that the team can take away from the first game this season against Denver?

JK: Turnovers ruin games. The Raiders were in an excellent position to take a fourth-quarter lead over the Broncos in their Week 5 meeting in Oakland but an interception returned for a touchdown with just over seven minutes left to play was a game-wrecker. The Raiders held the Broncos without an offensive touchdown the last time. Stop the run and don't let Emmanuel Sanders or Demaryius Thomas get behind the secondary will be two major keys.

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