Raiders.com Week 3 Mailbag Questions Answered

From Aaron N: What are we going to do to get both sides of the ball fired up all the time to keep us in the win column?

JK: The offense certainly made the first quantum leap. The defense made enough plays to win the game last week. It may take a little while but the defense has too much talent and should make the same leaps.

From Josh M: How realistic is it to think the Raiders can go on a three-game winning streak with the Browns and a Cutler-less Chicago up next?

JK: It is not out of the question to think that. Anything is possible. The Browns are no pushover – the Raiders haven't won in Cleveland since 1985. However, there are quite a few unknowns on Cleveland's offense although their defense is always stout. Winning on the road is always tough no matter who you are. Let's get this one first before we start talking about winning streaks. 

From Jack V: Can the Raiders continue to win high-scoring games or is that too much to ask of the offense?

JK: This offense showed it is capable of putting points on the board with the home run or long, sustained drives. Every game is different and it is a lot to ask to try to win 38-35 ballgames every week. However, the season is very young and things are just starting to come together. It'll be fun to see how it all plays out with the weapons on offense. 

The calendar may say fall but the Raiders practiced in summer-like weather as they get ready for the Cleveland Browns.

From George M: When can we expect Clive Walford start to make more of an impact?

JK: Offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave said he'd like to see more out of the tight ends in the passing game and mentioned the Clive Walford, after missing quite a bit of time due to injury, is a guy they are looking to for more production. Coach Musgrave mentioned that tight ends coach Bobby Johnson thought Walford had his best day of practice yet this past Wednesday.

From Kevin B: What can the Raiders do to utilize Aldon Smith and Khalil Mack better in pass rushing situations?

JK: In theory, defensive coordinator Ken Norton, Jr., could get more exotic but I don't think that's his style. There are several new starters on defense and it is taking some time for this all to come together. Aldon Smith is playing himself into football shape and offensive lines are very aware of Khalil Mack. They'll keep hammering away until the quarterbacks start to fall.

From Megan C: Is there a plan in place to blitz more? Zero sacks in two games isn't going to cut it.

JK: Head Coach Jack Del Rio and Coach Norton have basically said the defense needs to play better in all areas – pass rush, coverage, tackling. In the eight-nine months I have known this group, I know one thing for sure - they aren't going to give the game plan away.

From Johnny R: What would be your suggestions for how the Raiders should try to limit opponents' tight ends? They've been having a field day so far.

JK: This is certainly an area of concern as fantasy players must be salivating from week to week with their tight end options. The Raiders made the adjustments at halftime last week to take the tight end away. The coaching staff is well aware of this situation. 

Abby J: Are we going to commit to running the ball more? Cleveland has the worst rush defense in the league so far this year.

JK: According to Coach Musgrave, he's like to get more touches for everybody, including running back Latavius Murray. The season is two weeks old, this is a new offense and a revamped offensive line that had to adjust due to the loss of Menelik Watson. 

From Noemi C: How can the defense improve the most/what area do they have the most to gain in?

JK: The obvious answer is the pass rush. No doubt this is a huge focus but I'd like to see the flow stop overpursuing and missing tackles. I'd also like to see the secondary limit yards after the catch.

From Dan W: Is the plan to use Marcel Reece and Roy Helu Jr. more in the future?

JK: Again, the season is two weeks old. The weapons are used to win the game. Last week, it was the wide receivers who had to step up and win the game in a high-scoring shootout. Marcel Reece did make a nice diving catch for an important first down last week. I expect you'll see more of Roy Helu, Jr., as the season goes on.

From Alan P: Do you foresee Khalil Mack moving back to linebacker at all this season?

JK: I think the staff will use Khalil Mack in different ways. I've seen him with his hand on the ground and I've seen him standing up.

From Jessie G: What do you think of the Cleveland Browns this year? Is it better that the Raiders are facing McCown or would Manziel have been a better matchup?

JK: They are both mobile and both present problems. I think the Raiders will see them both. McCown is a savvy veteran who probably throws better from the pocket, while Manziel is young and inexperienced but faster and more of a threat on the edge.

From Patrick C: Have there been any changes to the schedule to prepare for playing on East Coast time?

JK: There have been changes to the schedule this week. Press conferences and locker room access for the media occurred before practice this week instead of after. Other aspects to the schedule, the coaching staff likes to keep confidential.

From Roberto G: Do you see David Amerson staying at cornerback or is there a chance he could switch to safety?

JK: I have not heard talk of any possible position switch for the newly acquired David Amerson. Taylor Mays was brought in to shore up the safety position with the injury to Nate Allen. Charles Woodson has bounced back remarkably and Larry Asante has played well when called upon.

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