From Gabriel C: What do the raiders need to do to be more successful on third downs, on both sides of the ball?
JK: Supreme focus. Offensively the team just needs to execute a little bit better. It seems that quarterback Derek Carr and company are getting better at the longer third down conversions as opposed to short yardage. Defensively, they need to avoid lapses in concentration and make sure that everyone does their job. Covering Martellus Bennett on third down this week will be key.
From Eric T: Why don't the Raiders send more blitz packages?
JK: Blitz, no blitz – live and die by the blitz. I think as the team comes together and the defense becomes more cohesive you'll see some more creativity. You have to learn to walk before you can run and this defense is still getting the basics together. I believe the Raiders think they can get there with 4 men…as Aldon Smith knocks the rust off, the four-man rush will become more effective. When you blitz you are liable to give up a big play somewhere.
From Thomas P: What are your thoughts on the offensive line so far?
JK**: I am pleasantly surprised. I think this is another group that will just keep getting better as the season wears down. They are big, physical and have a bit of an edge to them. They have kept Carr relatively clean and started popping holes for the running game last week. Austin Howard has stepped in for Menelik Watson at right tackle and performed admirably. If they can get the penalties under control, this will be a formidable unit. Center Rodney Hudson has been instrumental in this group coming together as fast as they have. Carr has technically only been sacked once, the least of any quarterback in the AFC West and last week they didn't allow any sacks, hurries, and no passes were batted down.
From Oliver Q: Do you think that this team could feel the pressure if we start winning after it's been so long?
JK: I think any team feels that way whether they are used to winning or not. Look at all the teams that started with long undefeated streaks to begin a season only to falter down the stretch. The key is to not get too high when you win and not too low when you lose. This team is still learning how to win, let's cross that bridge when we come to it. Head Coach Jack Del Rio has stated time and again - one week at a time. He will not let this team overlook anyone.
Raiders continue to work towards their road game in Chicago during Week 4.
From Hector R**: Ken Norton and JDR have talked about focusing on stopping tight ends – what do you think we can do to fix that problem?
JK: They are going to continue to game plan and scheme and coach and teach and tie the guy's shoelaces together when he's not looking. Coach Del Rio said on the Silver and Black show that the TE coverage in man-to-man has been great, but the defense needs to tighten things up in zone which I believe will come….but it better fast because Martellus Bennett is licking his chops.
From Rick H: What are your thoughts on using Amari Cooper as a punt returner?
JK: He's explosive with the ball in his hands. His run after the catch ability has been eye-opening. I don't think I want to see him as the regular guy, but spot duty to give a spark and maybe break something? Why not? Tim Brown, the Raiders all-time leading receiver, was a top-tier kick and punt returner. He is the oldest player to return a punt, let alone return one for a touchdown. I have been keeping an eye on the return game all offseason – any spark is a good spark.
From George C: Do you see Roy Helu making more of an impact on offense in upcoming weeks? Seems like he hasn't been used a whole lot.
JK: Roy got more involved in the offense last week. He was hurt in training camp and has come along in recent weeks. Taiwan Jones has missed quite a bit of practice this week so Helu should get some more work. Helu is dangerous catching passes out of the backfield. Look for more of this as teams dial up the pressure on Derek Carr trying to force him to get rid of the ball quicker.
From Brett S: Can you talk about the move of TJ Carrie to safety and do you think there will be more shuffling of the secondary?
JK: TJ Carrie's speed alone makes him an asset at safety. He's physical for his size and is a sure tackler. He made a key play at a critical moment late in the game last week covering a lot of ground and breaking up a pass. I think the coaching staff will mix and match and look at quite a few of these guys as interchangeable parts trying to matchup with the opposing team's weapons.