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Raiders Mailbag: What adjustments need to be made to compete with the 49ers?

Matthew J Friend asks:

"We need to do a better job making adjustments to keep us in games."

There hasn't been a problem staying in games for the Raiders. They've been competitive this season, with 12 of the games being determined by one score.

What the Raiders need to do a better job at is winning those close games. Of those 12 games decided by one score or less, the Silver and Black have won four. The defense has done a good job at making adjustments down the stretch this season, allowing an average of 16.5 points to opposing offenses in the month of December.

However, small errors have caused trouble in critical moments of the game, including relinquishing fourth quarter leads to the Steelers and the Rams. Also notable in those two losses: the Raiders committed a combined nine penalties for 114 yards.

The only adjustment that truly needs to be made is playing penalty-free football for all 60 minutes, something Head Coach Josh McDaniels has noted in his postgame press conference. The Raiders have found success when they've accomplished that this season.

Tom Bator asks:

"Why are we making the quarterback change?"

When it comes down to it, Head Coach Josh McDaniels and his staff have chosen to use these last two games as opportunities to evaluate talent on the roster, while still working to finish out the season successfully.

"None of us are happy with where we're at, but we think it's an opportunity to evaluate a younger player who hasn't had much time to play," McDaniels said Wednesday. "Talking to Derek, who was great, he understands the scenario that we're in and the situation, and very supportive of the two young guys. Those three guys obviously have worked together hand in hand all year."

While the Raiders are about to face an impressive 49ers defense, Jarrett Stidham goes into his first NFL start having worked alongside Carr, who Stidham noted has mentored him in the QB room. He brings a vast knowledge of McDaniels' offensive scheme under center, this being his third season with him. Stidham also still has a plethora of weapons around him in Josh Jacobs, Davante Adams, Hunter Renfrow and Darren Waller.

"It's like anything in life, when you do something repetitively over and over again – you get comfortable," Stidham said of adjusting to the offense. "My job is to facilitate the offense in certain ways and I've got to follow my rules. Try to get the ball in these guys hands and do my job. That's something that I've tried to prepare hard for and that's all I can do."

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