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Raiders Mailbag: What will the defense have up their sleeves for Jalen Hurts, Miles Sanders?

MAILABAG_10.18

Lou Castro said:

"My concern is that the Eagles finally rely on Miles Sanders and he blows up for 200 all purpose yards"

I'd agree it's something to be concerned about, with Sanders' high ceiling potential and the Raiders run defenses' inconsistencies.

Sanders hasn't had the craziest statistical season so far, but he has been productive. So far, he's averaging close to five yards per carry and had 56 rushing yards last week against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. He is also one of Hurts' main targets in the passing game with 18 catches this season, which is the second-most on the team.

In the Raiders' four wins, they've allowed an average 118.25 rushing yards per game, in comparison to the 155.5 they allowed in their two losses. While both are not the greatest numbers to allow to an offense on the ground, it's still nearly a 40-yard differential. While the defense has played well this season, the front seven must do a better job stopping the run. It will be vital against Miles Sanders.

@MarkPinnix asks:

"Who on our practice squad is most likely to move up and make a difference?"

At the moment, all signs point to Matt Bushman getting some shine.

The undrafted rookie out of BYU could potentially get his named called Sunday in the Raiders' three tight end system. Derek Carrier was placed on IR, and Nick Bowers' status is up in the air as he deals with a neck injury. Therefore, Bushman would be the next man up to play behind Darren Waller and Foster Moreau.

If Bushman does get some action, this could be huge in proving his worth to the Raiders. The former Cougar caught over 1,700 yards with nine touchdowns while in college, and three catches for 24 yards this preseason. If activated to the 53-man roster, he could surprise the Eagles in Allegiant Stadium.

@Breshlo said:

"I would have Divine Deablo come in on third downs to shadow Jalen Hurts this week. With Deablo's speed and length I think he could keep Hurts from scrambling for a few first downs."

Something that I started to notice dating back to Week 3 vs. the Miami Dolphins is Divine Deablo taking a lot of third-down snaps.

While the rookie is on a learning curve – still transitioning from strong safety to linebacker – you can't teach athleticism. And Deablo has the needed athleticism to help contain Jalen Hurts. While Deablo has only seen snaps on special teams the past two games, the Raiders should have a lot of confidence in the rookie athlete who ran a 4.42 40-yard dash at his Pro Day. While Denzel Perryman and Nick Kwiatkoski will have the main responsibilities of shutting down Hurts on third-down situations, I also agree that Deablo would be a very suitable option.

Eric Espinoza asks:

"Why isn't Darren Waller having the success that Travis Kelce is having in KC? He hasn't gotten close to 100 yards since Week 1.

Numbers don't lie, but they sure as hell can be deceiving.

Travis Kelce has more receiving yards, catches and touchdowns than Darren Waller does this year.

However, Waller has still been producing solid numbers this year with 33 catches, 378 receiving yards and two touchdowns this season. While he's only had one 100-yard receiving yard game this season, the attention that Waller draws from opposing defenses has made it easier to get others involved in the offense. Henry Ruggs III is currently leading the league in yards per catch (22.3). Carr has thrown touchdowns this season to seven different players and has four receivers with over 300 receiving yards so far this season.

Waller will always be heavily involved in this offense, that's undeniable. But the emergence of his teammates and Carr's trust to throw to them is the reason why the Raiders are 4-2 this season and at the top of the AFC West.

Don't let the numbers fool you Eric, Darren Waller is having a very successful season.

Head inside Intermountain Healthcare Performance Center as the Raiders prepare for their Week 7 matchup against the Philadelphia Eagles.

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