Raiders mailbag: Kasa injury info, defensive scheme, can rookies win starting job at CB and more

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The Oakland Raiders have one preseason game in the books with three more to go before the regular season starts. With the team practicing in Oxnard California with the Dallas Cowboys, things are feeling more and more like the season is right around the corner. So let’s take a look at what is on the minds of the Raider Nation as we inch closer to football games that matter.

Too early to tell. Much like last season and the season before that, the Raiders will not show any of their real playbook during the preseason. So what you saw last Friday and what you will see this Friday will look nothing like what you will see during the season. Last year, the defensive scheme was not the problem. They played very well under Jason Tarver’s guidance until injuries started piling up and the talent was simply not good enough to stop offenses no matter what the coaches did. The defensive side of the ball should not be a concern scheme wise, the offensive side of the ball on the other hand could be an issue. The Raiders offense has been very poor the past few seasons as the team tried to run the ball behind a horrific offensive line. With a new and much improved line, offensive coordinator Greg Olson could show that he knows what he is doing. Or, he could show that the offensive line had nothing to do with the fact that his scheme did not put points on the board. 

Not that I have seen or heard and I wouldn’t be surprised if that answer doesn’t change any time soon. As we have seen with D.J. Hayden and David Ausberry, the Raiders are not exactly the most forthcoming when it relates to passing on information about an injury sustained by one of their players. We could find out more today, or we may not find out anything until weeks from now. 

Anytime you play against good competition, it forces you to step up your game. I’d go even further than simply mentioning the corners. As you can see from the fights that broke out during the practices, the players take these much more seriously than the ones that go on when the team just plays itself. That kind of fire and passion cannot be replicated very easily and this is the closest they will get aside from playing actual games. I think the entire team will benefit from practicing at a harder pace than they would have if the practices were just with the Raiders back in Napa.

I actually wrote an entire piece on this topic that you can read here. But the long short of that piece is that expectations are nearly impossible to gauge with a team that is stacked with so many question marks. I would not be surprised to see them finish anywhere from 5-11 to 10-6 to be honest. I think they will definitely be more competitive in games and pull off some wins they may not have in previous years, but whether or not the improvement in quality of play will win many more games is yet to be seen. At the end of the day, you can expect to watch a much better quality of football, but beyond that, I wouldn’t expect anything.

I do not think anyone will end up starting over Tarell Brown. In my opinion, he is the best corner the Raiders have had in Oakland in years. He is not a super star but he is a very good player who will do well for the team. I would not, however, be surprised if either Keith McGill or T.J. Carrie were to beat out Carlos Rogers for a starting spot. Rogers was brought in to play the nickel position and he is much better there than on the outside. I think the Raiders would prefer to play him there so if one of the rookies shows them they can handle a lot of playing time it makes sense to move Rogers back to the nickel.

The Raiders did look at Jermichael Finley earlier in the offseason but the two sides could not reach a deal. The fact is, Finley likely wants too much money for the Raiders to be a serious contender for him. He was offered a contract by the Pittsburgh Steelers and turned it down so it’s not like he doesn’t have any suitors, he is just waiting to get the biggest pay day he can. Making that kind of signing has not been the M.O. of general manager Reggie McKenzie and I doubt that will change. But as for anyone else available, Keller included, I think there is a solid chance the Raiders take a long hard look at them.

  • Walter Spargo

    UPDATE: TE Nick Kasa has an ACL injury and will miss the entire season.