Part of the Bay Area News Group

Revisiting five camp questions

By Jerry McDonald - NFL Writer
Thursday, August 22nd, 2013 at 11:37 am in Oakland Raiders.

Raiders coach Dennis Allen liked what he saw during the one-month stay at the Napa Valley Marriott.

“I thought it was a good camp,’’ Allen said after the Raiders’ 19th and final training camp practice Wednesday. “I thought our guys came out here and worked, and I thought we got better. I thought we got a good evaluation of what we have here in this camp right now and we’re going to do everything we can to try and improve this football team.’’

Having returned to the club facility, the Raiders hold a walkthrough Thursday which is closed to the media, then play their third preseason game when they host the Chicago Bears at O.co Coliseum at 7 p.m.

With training camp over, it’s worth revisting five questions posed a month ago in anticipation of the Raiders beginning the 2013 season in Napa.

1. Can Matt Flynn pass well enough to move the offense?

Still to be determined. Flynn led a textbook two-minute drill to lead the Raiders to a touchdown at the end of the first half against New Orleans. He has shown the ability to escape trouble, complete short and medium-depth passes to keep drives alive.

In practice, Flynn’s passing has been hit and miss, and it’s an open question as to whether he could carry the team with his arm if the need were to arise.

2. How soon can cornerback D.J. Hayden make an impact?

We get at least a partial answer to that question Friday night, when Hayden opens as a starting cornerback against the Chicago Bears. He had interceptions on consecutive days during closed practice sessions this week and Allen believes his coverage ability to be exceptional.

Hayden hasn’t really laid a lick on anybody since November of last year, however. He could get his chance Friday against 6-foot-4, 230-pound wide receiver Brandon Marshall.

3. Who starts on the offensive line other than Jared Veldheer and Stefen Wisniewski

Scratch Veldheer, who could miss nearly half the regular season (or more) after having surgery to repair a torn left triceps. For now, it’s Alex Barron at left tackle, Lucas Nix at left guard, Wisniewski at center, Andre Gurode at right guard and Khalif Barnes at right tackle.

It’s a fluid situation, however. The Saints sacked Flynn five times in the first half in the second preseason game, and the Raiders will be watching the waiver wire closely. There may be a starter or two up front who isn’t yet on the roster.

4. Will dumping the zone blocking scheme revive the running game and Darren McFadden?

So far, McFadden has carried eight times for 22 yards in two preseason games _ a line that’s all too similar to 2012 while hesitant in a zone scheme. McFadden always shines in practice because defenses can’t tackle to the ground.

McFadden and Allen say they aren’t concerned. Maybe they’re right. But a few nice runs Friday night would not only be greeted with cheers but huge sighs of relief from the fan base.

5. Can the defense come together with so many new faces?

The Raiders are getting more healthy on defense, but there still has not been a single day where the projected starting 11 has lined up together. Defensive tackles Vance Walker and Pat Sims have returned from injury (although Sims won’t play against Chicago) and their presence and ability to control the run and collapse the middle will be crucial to any success.

As with every other area on the Raiders, we’ll learn more in the first half of the season opener on Sept. 8 in Indianapolis then in the six weeks leading up to it.

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  • hwnrdr

    Anyways…Let’s Go Oakland! Both teams tonight!!!

  • guest123

    Yep,

    Raider On!

  • raidertalk

    Interesting mini-documentary on ESPN about DJ Hayden. Man to come back and have the will to play foot ball after that injury. The man has balls of steel.

  • raidertalk

    It going to be a mix of excitement and concern watching DJ Hayden tonight against the bears.

    Excitement that we have a potential beast cornerback;

    Concern about how his body will hold up.

  • The_Judge37

    954.raidertalk Says:
    August 23rd, 2013 at 11:12 am
    It going to be a mix of excitement and concern watching DJ Hayden tonight against the bears.

    Excitement that we have a potential beast cornerback;

    Concern about how his body will hold up.
    ———-

    I’m not too concerned about him physically. I just want to see him mentally prepared to attack, without hesitation.

  • 24

    A good friend of mine moved to San Diego and he’s also a Raider fan. YES! I’m not alone anymore. It was getting rough being surrounded by Chargers! Although the girls are adorable, can’t argue with that. The blue works well on them.

  • Whoknows

    24 Says:
    August 23rd, 2013 at 11:15 am
    A good friend of mine moved to San Diego and he’s also a Raider fan. YES! I’m not alone anymore. It was getting rough being surrounded by Chargers! Although the girls are adorable, can’t argue with that. The blue works well on them.
    ****************************
    You never were alone. Go to a Raider/charger game at Qualcomm, you’ll see.

  • raidertalk

    The_Judge37 Says:
    August 23rd, 2013 at 11:14 am
    954.raidertalk Says:
    August 23rd, 2013 at 11:12 am
    It going to be a mix of excitement and concern watching DJ Hayden tonight against the bears.

    Excitement that we have a potential beast cornerback;

    Concern about how his body will hold up.
    ———-

    I’m not too concerned about him physically. I just want to see him mentally prepared to attack, without hesitation.
    ————————-
    I heard they have a special plate that he wears or something to protect his chest from re-injury.

  • 24

    Whoknows – Oh I know what you mean…it just helps to have your bro with you ya know?

  • 24

    Raidertalk – Yes…He mentioned something about it being attached to his shoulder pads and sits right in the center of his lower chest/abdominal area to give extra protection. He was joking that it makes him look fat and he wants to look good.

  • 24

    Quote of the Year

    Joe Flacco: I love Ray Lewis, but his speeches didn’t even make sense

  • raidertalk

    24 Says:
    August 23rd, 2013 at 11:15 am
    A good friend of mine moved to San Diego and he’s also a Raider fan. YES! I’m not alone anymore. It was getting rough being surrounded by Chargers! Although the girls are adorable, can’t argue with that. The blue works well on them.
    ——————————
    Hows TJ lately? Its been a while since I’ve been down there.

  • Whoknows

    I heard they have a special plate that he wears or something to protect his chest from re-injury.
    *********************
    He said, he is worried it makes him look fat.

  • 24

    Raidertalk – I’ve never crossed the border. TJ has gotten more dangerous over the last few years. I’ve had some friends go to a place called Hong Kong over there and have fun. Everyone has come back safe but there’s risk involved if you go. If you do go, you need to go with a group because people get robbed, stabbed, shot or taken.

    I may go at some point but I’m not in a rush.

  • Breaking_Black

    Just saw a video of some guy winning a car by throwing a nerf football through the window from 100 ft away.

    Get on the phone, Reggie!

  • willy91137

    VanHeathen30 Says:
    August 23rd, 2013 at 10:40 am
    Hard to compare our situation with personel to the Patriots…They have been winning for 10 years while we have been losing. For every bad decision they’ve made they have also made a good one. Plus with their depth, it’s harder to make their 53 man roster.
    I’d be more interested in how manyof those picks are still in the league…
    ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
    One pages 6 round-trip six offensive linemen Ted Larson’s plank of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and a starting
    Tampa Bay claimed him off waivers in 2010

    their first-round pick Devin Mc courty they converted to safety and boat I don’t see them on the roster for 2013 ?

    the rest were picked up on waivers and put on practice squads and and released

    fell through the cracks I guess

    I’m not very good at researching but is really interesting to see how teams draft

    Mail make mistakes

  • RaidersAllday_LtsGeTit

    WAIT…you can RUSH the passer,
    Somebody better tell our boys to stop with the 5 Alligator count before they try to get to the QB…

    ——————

    LOL

  • 24

    new post

  • RaidersAllday_LtsGeTit

    The last time our DLINE looked on TOP was when we have the former NYG DL coach… we should have made him our HC after CABLE maybe

    ——————–

    WIMBLEY, SEYMOUR, KELLY, HOUSTON, BRYANT, SHANNAUSSEY, JOHN HENDERSON, JARVIS MOSS (i know) that dline was animals.

    The last time we RAN BLOCKED WELL… HUE JAX CITY… and WISNEWSKI SR was part of our OLINE COACHING STAFF

    Wisnewski SR better then SOPRANO

  • willy91137

    24 Says:
    August 23rd, 2013 at 11:25 am
    Quote of the Year

    Joe Flacco: I love Ray Lewis, but his speeches didn’t even make senseA
    ******************************
    that’s Willie on the blog he don’t make sense sometimes either

  • willy91137

    Papertiger418 Says:
    August 23rd, 2013 at 10:25 am
    Looks like Desmond Bryant is being held out by the Browns with back spasms. Ouch!

    Does anyone remember whether he had back issues when he was with us?
    ********************

    no but he hade a drinking issue

  • eastoaklandraider

    Seth Curry to sign with Dubs.