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Revisiting five camp questions

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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Jerry McDonald - NFL Writer

  • J Hill

    I’m not the one doing that… YOU ARE.

    ——————————————————————————

    By saying I’m going to wait and actually see our 3 draft picks on the field before I decide???

    Because I want to see them play before saying yeah we should have taken Star or Jordan???

  • Myopinion

    Im talking about all these guys. Not saying theyll start season. But by the end of the season making impacts

  • Gdog

    Whoknows Says:
    August 23rd, 2013 at 8:42 am

    Does anyone have a clue why it took RM 2 years to cut everyone and bring the salary cap down. Seems to me, he could have done it last year.

    >>>>>

    psssttt… he has no clue what he is doing. Never has.

    But, I will wait to see what he does with his 70 mill in cap space he has maniacally been saving before completely giving up on him.

  • eastoaklandraider

    @Willy you will soon find out and I will be here to remind you.

  • ElkGRaider

    I’m not drinking any freaking Kool-Aid it takes three years to find out if your draft picks are good or bad am not judging yet turned to some of the pics he made will not turn out every GM in the NFL have that problem
    ————–
    Why do you keep misquoting me?

  • VanHeathen30

    Love my Raiders…
    Question the Mangement/Ownership.

    Unlike every one of them, but Willie,
    i’ve been here before them, and i’ll be here after their gone…Raider ON

  • willy91137

    Myopinion Says:
    August 23rd, 2013 at 8:41 am
    Rm had 7picks. What he did with those doesnt matter.
    No 2nd rounder.
    3guys make an impact from that and thats good.
    Were not just a player away.
    Every pick could bust, but we could get a starting cb,t,te,rb,lb/de,and a extra pass rush specialist in bass, every guy has that potential,butler may even start by seasons end. If rms evals are correct,were sitting pretty on this draft. Mgee also has that potential.
    Rm is swinging for the fences. kinda hard to judge theyre all lottery tickets.
    ******************************************************
    I couldn’t have said it better myself everybody on this blog should have to read this before they start chirping about Reggie McKenzie

  • SpudRaider

    VanHeathen30 — being a big big Zep and Reggae fan your talk of Dread Zep sounds like something I would like to listen to. Did they ever produce an album?

  • VanHeathen30

    The question now is..
    Is RM the guy you want spendin the 70 Mil of cap space.
    I mean, how many ex GB Packers can that get you…

  • nycraider

    Whoknows Says:
    August 23rd, 2013 at 8:42 am
    Does anyone have a clue why it took RM 2 years to cut everyone and bring the salary cap down. Seems to me, he could have done it last year.
    ——————
    The Cowboys were 15 million over the cap about 4-5 months ago but now are 10 million under. It can be done quickly. i do feel RM hurt himself with his handling of Branch, Seymour and Briesel. but in his defense he had to deal with alot of dead money and remember the team went 8-8 prior and RM said we would compete for the playoffs. RM was a rookie GM who made mistakes, some people in here refuse to admit it but he will get at least through 2014 to prove his value

  • Gdog

    J Hill Says:
    August 23rd, 2013 at 8:44 am

    I’m not the one doing that… YOU ARE.

    ——————————————————————————

    By saying I’m going to wait and actually see our 3 draft picks on the field before I decide???

    Because I want to see them play before saying yeah we should have taken Star or Jordan???

    >>>

    Ok… I thought you were the one saying sio/hayden/watson is better than sio/warmack.

  • ElkGRaider

    I look forward to the day RM proves his value, until then dont confuse concern with hate
    ————-
    That’s good. I personally like the picks. All I’m saying is give our players the opportunity to fail before calling for RM’s head…

  • willy91137

    Eastoaklandraider Says:
    August 23rd, 2013 at 8:45 am
    @Willy you will soon find out and I will be here to remind you.
    ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
    And just what will I find out that you had your head in your anus

  • ElkGRaider

    Also…you think our O-line looks that bad with Veldheer out there? It’s up to RM to foresee injuries (both Veldheer AND Watson)?

  • Gdog

    VanHeathen30 Says:
    August 23rd, 2013 at 8:47 am

    The question now is..
    Is RM the guy you want spendin the 70 Mil of cap space.
    I mean, how many ex GB Packers can that get you…

    >>>>

    LOL!!!

    Or 35 players with 2 million, one year contracts!!

    The guy has balls the size of BBs so far.

  • ElkGRaider

    Still waiting on that rating Gdog…

  • nycraider

    ElkGRaider Says:
    August 23rd, 2013 at 8:48 am
    I look forward to the day RM proves his value, until then dont confuse concern with hate
    ————-
    That’s good. I personally like the picks. All I’m saying is give our players the opportunity to fail before calling for RM’s head…
    —————–
    ive been clear RM gets through 2014 to prove his value IMO. thats not calling for his ahead. I will not jump on his bandwagon until his moves produce players that are”valuable” instead of settling for “value”. thats all

  • jumpnjiminy

    With the crop of college qbs in the next draft? I don’t think it’s a good idea to take one if them for the Raiders. I’ve seen too many ‘gabberts’ and ‘torettas’ that don’t pan out. You’re lucky if you get a ‘luck’ or ‘Wilson’ or ‘rgIII’. I think the 3 we have in Flynn, Pryor, and McGloin are potentially all decent qbs – not top flight, but you can go all the way with one that’s maybe in the top 15. Of course one small detail messes up the Raiders chances for success – the rest of the dam team! Kidding, but given the personnel we have, it will definitely take a team effort to manufacture wins. As we’ve seen with that bum Palmer, all the yards in the world do not equal out to wins. He is special though – his stats get oh so much better when the games already decided and there’s no pressure. ARI fans will find that out the hard way as we did.

  • nycraider

    Gdog Says:
    August 23rd, 2013 at 8:50 am
    VanHeathen30 Says:
    August 23rd, 2013 at 8:47 am

    The question now is..
    Is RM the guy you want spendin the 70 Mil of cap space.
    I mean, how many ex GB Packers can that get you…

    >>>>

    LOL!!!

    Or 35 players with 2 million, one year contracts!!

    The guy has balls the size of BBs so far.
    ——————
    he did give Briesel a 20 milllion contract

  • VanHeathen30

    Spud…they have about a dozen albums, about half are live releases. UN LED ED IS THE first and my favorite.
    Chceck them on YOU TUBE…pretty fun/funny schit.
    Mark should get them to play in the parking lot before a home game…

  • Whoknows

    It’s hard, in fact, it’s impossible to say I like RMs picks when I have yet to see them.

  • eastoaklandraider

    @Willy you will find out dumb you look for posting all that 11 angry man crap. BTW your name is Willy, nuff said.

  • nycraider

    Q: How was Mark’s mood at the end of the season, in your perspective?

    
McKenzie: “Me and Mark, we talk all the time. His concerns were, as mine, how are we going to get better, mainly offensively

    When do you get to the point where the roster reflects your personality and staff’s personality and philosophy?

    “Well, the totality of it, that’s going to be ongoing. It started when I got here, to be honest with you, what I had to do with the roster. So when do you see it start its transformation? Hopefully this season. That’s my hope. So you’ve got a good offseason and another draft and things that come into place. You’ve got a new coaching staff, as far as four coaches that we swapped out. So, hopefully, it begins to show this year.”

    So when you do have all this cap space next year, you won’t go on a spending spree?

    “I’m not going to Macy’s. We’ll be selective and we’ll try to continue to draft well and keep the players. That’s the key. When you’ve got the cap space and all of that to resign your good players, that’s what you want to do. We don’t want to let our good players from this year get out of the building.”

  • ElkGRaider

    The Car/Balt game he had a 4.6 rating.

    Which is the game you said he stunk it up, correct?
    ————-

    Car/Phi

  • inonewordraider

    hayden has 2 picks in 2 days of practice, gna be a #1 corner in this league

    butler has a chip on his shoulder add the potential and i’m no longer concerned with our wr’s

    mastrud can block and catch a little but kasa and rivera are the future

    my biggest spotlight for me is on barron and bass.
    barron looked like a starting lt in game one and like a roster cut in game two. hopefully he rebounds

    bass displayed the most pass rush ability of any player on our roster. people wanted dion Jordan? well this guy has that burst, problem is like Jordan, he can’t play the run as a 4-3 end. he needs plenty of run, we already know what carter, to improve on run d and he can turn out to be a steal on passing downs

  • Gdog

    VanHeathen30 Says:
    August 23rd, 2013 at 8:47 am

    The question now is..
    Is RM the guy you want spendin the 70 Mil of cap space.
    I mean, how many ex GB Packers can that get you…

    >>>>

    Maybe he is saving all that money to hire Aaron Rodgers next season!!

    He let CP and Bryant go so he could find space for Woodson and Flynn!!

  • Gdog

    ElkGRaider Says:
    August 23rd, 2013 at 8:57 am

    The Car/Balt game he had a 4.6 rating.

    Which is the game you said he stunk it up, correct?
    ————-

    Car/Phi

    >>>>

    My bad.. he was -.6 that game. Pretty much a non-factor.

  • willy91137

    Jumpnjiminy Says:
    August 23rd, 2013 at 8:53 am
    ***********************************
    Taking a quarterback in the first round can either make your franchise or break it

    unless you’re lucky like Green Bay who had Aaron Rodgers on their board at 21

    everybody said he would go in the first round just behind Smith Brett Favre was at top of his game so they draft and Aaron Rodgers and putting behind Favre for four years and the rest of the story is history

  • ElkGRaider

    It’s hard, in fact, it’s impossible to say I like RMs picks when I have yet to see them.
    ————–

    I liked him going CB then OL. Positions we needed. Are they the right players? TBD…

  • The Big Banana

    Whoknows Says:
    August 23rd, 2013 at 8:42 am
    Does anyone have a clue why it took RM 2 years to cut everyone and bring the salary cap down. Seems to me, he could have done it last year.

    ——

    He thought we could compete and even said as much. When it was clear we couldn’t, he blamed it on his situation and got his PR guy to write a cool story about him being a good GM just for being the anti-Al.

    Let’s hope we get some accountability and a better product this year.

  • J Hill

    I’m curious what you cats would like to see us do with next year’s cap space/

    1st order of business should be to resign Houston and Veldheer.

    I certainly don’t want to see us throw record dollars at a Mario Williams type player.

  • ElkGRaider

    My bad.. he was -.6 that game. Pretty much a non-factor.
    ————

    Could I call him a bust then? You get my point…

  • inonewordraider

    you guys are funny

    “reggie should’ve got a pass rusher”
    what pass rusher is lighting it up, dion Jordan?

    “reggie shoulda drafted magnus hunt”
    then so should every other team in the first round

    “reggie should have drafted chance warmack”
    wouldn’t have been mad with this pick but can’t a #1 cb be at least as valuable, and what if Watson turns out to be the starting rt for years?

    “but look what reggie paid briesel”
    briesel was supposed to be a stud in zbs, didn’t go as planned

    his drafts might suck, but there’s no way of telling yet

  • Myopinion

    Bryant hadnt proven anything. Backup for us,walker was backup, why is dez this great loss, we got walker for much less. Kinda the same story, both may shine as starters, both may prove backups, we lose a lot less if so.

  • nycraider

    J Hill Says:
    August 23rd, 2013 at 9:02 am
    I’m curious what you cats would like to see us do with next year’s cap space/

    1st order of business should be to resign Houston and Veldheer.

    I certainly don’t want to see us throw record dollars at a Mario Williams type player.
    =——————————
    agree about veldheer and houston. sadly no good qbs out there next or #1 type WRs. Do see much impact coming from FA market. we will probably be similar to Jaqs and Browns that currently are about 20-25 mil under cap

  • willy91137

    Eastoaklandraider Says:
    August 23rd, 2013 at 8:55 am
    @Willy you will find out dumb you look for posting all that 11 angry man crap. BTW your name is Willy, nuff said.
    **********************************
    Who the hell died and left you in charge if you do not like my post don’t read it

    LOL

  • nycraider

    Inonewordraider Says:
    August 23rd, 2013 at 9:04 am
    you guys are funny

    “reggie should’ve got a pass rusher”
    what pass rusher is lighting it up, dion Jordan?

    “reggie shoulda drafted magnus hunt”
    then so should every other team in the first round

    “reggie should have drafted chance warmack”
    wouldn’t have been mad with this pick but can’t a #1 cb be at least as valuable, and what if Watson turns out to be the starting rt for years?

    “but look what reggie paid briesel”
    briesel was supposed to be a stud in zbs, didn’t go as planned

    his drafts might suck, but there’s no way of telling yet
    ———————–
    whats even funnier is
    “its still Al’s fault”

  • eastoaklandraider

    J Hill, oline and dline and I mean top of the line FA’s.

  • jumpnjiminy

    Where’s my doctor where’s my doctor…I need someone to respond to my posts – even if you wanna call me an idiot…I don’t want to have run to my room and cry into my pillow! Or stare longingly at my Farrah Fawcet poster.

    I know – I’ll start insulting some of you nuts…hey Kool Kell, how could you not blame Palmer? Huh? Huh? Wanna make something of it? Or yo RaideE, where do you get off calling someone ‘slop’? C’mon punk – let’s go right here right now !

    Aaaaa forget it.

    Phooey!

  • http://profootballtalk.com Raideraholic (AKAHairyBush)

    I haven’t had a chance to look but I wonder what the 2014 free agency class looks like?

  • J Hill

    When it was clear we couldn’t, he blamed it on his situation and got his PR guy to write a cool story about him being a good GM just for being the anti-Al.

    —————————————————————————–

    Interesting viewpoint.

  • willy91137

    nonewordraider Says:
    August 23rd, 2013 at 9:04 am
    you guys are funny
    ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
    You should not get on here and make sense it makes some people in here mad

  • SpudRaider

    Q: How was Mark’s mood at the end of the season, in your perspective?

    
McKenzie: “Me and Mark, we talk all the time. His concerns were, as mine, how are we going to get better, mainly offensively

    Being that Shrek re-vamped the D during the off-season doesn’t seem Shrek listens to Mark.

  • SpudRaider

    VanHeathen30 Says:
    August 23rd, 2013 at 8:54 am
    Spud…they have about a dozen albums, about half are live releases. UN LED ED IS THE first and my favorite.
    Chceck them on YOU TUBE…pretty fun/funny schit.
    Mark should get them to play in the parking lot before a home game…
    ****************************************************
    Thanks

  • J Hill

    Teams don’t generally let good players go.

    So when we say “top FAs”, why should we pay someone 10 million a year when the team that let them go wouldn’t do it?

    A John Abraham type signing for 2 yrs 10 million might be as good as it gets.

  • Myopinion

    east
    Willys the sht man. Hes older, they werent privelaged like today, school was a privelage after you worked. Willing to bet willys more of a man then youll ever be.
    Have some respect please

  • Al_is_theraiders

    amy trask is smarter than the mark davis, shrek and DA combined! a few if ger thoughts…

    1. I think the NFL should reconsider, and either abandon or substantially modify, the blackout rule. If a team is struggling to sell out, it is counterproductive to black out home games in the very market in which the team is endeavoring to engender greater support.

    2. I think the best coaches evaluate their rosters and design offensive and defensive game plans that put their players in the best position to succeed.

    4. I think that if all people were as blind to racial, gender, religious, ethnic and other differences as Al Davis was, the world would be a much, much better place. Actually, I know this to be the case, but the title of this column is 10 Things I Think I Think, not 10 Things I Know.

    5. I think that, as a general rule, a three-man rush is a really bad idea.

    9. I still think Brady fumbled. (And before you tell me to get over it, please remember that the fun of sports is that we don’t have to get over it. ‪#‎immaculatereception‬ ‪#‎lytlefumble‬)

    10. The thing I loved the most about my almost three decades in the National Football League is the same thing I still love about the National Football League: the game. I can’t wait for kickoff.

  • J Hill

    “its still Al’s fault”

    ——————————————————————————

    I honestly haven’t seem much if any of that.

    “Outsiders”, yeah.

    But not on this board.

  • http://profootballtalk.com Raideraholic (AKAHairyBush)

    So when we say “top FAs”, why should we pay someone 10 million a year when the team that let them go wouldn’t do it?
    ———————-
    Well, If they are a better option then what you have on your roster and have the cash to spend, it makes sense to me.

  • ElkGRaider

    I’m curious what you cats would like to see us do with next year’s cap space/
    ————-

    Solidify the lines. Too much to ask in getting a stud WR? Draft a qb till we get it right.