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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

    You are going to have to get past our new owners and staff not being Al Davis, Trask, and Herrera.

    Those 3 are gone and not coming back.

  • J Hill

    Too much to ask in getting a stud WR?

    —————————————————————————–

    In FA???

    Might be a bit much to ask.

  • 0ak r8rs

    Nycraider Says:
    August 23rd, 2013 at 8:42 am
    ElkGRaider Says:
    August 23rd, 2013 at 8:38 am
    Keep guzzling the Reggis Koolade!
    ———-
    Or haterade…
    ————–
    all due respect, ive been on this blog for years and it was very acceptable for many semis in here to claim love for the Raiders but at the same time criticize Al. until RM proves himself , semis should be allowed to voice their concerns without being called haters. I love the Raiders but really am skeptical about RM. I look forward to the day RM proves his value, until then dont confuse concern with hate

    @@@@@@@@

    It’s more about the way it’s said that shows hate. Nobody expects anybody to blindly follow Reggie or DA. I’m on their side, but I try to look at it all objectively. It’s when they r called big lips and mumbles and freckles and TITS that it becomes hateful. And there’s hateful premises w agendas too. Like blaming Reggie for picking Watson because he’s injured? Or like last night, Priest saying the Raiders would regret not drafting Fisher, as of we even had a chance to do that? It’s just grasping at straws to pick apart anything that’s going on w this team. And many of us, speaking for myself anyway, r tired of the constant attacks and name calling, especially when it’s unfounded.

    And it’s hypocritical too. There is a totally different atmosphere in here after a win as opposed to a loss. And it’s friggin preseason. There’s just so much chicken little and trolling attitudes around here. It’s gets frustrating

  • Myopinion

    No way rm is al davis to the bone, projects, potential, hes just the new generation.

  • Whoknows

    I love Tits and Freckles just not too fond of the ones we got.

  • ElkGRaider

    Al’s 10 things I think I think…

  • VanHeathen30

    Amy should be running this franchise today…
    Why Mark didn’t make her Pres. of Football Ops is beyond me…New she was out as soon as he took over.
    His Ego can’t be overshadowed, except for the fact he has NO idea what he is doing, he’s the original ‘CHECK CASHER’…

  • inonewordraider

    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.

    ____
    1. sign our own: veldheer, reece, Houston, and whatever free agents tear it up for us this year

    2. sign a dt or two: gonna be stud dt’s like paul soliai geno atkins bj raji and greg hardy avail

    3. sign jared allen. i know he’s up in age, but he’s a raider fan and will give you 2 more year of elite pass rushing until you find your stud de in the draft

    4. sign cushing. nick roach might be find, but cushing is a game changer

    5. if Flynn and pryor don’t cut it and if reggie’s draft position doesn’t leave any stud qb’s avail, sign cutler. i know this isn’t popular, but he’s still young enough, can still sling it, and with the right team around him i think he can get us to the promised land. people don’t like him so he’d fit right in with us

  • SpudRaider

    Raideraholic (AKAHairyBush) Says:
    August 23rd, 2013 at 9:08 am
    I haven’t had a chance to look but I wonder what the 2014 free agency class looks like?
    ******************************************************
    One player next year that is FA is Micheal Johnson DE Cinche got Franchised tagged this year. Cincy went out and got Margus Hunt–a stud we should of picked up out of SMU. Went 21st in 2nd round.

  • guest123

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

    **********

    Well if money’s no object, overpay for a new head coach with some reputation. That’d be the start.

  • eastoaklandraider

    @Myopinion fck you too, you don’t know me or lil willy. He insulted me for giving my opinion, if you wanna ride his nuts fine but don’t expect me to bow down to anyone, I’m a real Raider.

  • VanHeathen30

    Unless Reece has another big year, i just can’t see RM signing him for big money…too many other needs.
    I love the kids versatility and abilty when he’s given the opportunity, but bigger holes need to be patched.
    But don’t worry, the Long Snapper is here for eternity…Sorry BSJ

  • J Hill

    overpay for a new head coach with some reputation

    ——————————————————————————

    That’s your answer to a cap space question???

  • J Hill

    Won’t be that big of a deal to make Reece the highest paid FB in the league.

  • Whoknows

    *note to self*
    Do not collect lettuce seeds with pappi ( featherdown, like dandelion) while couching from smoking a bowl.

  • Bigmike34

    While we are tearing up the Coach’s and the GM and the Players we have ….KEEP IN MIND…

    The coaches really earn their 1/2 money with their Game planning…Game planning is not done during the preSeason……..In fact Flynn has become a master at offensive Game planning…He knows what to look for and why and will be a big help to the QB coach and The Offensive Coordination as he will see some things they might not see.

    During the Preseason it is individuals that are being evaluated…How they fit in and work with the other players….who to keep and who to cut….who are the best starters…

    P.S. a QB like Flynn actually likes the pressure of being blitzed…it means less Coverage…and His game planning will tell him where to go when they use one Blitz or another…

    The is a lot that goes into being a QB…How to manage a Game what to do in one situation or another….Flynn has had a Massive amount of training in those area’s by playing with and doing the planning with a guy like RODGERS …and the GB coaches who are known for developing QBs.

  • Whoknows

    *coughing*
    I must be high

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

    J Hill Says:
    August 23rd, 2013 at 9:25 am
    Won’t be that big of a deal to make Reece the highest paid FB in the league.
    ———————-
    Yeah, I think I make more than the average NFL Fullback lol.

  • VanHeathen30

    J Hill; i hope you are right, just wonder how much value RM puts into that position…hopefully he gets some serious opportunity to produce this year, he’s one of our best matchups in the O.

  • ElkGRaider

    Cincy went out and got Margus Hunt–a stud we should of picked up out of SMU. Went 21st in 2nd round.
    —————

    People watch too much Hard Knocks! Amazing how players get hyped due to the show…

  • VanHeathen30

    tonight will be a big showcase for the ability to game plan effectively…oh man, i can’t wait for kick off.

  • inonewordraider

    2014 raiders:

    Houston Solai Walker Allen
    Moore Cushing Burris
    branch
    Hayden Jenkins
    Woodson

    Veldheer Bergs Wiz Nix Watson
    Rivera
    Marquise Lee Moore Butler
    Dmac Reece
    Cutler

    KR Ford
    PR Ford
    P King
    K Jano

    SUPERBOWL!

  • eastoaklandraider

    @Jhill,

    I just wanna see RM attack the lines, sign our own first of course then go after the best OG’s available then go after the best DT available

  • ElkGRaider

    Won’t be that big of a deal to make Reece the highest paid FB in the league.
    ———-

    What is it? Like 2-3 mill? If that? His agent will definitely try to get paid as a different position

  • VanHeathen30

    Does Cribbs make the team, what’s he on the hook for.

  • SpudRaider

    ElkGRaider Says:
    August 23rd, 2013 at 9:27 am
    Cincy went out and got Margus Hunt–a stud we should of picked up out of SMU. Went 21st in 2nd round.
    —————

    People watch too much Hard Knocks! Amazing how players get hyped due to the show…

    ******************************************************

    No I have followed the Bengals for years. Marv Lewis went to same college I went to Idaho St.(also the Bengals), so I’ve always watched his career. Also where Jared Allen came from & Dirk Koetter at Atlanta.

    Like most football junkies I follow more then one team.
    RAIDERS ARE MY TEAM!!!!

  • nycraider

    0ak R8rs Says:
    August 23rd, 2013 at 9:16 am
    Nycraider Says:
    August 23rd, 2013 at 8:42 am
    ElkGRaider Says:
    August 23rd, 2013 at 8:38 am
    Keep guzzling the Reggis Koolade!
    ———-
    Or haterade…
    ————–
    all due respect, ive been on this blog for years and it was very acceptable for many semis in here to claim love for the Raiders but at the same time criticize Al. until RM proves himself , semis should be allowed to voice their concerns without being called haters. I love the Raiders but really am skeptical about RM. I look forward to the day RM proves his value, until then dont confuse concern with hate

    @@@@@@@@

    It’s more about the way it’s said that shows hate. Nobody expects anybody to blindly follow Reggie or DA. I’m on their side, but I try to look at it all objectively. It’s when they r called big lips and mumbles and freckles and TITS that it becomes hateful. And there’s hateful premises w agendas too. Like blaming Reggie for picking Watson because he’s injured? Or like last night, Priest saying the Raiders would regret not drafting Fisher, as of we even had a chance to do that? It’s just grasping at straws to pick apart anything that’s going on w this team. And many of us, speaking for myself anyway, r tired of the constant attacks and name calling, especially when it’s unfounded.

    And it’s hypocritical too. There is a totally different atmosphere in here after a win as opposed to a loss. And it’s friggin preseason. There’s just so much chicken little and trolling attitudes around here. It’s gets frustrating
    ————————–
    winning does change everything and understand about the name calling. RM has banked on drafts and creating cap space for 2014 to restore this franchise. i dont disagree with the philosophy, im just concerned about his ability to build a franchise. eventually he has to select gems. After Al Toon lit us up last week, i looked and saw he was a 4th round pick last year. I then found a link analyzing the 2012 draft a year later. It was staggering how many productive 3+ round draft picks were productive last year compared to ours. A year later , Bergs might not start even on this porous OL and I just dont think RM had a good draft last year

  • ElkGRaider

    Like most football junkies I follow more then one team.
    RAIDERS ARE MY TEAM!!!!
    ————

    I hear you man. Can’t wait to see the game tonight. Should be a good test. If our lines hold up it could be a sign we could shock the world come Sept

  • willy91137

    If you look up the word fan in the dictionary it means somebody is a fanatic

    some people in here just can’t wait for this team to be great I have been waiting

    for 10 years and I can see that is currently another year or two unless we get lucky

    and make a big trade and get a bunch of draft picks which probably will not happen

    and looking at it realistically you can see that is, take more than two years

    there should be progress this year on the defensive side of the ball I think our offense would’ve been fine but we lost the blind side

    we all want the same thing we want the Raiders to be great again back when I was young
    we were in the playoffs every year but we just couldn’t win the big one

    I remember how bad I felt will we played Green Bay in the second Super Bowl

    Green Bay made us look like we were a sandlot team it was hard to take

    Vince Lombardi said we were a good football team as if that made me feel better

    well I’ll get off the soapbox for now were all brothers we just have different mothers

  • VanHeathen30

    Bottom line is RM hasn’t really made any moves that inspire great confidence in his abilities…
    Streater as an UDFA is one, but until We can’t Hayden plays, no one will know anything about his first 2 picks on the first day of the draft.
    Since we have little cash to spend, this season is all about getting our draft and pick ups to be long term additions, we can’t keep burning season to find talent…

  • ElkGRaider

    It was staggering how many productive 3+ round draft picks were productive last year compared to ours. A year later , Bergs might not start even on this porous OL and I just dont think RM had a good draft last year

  • J Hill

    im just concerned about his ability to build a franchise.

    —————————————————————————-

    You should be.

    He’s a rookie with no resume.

  • Al_is_theraiders

    hunt was tearing up the combine and ncaa…who cares about hard knocks.

  • ElkGRaider

    Whoops. Was gonna say…to be objective I don’t think RM had his scouts no? I think this last draft class is a better indicator

  • nycraider

    ElkGRaider Says:
    August 23rd, 2013 at 9:43 am
    Whoops. Was gonna say…to be objective I don’t think RM had his scouts no? I think this last draft class is a better indicator
    —————
    ok ..good point..thats fair

  • WESTRAIDER

    Soldout or blackedout?

  • ElkGRaider

    hunt was tearing up the combine and ncaa…who cares about hard knocks.
    ———–

    Here we go. Hindsight GM’s. Has hunt dominated a regular season game? Did I miss something?

  • Mistic1 Tha Supavillain

    willy91137 Says:
    August 23rd, 2013 at 9:38 am

    were all brothers

    ==============================

    FALSE

    I see no evidence of this so called code of brotherhood that you say exist.

    Do you have proof?

    I see in the people that classify themselves as raider fans the same pathologies which one finds in non raider fans.

    With all of the disgusting trash that is dumped here on a daily basis I can easily provide evidence of the opposite being true.

    Unless of course you are using coded language, and you are only speaking to a certain segment of the board.

    This is of course the far more likely scenario. I could be incorrect but based on some of your post I will have to maintain my suspicions.

  • SpudRaider

    I bet we pick up 5 to 10 players when others cut to 53. One reason that Indy had the great turn around last year was because they got 1st pick off the wire. This year we are no. 3, and Shrek has been holding money for that day.

  • willy91137

    get online and Google any team you want their draft picks from three years ago

    then Google their roster today how many of them draft picks are still on that team

    it will surprise you to go back four or five years there may only be one or two from that draft class is

    you may get a superstar player but he’s injury prone case in point FORD

  • SpudRaider

    SpudRaider Says:
    August 23rd, 2013 at 9:47 am
    I bet we pick up 5 to 10 players when others cut to 53. One reason that Indy had the great turn around last year was because they got 1st pick off the wire. This year we are no. 3, and Shrek has been holding money for that day.
    ****************************************************
    Also why I hyped about the Rookie show…. most of them know they aren’t going to be around come that day.

  • ElkGRaider

    Soldout or blackedout?
    ————

    Blackout…with….tarps. Starting to believe the LA rumors

  • nycraider

    Willy91137 Says:
    August 23rd, 2013 at 9:48 am
    get online and Google any team you want their draft picks from three years ago

    then Google their roster today how many of them draft picks are still on that team

    it will surprise you to go back four or five years there may only be one or two from that draft class is

    you may get a superstar player but he’s injury prone case in point FORD
    ——————
    so if thats the case you dont build through the draft like RM been saying?

  • willy91137

    Mistic1 Tha Supavillain Says:
    August 23rd, 2013 at 9:47 am
    **************************************
    I don’t think there is anybody on this blog that doesn’t want the Raiders to win

    we all want the same thing don’t we you have to understand that some people

    want instant gratification right now what have you done for me lately

    I appreciate your post

  • SpudRaider

    ElkGRaider Says:
    August 23rd, 2013 at 9:50 am
    Soldout or blackedout?
    ————

    Blackout…with….tarps. Starting to believe the LA rumors
    ******************************************************
    1st day I posted I laid out my idea of how to keep Raiders in Oakland. Being somewhat Narcissistic I went and looked at my posts the next day. The one on keeping Raiders in Oakland had been removed.

  • nycraider

    love the term instant gratification. makes people feel better when they lose

  • VanHeathen30

    I think i can explain my frustrations like this…
    We are like an addict going thru re-hab right now,
    but instead of some 10 year long, ‘coke/whores/booze hollywood style’ flameout, we’ve been thru a 10 year ‘Meth addiction/burnt down the house/lost a limb’. It’s been a decade of bad times and it isn’t getting better over night…not sure if Mark is the guy to oversee this project, nor RM, nor DA.

  • J Hill

    I can’t see us picking up 5 to 10 players off waiver wire.

    Maybe 2 to 3 spots on the lines.

    Where do you see 5-10 open roster spots.

  • ElkGRaider

    The one on keeping Raiders in Oakland had been removed
    ———-

    Hmm…thoughts? Didn’t see it

  • willy91137

    Nycraider Says:
    August 23rd, 2013 at 9:51 am
    Willy91137 Says:
    August 23rd, 2013 at 9:48 am
    get online and Google any team you want their draft picks from three years ago

    then Google their roster today how many of them draft picks are still on that team

    it will surprise you to go back four or five years there may only be one or two from that draft class is

    you may get a superstar player but he’s injury prone case in point FORD
    ——————
    so if thats the case you dont build through the draft like RM been saying?
    ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
    go back and look at other teams and you will see that when they pick offensive lineman they usually stick around for a while
    a lot of their lower round picks don’t even make the team