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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

  • nycraider

    Willy91137 Says:
    August 23rd, 2013 at 9:57 am
    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
    ————————
    so then we should only draft ol now?

  • VanHeathen30

    Mark has to believe that returning to LA would instantly increae his revenue…but does he really know the LA market and their desire for an NFL franchise.
    Sure the league wants a team there, not named the Raiders, of course.
    Sure the developers want to build a stadium, but do the NFL fans want a team, is the big question.
    I know a few guys that would rather drive to Vegas and get their action there on Sundays…

  • hwnrdr

    OMG…I finally get to post! Fix this site please!!!
    Anyways, I don’t think we sold out a preseason game since the last time the 9ers played here, about 3 years ago (maybe 4)!

  • SpudRaider

    J Hill Says:
    August 23rd, 2013 at 9:55 am
    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.
    ****************************************************
    I see 1 or 2 wide receivers(one being a return guy)
    I see 1 or 2 O-Line man
    I see 1 to 3 D-line man
    I see 1 Running Back
    I see 1 or 2 Linebackers

    Okay 5-9

  • hwnrdr

    So, what are we looking for tonight? QB play, pass rush, secondary…anything else?

  • VanHeathen30

    At least if we move up to 30th in the revenue rankings, Mark can say he did something positive while he was at the helm…the next owner of this franchise is going to make some serious cash.
    Big Money investors have got to be licking their chops to get a hold of this franchise…

  • Dakota

    Has Jerry McDonald been looking for apartments in the LA area?

    You should start Jerr.

  • eastoaklandraider

    Draft some olinemen, sign some olinemen, just get us some better olinemen

  • VanHeathen30

    I’m lloking for every phase of the game to be better, save for Jano and the FG kicking…

  • nycraider

    Eastoaklandraider Says:
    August 23rd, 2013 at 10:02 am
    Draft some olinemen, sign some olinemen, just get us some better olinemen
    ——————
    throw in a pass rusher too and a wr who can run routes

  • VanHeathen30

    Suit Big Linc up and hand the mic and headset to Alex Barron…

  • guest123

    Welcome to the blog Hwnrdr,

    This place boots me sporadically for no reason. I log in, go back one blog entry and I’m logged in. I even put out a “test” entry, then go to the latest blog entry and it’s back to the past and about 20 or so entries are gone. and I can’t log back in.

    Then check back in from time to time and try again. This site needs a witch doctor.

  • Dakota

    905.hwnrdr Says:
    August 23rd, 2013 at 10:02 am
    So, what are we looking for tonight? QB play, pass rush, secondary…anything else?

    ++++++++

    Any signs of life whatsoever….ANY!

    Man, look at that crisp snap by Condo! Look at that punt placement by King! Wow, look at Pryor run!

  • guest123

    So, what are we looking for tonight? QB play, pass rush, secondary…anything else?

    **********

    an offensive line maybe?

  • hwnrdr

    913.Dakota Says:
    August 23rd, 2013 at 10:07 am
    905.hwnrdr Says:
    August 23rd, 2013 at 10:02 am
    So, what are we looking for tonight? QB play, pass rush, secondary…anything else?

    ++++++++

    Any signs of life whatsoever….ANY!

    Man, look at that crisp snap by Condo! Look at that punt placement by King! Wow, look at Pryor run!

    LOL, I hear ya!

  • hwnrdr

    912.guest123 Says:
    August 23rd, 2013 at 10:07 am
    Welcome to the blog Hwnrdr,

    This place boots me sporadically for no reason. I log in, go back one blog entry and I’m logged in. I even put out a “test” entry, then go to the latest blog entry and it’s back to the past and about 20 or so entries are gone. and I can’t log back in.

    Then check back in from time to time and try again. This site needs a witch doctor.

    Yeah its been weird…last 2 days I couldn’t sign in so I just said forget it!

  • nycraider

    a lincoln kennedy and soprano combination sadly might be an upgrade right now to the OL

  • Dakota

    Did you guys see that beautiful hold by Kluwe on the FG attampt!

    WOW 13-3 baby!

  • VanHeathen30

    I’m hoping to see a read-option on the o line, like RaiderDawg suggested yesterday…just keep rotating players between each position from play to play, so the pass rushers can’t lock in on Barron/Smith each play.

  • VanHeathen30

    Dakota; we did resign Condo, so the long snaps should be Pro Bowl caliber…

  • nycraider

    im expecting :
    1)protect the QB
    2) better play on defense
    3) good QB play
    not expecting a creative game plan or running game, dont give up your plays in preseason

  • VanHeathen30

    ‘hey Rocky, you want to invest in some condo’s…
    Nah, i never use those things’…

  • The Big Banana

    Dakota Says:
    August 23rd, 2013 at 10:10 am
    Did you guys see that beautiful hold by Kluwe on the FG attampt!

    WOW 13-3 baby!

    ——

    Lol! Burn…where’s Vegas?

  • the famous dr robert

    The best thing we can all hope for is for McFadden to break a bone.

    That way they will be forced to go to Reece.

    Instead of giving McFadden four or five games before they realize he is toast.

  • Dakota

    I am expecting to see Nick Roach sack Cutler and then tear the insulin pump right off Cutler’s stomach and smash into the ground at the 50 yard line!

  • guest123

    I want to see DJ Hayden’s first work. That’s the one thing I’m looking for. Is he elite?

    How will he do lined up against Marshall?

    This I wanna see!

  • hwnrdr

    Here we go again…geez…I had to refresh ….well…lol
    Pretty funny Dakota! Although that WOULD be funny to see!

  • hwnrdr

    926.guest123 Says:
    August 23rd, 2013 at 10:18 am
    I want to see DJ Hayden’s first work. That’s the one thing I’m looking for. Is he elite?

    How will he do lined up against Marshall?

    This I wanna see!

    Agreed and we all willget our chance tonight!

  • VanHeathen30

    Will Hayden even line up on Marshall, thought he was not starting which would mean nickle back, right.

  • VanHeathen30

    I’d like to see Watson line up for a few snaps, just to see what he looks like coming out of his stance/does he create push, etc.

  • the famous dr robert

    What I’m watching tonite:

    1) Hayden
    2) our real front 7 as a unit
    3) pass protection
    4) DMc
    5) Flynn

  • Dakota

    I want to see Janikowski spike the Raiders’ gatorade container with gamma hydroxybutyric acid…..at least then we will have an excuse for taking it up the azz tonight!

  • VanHeathen30

    Dakota breaking out the baseball bat today…
    Can DA pull that gimmick again this year to get himself a win.

  • papertiger418

    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?

  • Dakota

    Team Weaknesses:

    QB
    WR
    TE
    O-Line
    DE
    DT
    HC and DC
    Training Staff
    GM
    Owner
    Stadium
    Cheerleaders

    TEAM STRENGTHS:
    Long Snapper
    Cool Uniforms

    13-3 Baby!!!!!

  • Dakota

    Oooops forgot one:

    Team Weaknesses:

    QB
    WR
    TE
    O-Line
    DE
    DT
    HC and DC
    Training Staff
    GM
    Owner
    Stadium
    Cheerleaders

    TEAM STRENGTHS:
    Long Snapper
    Cool Uniforms
    FG Kicker

    13-3 Baby!!!!!

  • ElkGRaider

    I want to see DJ Hayden’s first work. That’s the one thing I’m looking for. Is he elite?
    ———–

    Yep. That and if TP is treated like a real qb

  • VanHeathen30

    Vikings Stadium ground breaking put on hold, while some Min. Sports Panel look into the Wilfs and some scam rap they are up against back in NJ.
    Mark has got to be worried they are LA bound…
    HA HA HA.

  • Marks hair

    I thought da said hayden was starting

  • VanHeathen30

    Could be Hayden is starting, either way, can’t wait to see him in action…
    Picking ofF our QB’s in practice seems to be pretty easy these days, so it’ll be good to see him against actual NFL QB’s.

  • willy91137

    New England Patriots draft class 2010

    their first-round pick is not on the team cornerback

    they had 3 second round picks they are all still on the team

    their fourth-round pick is in prison

    they had 4/7 round picks none of them are on the team

    their fifth and sixth round picks aren’t on the team
    l
    with a total of 12 picks in three years only three of them are on the team

    I think Bill Belichick is pretty good at drafting I would think

  • Whoknows

    Team Weaknesses:

    QB
    WR
    TE
    O-Line
    DE
    DT
    HC and DC
    Training Staff
    GM
    Owner
    Stadium
    Cheerleaders
    ******************
    Hey, the cheerleaders aren’t that shabby.
    http://www.raiders.com/media-vault/videos/2013-2014-Raiderette-Swimsuit-Calendar-Trailer/0452fc5f-dbf3-46f1-9ff4-fc0517d14296

  • VanHeathen30

    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…

  • hwnrdr

    LOL Dakota…
    SO if we do go to 13-3…lol…nevermind!

  • ElkGRaider

    Good post Willy…

  • willy91137

    craider 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
    ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
    read my post 941 New England Patriots draft class 2010 & NOW

  • 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…
    ******************************************
    I would like to find that out but that’s more research and this old man can do

    but you are right it’s harder to get on the patriots but my point is drafting is not an exact science

  • VanHeathen30

    Really good teams are going to have less retention of draft picks as their rosters are deeply stocked…
    And most of those picks come at the end of the rounds, which makes the players they pick at the lower end of the round…
    Looking at teams picking in the top 16 to compare againt our situation if that’s what your after.

  • willy91137

    If we’ve got three of those players from this year’s draft still on the team in three years that was a good draft

  • VanHeathen30

    For sure Willy, i’m hoping that’s the case…