1. The Raiders are 0-8, but they nearly beat some good teams in New England, San Diego, and Seattle. What do they need to do to turn the corner?
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Early in the season it was their terrible defense that was causing losses. Now it's their offense that can't get anything done. Those games you mentioned in New England their defense showed up for the first time but their offense couldn't get in the endzone, Against San Diego they scored four touchdowns, but their defense blew it late, Seattle it was their offense turning the ball over early that killed their chances. If they could actually get a complete, well-rounded game, they might have a chance to win. Thus far it's been like that dam where you put a finger in the leak and another one springs. Except that second leak is the dam collapsing.
2. Derek Carr has had some impressive moments, along with his share of rookie mistakes. What are Raiders fans' opinions of Carr, and how long do you think his leash is as starting QB?
Raiders fans seem to be doing what fans do. They have faith. He is a rookie so he is forgiven for all his mistakes and every positive he shows is a sign of his vast potential for future greatness. And of course Peyton Manning is mentioned because of his struggles as a rookie. He did have a couple nice showings but has looked pretty bad the past couple weeks. It's right about that time where the rest of the league has figured out his tendencies and if he doesn't continue to progress to counteract that, he will continue to struggle. If he continues to look like he's regressing, I give him two or three games before they consider bringing in Schaub to try and pull out a win at some point. If Carr at least can look respectable, regardless of wins, I expect he will keep the job the rest of the season and beyond.
3. Khalil Mack looks like the real deal. What has impressed you about him so far?
The way he sheds blocks is just unbelievable. He is truly rare in that ability. It allows him to stuff just about any run that comes hear him and get good pressure on the quarterback as well. He doesn't have a sack yet but he has gotten a lot of pressure and I really think a sack is coming soon. He is so close each week. His PFF grades are just below Von Miller's even without the sacks to show for it. I am rarely impressed by a player as much as I am with Mack. Especially because as good as he is, he just keeps getting better.
4. The Raiders offensive line and defensive line play against one another. Who wins?
Wow, that's a damn good question. Both are so terrible, they would probably just fall over one another and have offsetting penalties. The offensive line can't open up run lanes and the defensive line can't close them. But if you're talking about in pass rush/protection, the offensive line wins. They have done a far better job in pass protection than run blocking. And the Raiders' defensive line has 4.0 combined sack.
5. What are your predictions for the game and for the Raiders' season the rest of the way?
In my initial picks I had the Raiders beating the Chargers in San Diego and I think if they are to get a win the rest of the way that may still be their best opportunity. This week has the makings of a laugher with the Broncos winning going away.
Thanks again to Levi for taking the time!