This week, we stopped by and talked with Silver and Black Pride to discuss the Las Vegas Raiders, catch up with some old friends, and get to know a little more about what is going on in Vegas.
Thanks to Matt Holder for being kind enough to chat with us about the Raiders.
1. Chandler Jones, how has he been and how much juice do you think he has left?
Jones had a minor injury at the beginning of training camp that the coaching staff downplayed and seemingly had him sit out of practice as more of a precautionary move than a necessary one. After all, he is a long-tenured veteran who doesn’t need a ton of practice reps anyway, so there was no sense in rushing him back to make a small problem worse. Also, the majority of the Raiders’ starters weren’t playing in the preseason, so we wouldn’t have gotten to see Jones play anyway.
In Week 1, he was relatively quiet with only a couple of tackles, one TFL and no sacks. However, that was just one game so I’m not going to judge him solely based on that, and we just haven’t gotten a chance to really see him play to answer your question.
2. Outside of Jones, the biggest addition was Davante Adams... What is it like seeing him daily/weekly instead of in passing playing for the Packers?
The best way I can put it is, pretty freaking awesome!
Adams was cooking defensive backs all training camp and even Patriots’ beat writers were praising the connection between him and Carr during their joint practices, calling him almost unfair and impossible to guard. He dominated in the season-opener and it felt like he was getting open on just about every play, logging 10 catches for 141 yards and a touchdown. It’s not very often that arguably the best player at a particular position switches teams, let alone joins the team you support, and he’s been as advertised so far.
3. Tough loss in week one, but how has the Josh McDaniels era been through one offseason and training camp?
I can honestly say I have no issues with McDaniels as the head coach so far. Initially, I was worried about how he’d handle the relationship management aspect of the job because that’s where he failed miserably in Denver, but the reports are that he’s really grown in that area and a lot of those reports stem from what the players have said about him. He’s also mentioned several times that the people part of the job was where he needed to improve and he’s been working on that over the last 10 years, which, in my opinion, is an impressive introspective mindset for someone who has the reputation of being a bit of an ego-manic.
The Raiders went 4-0 in the preseason and a five-point loss to a potential Super Bowl contender is nothing to be ashamed of. So in my mind, McDaniels has done a great job so far, though getting his first regular-season win this weekend will add more validity to that statement.
4. Who is one under-the-radar player Arizona Cardinals fans should know?
I’m not sure about how “under-the-radar” he is anymore, but I’d say cornerback Nate Hobbs.
Hobbs was a fifth-round pick last year but ended up being one of the best slot cornerbacks in the league, allowing just 0.74 yards per coverage snap, per PFF, which was the fourth-fewest among corners last season. This year, the new coaching staff is expanding his role and playing him on the outside more, where he struggled in coverage, but he played really well in the opener with an 83.3 overall grade from PFF and five defensive stops. It’ll be interesting to see how he holds up against the Cardinals’ receiving corps, which I think is good even without DeAndre Hopkins.
5. What are the expectations for the Raiders playing in maybe the best division in football?
The AFC West is definitely going to be a gauntlet this year where every team will likely beat each other up, but I do expect the Raiders to at least compete for the division title. They were a Wild Card team the year before and made some significant upgrades at a couple of crucial spots, so I think it’s reasonable to expect them to at least be in the playoff picture and get a win in the postseason this year. Expecting them to win the AFC West is probably a little too much, as it is with every team in the division, but I do think they have the talent to potentially take home the crown for the first time since 2002.
6. With two teams that can score points, and the over at 51.5 according to Draftkings Sportsbook, are you liking the over or under on Sunday?
I live my life by one philosophy; life’s too short to bet the under.
I’d absolutely hammer the over in this game. As you said, two teams who are pretty set offensively but still have holes on defense. The Raiders will also be without their third cornerback, Anthony Averett, and will be relying on a crop of players who either have struggled in the past, are unproven/young or signed off the street. That’s not an ideal situation against the Cardinals’ receiving corps which is pretty deep even without DeAndre Hopkins.