Questions ahead of the Raiders final preseason game of the season versus the Seahawks at 7 PM today.
First question, where is Khalil Mack?
Odell Beckham Jr. got his deal. Aaron Donald is getting his deal. Even Le’veon Bell is expected to end his deal. Yet, we’re still hearing rumors about how Khalil Mack and the Raiders aren’t even talking. We’ve heard the trade rumors and the coaching speak from Jon Gruden but when is this deal done?
To make matters worse, the Bengals signed two of their defenders who didn’t hold out. The Packers are even re-signing Aaron Rodgers to a record deal. I can’t imagine all these numbers make it easier to pay Khalil Mack. If anything, it just means Mack will probably command more money.
I don’t want to hear how he should report to get his deal. People with this sort of thinking are simple minded and probably applying for new jobs on their work servers. Moreover, those people aren’t making a living in a dangerous sport that will cost them their mind and could be taken away at a second. Not to mention, they’re probably not one of the best in their industry where they can command any price.
The fact of the matter is, Mack hasn’t gotten hurt. He is not a distraction. He is the best player at his position and one of the best players in the entire league. Pay the man so we can move to real questions.
Question Two: What’s the defensive line finished rotation?
Khalil Mack ain’t signed so that’s gonna mess up the rotation. Where will Tank Carridine land when Mack does show up?
Don’t forget the fact that rookie Arden Key, Maurice Hurst and PJ Hall have all showed glimpses in preseason. Otherwise, the starting rotation will be what you expect. Mario Edwards Jr., Justin Ellis, Bruce Irvin.
Plus, the team has taken risks on veterans like Fadol Brown, Gabe Wright and Frostee Rucker. Do any of those guys make the rotation?
There are also more familiar names from the previous regime including Treyvon Hester, Shilique Calhoun, James Cowser and Eddie Vanderdoes. Are any of those guys worth the investment of a draft pick? Obi Melifonwu apparently wasn’t.
Question Three: How does the secondary finish?
On that same note, the Raiders secondary has been fluid this offseason. Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie is the recent addition. However, remember Gareon Conley is healthy and they signed Rashaan Melvin. That means the starters are locked down.
Nonetheless, Shareece Wright and Leon Hall are other veterans on the roster. Daryl Worley was a player they took a chance on despite off-field questions. Nick Nelson was drafted even though he is off an injury. Dexter McDonald and Antonio Hamilton have seen their fair share of reps this preseason so are they going to break into the rotation?
Don’t forget the safeties. Karl Joseph, Reggie Nelson and Marcus Gilchrist are going to combine for the two primary starter roles. Shalom Luani got a lot of reps last year but does that really help him? Obi Melifonwu not being on the roster sure does help.
Question Four: What’s the starting tackles look like?
On one side, you have David Sharpe and Kolton Miller battling it out left tackle.
Miller is the favorite because of his draft status but he could easily be surpassed by David Sharpe or Donald Penn.
Plus, you have Penn who is moving to right tackle because of a hold out and Miller’s draft status. Brandan Parker has looked like a developmental prospect despite his third round talent.
The team already waived Vandal Alexander and cut Breno Giacomini so the depth at the position is limited.
Question Five: What’s the backup QB situation?
Conner Cook looked good, then he looked bad. E.J. Manuel’s performance has been somewhat laughable considering he played well in start duty last year and he was actually a first round pick at one time.
The two players offer opposite skillsets. Who gets the QB 2 nod? On second thought, aybe it is someone not on this roster.