The Raiders play host to the Minnesota Vikings on Sunday at Allegiant Stadium in their second preseason game. While they were impressive in a number of areas last week in their preseason opener against the Jacksonville Jaguars, the offensive line remains a question mark.
Brandon Parker, who started at left tackle with Kolton Miller getting the night off, not only struggled but also ended up getting injured. He missed practice all this week, and his long-range status remains in question.
The injury for now reduces by one the competition at right tackle and complicates the swing tackle position as well.
And it’s resulted in plenty of questions among Raiders fans about the offensive line.
Here is a sampling of what arrived in this week’s mailbag.
Steve @ Vegas Raiders Blog (@VegasRaidersBlg): The Raiders obviously need a right tackle and Daryl Williams seems to be the best one out there. My question is, why hasn’t Williams signed with anyone? Is he not as good as the fan base thinks he is?
VINCENT BONSIGNORE: The notion that the Raiders “need” a right tackle isn’t necessarily accurate. They feel their right tackle is on the roster, with Alex Leatherwood, Thayer Munford, Jermaine Eluemunor and Brandon Parker in the running for that role. The actual need might be at swing tackle, or a player who can cover the left and right side if a starter goes down.
Even if the Raiders are interested in Williams, who started the last two seasons for the Buffalo Bills, why would he be interested in them if the only role they have available is as a backup? He is a starting-caliber player who wants a starting role and starter money. That doesn’t appear to be available with the Raiders.
As far as a quality swing tackle, the next two or three preseason games will go a long way toward determining whether that player is on the roster or if the Raiders have to go outside their building to find him.
If they do have to reach beyond their building, keep an eye on the waiver wire in the next few weeks. There are likely to be surprise salary cap cuts that might yield a solid option at that position. The trade market is another avenue.
Mike D’Amico (@SienaRaider): Do Derek Carr, Davante Adams, Hunter Renfrow, Maxx Crosby, etc, play at all this week or next?
VB: This week? No. Next week? Maybe.
That said. Josh McDaniels runs his ship as he sees fit, and he uses a bunch of different factors in making every decision, including who he plays in the preseason. If he believes the best option to improve the team is to play certain guys, he will not hesitate.
Kobe (@bradychoked): Does Johnathan Abraham look like a starting strong safety?
VB: There is no doubt that Abram has absolute strengths as an NFL safety. As last season showed, when he is utilized correctly he can be an asset. That said, there are areas of the game, such as pass coverage, where he struggles. It’s on the coaches to maximize his strengths and minimize the times he is put in a position where his weaknesses can be exploited.
Leandro (@LeandroRaiders): Davante Adams is the best wide receiver in the NFL. But is there a Raiders corner doing a good job against him in man coverage?
VB: Second-year corner Nate Hobbs has won his share of reps against Adams. Keep an eye on Hobbs, he has a chance to be special.
Sean Watkins (@swatkins1991): Will Josh Jacobs be the featured back in a contract year? Or will Zamir White and/or others significantly cut into his snap count?
VB: Jacobs has had a strong camp — although he did miss practice on Friday — and the sense is he will be the primary running back. However, the Raiders will figure out a way to get plenty of backs involved.
Raider Omar (@LVRomar12): Where will Nate Hobbs primarily be playing, slot or outside? Who is likely the third wide receiver?
VB: Hobbs has been getting a lot of time out on the perimeter. That is expected to carry over to the regular season. As for the third wide receiver, don’t be surprised if the Raiders take a committee approach, with the situation dictating who that player will be.