The Raiders are two wins away from punching their first ticket to the playoffs since the 2016 season. While the short-term payoff of a postseason bid is obvious, their fans wonder about the long-range plans of the franchise.
That question and plenty more arrived in this week’s Raiders mailbag. Here is a sampling.
mcclu4 (@mcclu41): I feel like the next two games could set a path for the next five-plus years. Would you rather see Las Vegas play COVID-plagued opponents and get into the playoffs or play teams at full strength and see where they are really at?
VINCENT BONSIGNORE: Obviously, the preference for everyone would be that all teams are at full strength. The NFL is trying to assure that as much as possible based on the recent changes made to COVID protocols, but there is only so much you can do.
The question you pose is valid, though. It is imperative the Raiders get as good a handle on themselves as possible heading into an important offseason. That said, the Raiders punching a ticket to the playoffs after everything they have dealt with this season would be quite the achievement. That won’t change regardless of who ends up lining up as their opponents these next two weeks.
GenX_Raider (@Huskyhec87): Do you believe next year’s head coach job will go to Rich Bisaccia or Gus Bradley?
VB: If the Raiders make the playoffs, there is an argument to be made for retaining Bisaccia as the head coach. However, Mark Davis, who owns the Las Vegas Aces as well as the Raiders, is not afraid to take a big swing when it comes to the leader of his franchises. That was evidenced by the Aces hiring Becky Hammon to replace Bill Laimbeer as head coach. Laimbeer is coming off highly successful seasons that included multiple trips to the postseason. But that did not dissuade Davis from making a big change upon concluding there was a better option.
That could serve as a clue for what he might have in mind for the Raiders.
Christian H. Pelaez (@sincityraider01): Should the Raiders construct a statue of John Madden at the stadium?
VB: It seems reasonable that, as the years move on, the Raiders will contemplate surrounding Allegiant Stadium with some statues of former greats. That is what happened in Los Angeles at the former Staples Center, as multiple Lakers and Kings players were honored with statues over the years.
Whether it by erecting statues or other means, it seems likely the Raiders will find ways to salute the greats of their franchise.
VB: Stop is a relative term. The Indianapolis Colts are so determined to establish Taylor in the run game, he is bound to produce yards. However, mitigating the havoc he can wreak is an absolute must for the Raiders.
For instance, the Raiders could probably survive a 90- to 100-yard effort by Taylor. But if he goes of for 150 to 180 yards, that will not bode well.
Łunaticø (@LakeShow4Life9): Because of the recent linebacker signings. does that mean one player that is a part of the starting LB corps is not playing?
VB: The Raiders are extremely hopeful all of their COVID-19 linebackers are back on Sunday. However, they have to almost assume the worst will be the case. In order to prepare for that, they needed to acquire several potential replacements. Everyone will have a better idea between Saturday and Sunday morning who will and who won’t play.