With the playoffs here, Raiders fans are thinking about the present and the future. Their questions this week reflect that.
From Saturday’s wild-card playoff game against the Bengals to the future of interim head coach Rich Bisaccia to who to prioritize in free agency, there is a lot to think about.
Here is a sampling of what arrived in this week’s mailbag:
Raider Bella (@Neus_Worthy): Does the game-day roster increase for playoff games? If so, will the Raiders re-sign Will Compton?
VINCENT BONSIGNORE: Great question. No, the rosters stay exactly the same as in the regular season. That means the Raiders have a 53-man active roster and a 16-player practice squad, from which they can promote players. On game day, that 53-man squad gets trimmed to either 47 or 48 players depending on how many offensive linemen they dress. If teams dress eight offensive linemen, they can expand the roster to 48. Anything below that means the roster is set at 47 players.
1226Rick (@rickberry18): Does Rich Bisaccia have a legitimate chance of retaining the head coach position?
VB: There are plenty of variables that will be in play on that decision, not the least of which might be the desire of Raiders owner Mark Davis to bring in a respected, experienced, big-name coach for whom he can entrust the future of the football side of his franchise.
The sense is Davis will not be a prisoner of the moment, and that he will take the necessary time to decide what direction he will take.
ledtear ن(@ledtear): Is the weather going to be more of an equalizer or a detriment for the men from the desert?
VB: No doubt it will take some getting used to, but the Raiders played reasonably well in cold conditions in Cleveland this year — as well as last year — and they have shown they can adapt a game plan to fit the conditions.
You have to suspect the run game will have to make the trip to Cincinnati. The foundation it creates will be critical, especially if it becomes a cold, windy, wet day.
George Dawli (@georgepdawli): Are the Raiders going to be able to retain a lot of their players? I could be wrong, but I think a lot of them are on short-term, “prove-it” deals.
VB: Casey Hayward, Solomon Thomas, Quinton Jefferson, Darius Philon and K.J. Wright are all defensive players who were signed to one-year deals. Not sure about Wright’s future plans, and they could include retirement, but the Raiders almost have to bring back Hayward and Thomas. Jefferson and Philon are all attractive players they figure to consider re-signing.
John P (@marra14_john): How will Derek Carr prepare for the 20- to 30-degree weather?
VB: It’s been fairly cold in Las Vegas recently, so certainly that can help. The reality is, there is just so much you can do to get ready for the sort of conditions expected in Cincinnati this weekend.
Ball security will be critical. While the wind isn’t expected to play a huge role, certainly Carr needs to focus on grip, footwork and making sure he gets enough on the ball to deliver it effectively.
Lincoln Nick (@Dalerich81): Which of the pending free agents do you think the Raiders will bring back next year? Also how much in projected cap space will the Raiders have this offseason?
VB: Casey Hayward is almost a must-have back for the Raiders. As of the moment, the Raiders are projected to have $40 million in cap space.
Arturo Corrales (@acorvil33): What is the status of Richie Incognito? If the Raiders get through the playoffs and to the Super Bowl, will he be able to take any snaps?
VB: Never say never, but it’s been a long while since there has been an update on Incognito. It seems dubious he’d be back.
George Guioguio (@1NationGuioguio): Is there a reason why Tyron Johnson and DeSean Jackson don’t get more playing time? Probably two of the fastest guys on the team.
VB: Well, first off Zay Jones is playing really well, so there isn’t much of a need for Johnson. Jackson was under the weather most of last week, That contributed to his minimal playing time against the Chargers. Keep an eye on him Saturday.