The Raiders resume play off their bye week Sunday at Allegiant Stadium against the Houston Texans. It has been a restless week for their fans, who are still wrapping their arms around the 1-4 start.
And they have plenty of questions.
Here is a sample of what showed up in this week’s mailbag:
Mico (@YouKnowMico): Is Darren Waller playing?
Vincent Bonsignore: The tight end has been dealing with hamstring issues going back to training camp. It cost him a good chunk of camp and almost the entire Chiefs game. And it probably will cost him the Texans game.
This is not a situation the Raiders or Waller want to push, as it’s always better to be cautious with hamstring issues, especially with a player who relies so heavily on his legs. The risk is further hurting the hamstring and knocking Waller out even longer.
The Raiders need their tight end, without question. But they need him healthy even more, and until he’s able to play and do the things he’s capable of, they will be responsible.
token34 (@gabeZ34): Are the Raiders looking to trade for a cornerback?
VB: The Raiders will explore all avenues to improve the roster, including the trade market. With Nate Hobbs on the injured list for at least the next four weeks, that could be a position they look to bolster. That said, this week will be important for someone such as Anthony Averett, should he be activated to the roster from the injured list, to show he is capable of holding things down until Hobbs gets back.
Mico (@YouKnowMico): Is this a “must win game?”
VB: Without question, the Raiders have to win Sunday. They have left themselves little margin for error, relative to their record and playoff hopes, and dropping a game to a team they are better than would reduce that margin even more. Just as important, it would send a terrible message that things simply aren’t working. And that is not the vibe the Raiders need if they have any hope of moving in the right direction.
Ricardo Pena (@Ricardo31768549): Has anyone asked anyone what happened on the last offensive play against Kansas City?
VB: The consensus is it was partly the result of what the Chiefs’ defenders did to redirect at the line of scrimmage to put Davante Adams and Hunter Renfrow in the same general area — where they obviously were not supposed to be — and just poor execution by the Raiders in allowing that to happen. Regardless of what the cornerback wants to do, in rerouting one or both receivers, the Raiders have to fight through that and make sure it doesn’t happen.
MostBallenestRaider (@ready4_we): How much latitude does Derek Carr have to change plays at the line of scrimmage now compared to Week 1?
VB: Carr has always had the flexibility to make a change at the line of scrimmage from the primary play to one of the off-set plays based on the defensive look. Keep in mind whatever he calls, it has to fit the personnel group he’s working with on the field. That’s why he approaches the line of scrimmage with the play that’s been called, but has multiple options within the framework of the original call and grouping. He makes the final determination, though.
Mico (@YouKnowMico): Is Divine Deablo a linebacker or should he be moved back to safety?
VB: Deablo continues to improve at linebacker after making the switch from college safety. It would be counterproductive at this point to move him back.
B_Hollywood (@UrFavSoldier_BH): What potential position upgrades do you foresee the Raiders pursuing either in trades or free agency?
VB: Offensive line. Interior defensive line. Linebacker. Secondary.