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1.) How do they feel about Reggie McKenzie and the job he has done? Also does Raiders Nation support the Raiders sacrificing their cap space this season to dump a number of bad contracts to clear the books in 2014?
The feelings seem to be mixed as to the job Reggie McKenzie is doing. Most Raiders fans are used to Al Davis' method of selling the farm regardless of future consequences manner of running the team. It is a bitter pill to swallow to see the Raiders fielding bargain basement players and knowing they are in for some bad football in the short term. Others have grown tired of the old ways and realize even with the mortgaging of the future, all those big contracts and trades have still resulted in a decade of futility. The near $70 million in cap space the Raiders will have in 2014 makes most fans happy. McKenzie's first two drafts have left a lot more questions than answers and even the most staunch supporters are at best cautiously optimistic.
2.) Do you think Terrelle Pryor is a long term answer or another stop gap QB?
It's difficult to say. He has defied some odds and expectations already. His passing has improved and the question becomes if it can continue to improve because we are seeing the defenses in the league are figuring out how to stop the read-option which is forcing players like RGIII and Colin Kaepernick to win through the air, not on the ground. Pryor will have to continue to defy conventional wisdom that has seen many QB's try and fail to remake their throwing mechanics at the pro level. He has this season to do it. The Raiders like the excitement he brings to the table but that won't be enough for them to put the future of the franchise in his hands. If by the end of this season, he has forced teams to respect his arm and is putting the team on his back, he will be the guy. If not, they will seek the long term solution elsewhere. Most likely the draft.
3.) Will they be throwing a DeAngelo Hall returns party?
There might be a smattering of boos from the crowd but I'm not sure how much you'll be able to tell the difference between just boos in general. I think most fans are over DeAngelo Hall at this point. They don't like him, certainly. But he isn't as hated in Oakland as he once was.
4.) Assess how you feel about Dennis Allen so far and his future?
Wow, some really broad, overarching questions here. I feel like I'm really being put on the spot. This too is a difficult question to answer. He has twice fielded a team that was gutted from the season before so it is hard to judge him by team performance. The only really huge mistakes he made were initial coaching hires. Well, being tied to the zone blocking scheme last year was also a big mistake, but considering it led to the worst coaching hire mistake -- Greg Knapp as offensive coordinator - it's kind of the same thing. The other terrible hire was special teams coordinator Steve Hoffman. The guy was a kicking/punting specialist coming to a team which needed coverage and return team guidance. The last thing they needed was someone to coach up the best kicker/punter duo in the NFL. Allen remedied that mistake as well by adding Bobby April. Also getting Tony Sparano as offensive line coach this season was a tremendous hire. These moves prove that he realizes his early mistakes and is taking positive steps.
His future will depend a great deal on how many wins the Raiders have this season. Mark Davis doesn't meddle in football affairs much but he won't stand for a worse season this year than last. He might not settle for anything less than an improved team. The Raiders had 4 wins last season. If they can't improve on that and/or finish the season on an upswing, there is a good chance Allen will be gone.
5.) What have other teams done schematically defensively (and successfully) to slow the Raiders offense?
Stack the box and take away Pryor's run threat. In essence, force him to beat them through the air. He had a few really nice throws last week against the Broncos and showed some great pocket presence. But, he has yet to be able to string enough throws together for opposing defenses to respect it enough to back off the line of scrimmage. Against the Jaguars, they split their attention between coverage and shadowing Pryor on the read option. The result was Darren McFadden running wild on them because there was no one there to stop him once he got through the line. The Broncos stayed disciplined, playing a lot of single coverage and filling gaps with linebackers. It was a strategy that worked very well.
Bonus: Score prediction and why.
I have the Redskins winning this one Let's say 24-20. The Redskins may have a shoddy defense but then again so did the Jaguars and the Raiders could only get in the endzone once off a short field. The defense gave up three touchdowns to Andrew Luck and the Colts and has yet to intercept a pass this season. I see RGIII having a similar game but with some run support.