We’ve asked five writers to answer five burning questions for the upcoming season on the Oakland Raiders. A team with some exciting rookies that went 4-12 a season ago, and opening day will see one of the most athletic quarterbacks in NFL history under center for the Silver & Black.
Now, here are five questions and the responses from our writers:
1. Seems like there’s only one place to start. How do you feel about Terrelle Pryor, and what are your expectations for him this season?
Lorenzo Siemann: Terrelle Pryor’s athleticism will get Raider fans out of their seats, but he sometimes struggles throwing the ball and makes mental errors. Pryor will have his moments, but fans need to temper their lofty expectations.
Alvin Chandra: Hopefully Pryor gives the Raiders the best chance to win now, I see him impressing to start with and frustrating towards the end of the season.
Robert Carter: Pryor is the best option; any other quarterback will get destroyed behind this line, but his mobility will keep plays alive. He has a long way to go as a passer, I wouldn’t expect great numbers but his legs make him a threat and he’ll have quite a few “wow” plays.
Rui Thomas: I’ve seen dead squirrels on the road with more polish than Pryor, but he’s a tremendous runner with a live arm. I expect him to rack up the ground and aerial yards while producing more turnovers than touchdowns.
Brian Banifatemi: I expect big things from Pryor this season. With dual-threat quarterbacks dominating, I think Pryor definitely has the potential to be next in line behind guys like Robert Griffin III, Cam Newton, and Russell Wilson.
2. Will Dennis Allen be coaching the Raiders in 2014?
Lorenzo Siemann: The Raiders are in transition and the front office would be foolish to expect a successful year. The franchise has devoted to rebuilding and knows a playoff birth from Dennis Allen with this roster isn’t realistic; he’ll be around for at least two more years.
Alvin Chandra: Yes, the Raiders are looking long term. Evidence, his four-year contract.
Robert Carter: If the Raiders are smart, yes. Continuity is key in the NFL and two seasons isn’t enough on a team devoid of talent. He should get an opportunity next season to coach what should be a significantly more talented roster.
Rui Thomas: Yes. Unless the Raiders win zero or one games, they will bring back Allen with an improved roster in 2014.
Brian Banifatemi: Allen’s a solid coach. The lack of talent isn’t his fault, but at some point, enough is enough. If Oakland struggles this season and fails to compete at a high level, I could see Allen being let go but it really is just so up in the air right now that it’s hard to tell.
3. D.J. Hayden, Menelik Watson and Sio Moore are all promising rookies, which one are you most excited to see on the field?
Lorenzo Siemann: D.J. Hayden’s story is amazing. If he goes from a life-threatening injury to becoming a star on the Raiders it would represent one of the greatest comebacks ever.
Alvin Chandra: D.J. Hayden. His position offers the most electrifying possibility.
Robert Carter: All three. Watson is being forced in at left tackle, which he’s never played, Hayden will be tested, but Moore will make the most impact. Sio lived in the opposing backfield during college and he can bring a spark to the Raiders’ pass rush.
Rui Thomas: Sio Moore. He claimed to be the best linebacker in the draft!
Brian Banifatemi: Watson will be interesting to watch, but I am especially enthused to watch D.J. Hayden and Sio Moore. If Hayden stays healthy he’ll make plays, and Moore has the potential to be an anchor on a Raider defense that desperately needs one, and I believe he will, so Moore has me most excited.
4. Who will be the Raiders’ offensive and defensive MVP’s?
Lorenzo SIemann: If Darren McFadden stays healthy, he’ll be offensive MVP, especially now that they’re back to the power-running scheme he likes. Charles Woodson is back as defensive MVP, and he’ll transition nicely to free safety. Woodson knows how to read the game, and he’ll have a successful return.
Alvin Chandra: Offensive MVP will be Rod Streater in a break out year. Defensive MVP will be Lamar Houston in a contract year.
Robert Carter: Pryor could be offensive MVP with his electric play and powerful arm, if he finishes the season. On defense it will be a battle between Moore and Lamarr Houston, the team’s top two pass rushers. Houston is in a contract year, so he gets the nod in his favor.
Rui Thomas: Menelik Watson will be the offensive MVP for keeping the line afloat and his quarterback alive until Jared Veldheer returns. The defensive MVP will be Kevin Burnett for his reliable and consistent open-field tackles.
Brian Banifatemi: Offensive MVP will be either Pryor or Rod Streater. Pryor for obvious reasons, while Streater can make noise using his good hands; speed, awareness and I have him down for a breakout season. Defensively, it’s Sio Moore or Nick Roach. These linebackers will make lots of plays if they synergize and bring the best out of each other.
5. How many games will the Oakland Raiders win in 2013?
Lorenzo Siemann: The Raiders will win five games. Pryor will have a few great games, but there’s too much inconsistency for real success.
Alvin Chandra: Five games, the defense will keep them close in a lot of games.
Robert Carter: They’ll win four games, with a tough schedule that includes lightweights like Jacksonville and the Jets. They might steal a game late, especially if Denver rests its starters in the final week.
Rui Thomas: Three. Look back at the Oakland squad that went 2-14 in 2006, and you could argue that team had better talent.
Brian Banifatemi: It’s tough, but I’ll say anywhere from six to nine wins. If Pryor’s playmaking abilities can win a few games while the rest of the team performs at a high level the 2013 Raiders can surprise people.