Week 2 brings fresh challenges for the Oakland Raiders. What must they do in order to get through it successfully?
It wasn’t a perfect debut for Matt Schaub in Minnesota, but the veteran quarterback didn’t get a lot of help. His receivers struggled to catch the football the entire time he was on the field. Then Derek Carr relieved him and the problems continued. Carr threw the only interception of the game, and it came when his pass hit his receiver in the hands and bounced into the arms of the Vikings’ defense. That sort of lacking concentration is one of many reasons why Oakland hasn’t had a winning season in over a decade and must be corrected.
A big question mark for the Raiders’ defense all offseason has been their secondary. D.J. Hayden still hasn’t returned from his latest of many injury problems, leaving veterans Carlos Rogers and Tarell Brown to pick up the slack. The inability of the defense to force any turnovers in week 1 despite decent pressure from the front seven has to be frustrating. Brown and Rogers were signed to increase the playmaking ability of a long beleaguered unit. Picking the pocket of Matthew Stafford and the Detroit Lions would be a great boost to the confidence.
Health, health, health
As referenced above with Hayden, the thing that often kills seasons quicker than inconsistent play or a bad bounce is injuries. Oakland is not a team known for their great depth so ensuring the bulk of their primary starters remain healthy is absolutely crucial to their success in 2014. Schaub, James Jones, Justin Tuck, LaMarr Woodley, and Tyvon Branch are just a few with checkered histories that have to stay on the field. Otherwise, that tough AFC West will overwhelm them as it did last year.