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Game Preview: Answers from Silver & Black Pride

We have answers to your burning questions from the new SB Nation Raiders blog, Silver & Black Pride, and their main man Saint. Let the exclamation points and analysis begin!

Eternal devotion aside, what's the Nation's take on this year's team? What has being a Raider fan been like this year?
Asking a Raider fan to set aside his or her "Eternal Devotion" is like asking the Pope to forget he is Catholic for a minute!!! As a devoted fan I can say that I have been with Art Shell from day one of his "Reclaiming the Nation" program. He said himself that the team was a ways away when they were 4-0 in the pre-season. I have managed my expectations and am pleasantly surprised with how this team is coming together.

I am also ticked at Randy Moss and Jerry Porter for thier failures to buy into this team to date. The win over Pittsburgh was the highlight of the last 4 seasons for me, so hopefully the team can build off of that.

Your defense has quietly become surprisingly effective, especially in the last couple of victories, and especially against the pass. What's been the turning point for that unit, and who are the key players?
The team has been drafting defense for three years now. Al has been laughed at for drafting so many DB's and now he has a fast hard hitting and good tackling group that can shut down and/or limit even the best receivers in the League. The key to thier effectiveness is the push that Warren Sapp gets in the middle. If Sapp moves the pocket, then Burgess and company bring the heat on the QB. That leads to more interceptions.

The keys I would look at on defense if I were you would be:

  • Is Warren Sapp getting a push on the middle of the pocket?
  • Where is Huff lined up? I would be blitzing him all day tonight.
  • Where is #56??? Derek Burgess is the MAN!!! Our linebackers are much faster than before so look for a lot of blitzes!!!

I have to say Jerry Porter's stance towards the team in the preseason bothered me a lot, just because I don't think any contracted player should be antagonistic with the team that contracted him. Now he's back, and his trade demands and "detrimental conduct" have been shoved aside. Do you have any read on how Porter's feeling now? What do you expect from him for the rest of the season? How did the Raider Nation feel about Porter before he returned in the Pittsburgh game, and how is it now?
Jerry Porter has a big case of the "Meeees"... His actions have shown that he is one way, and that one way is all about him. I wish this were a rarity in sports nowadays, but it isn't. His actions were not glaringly over the line, but they were out of line with what Art Shell is building here and he was punished for it. Trust me, seeing your #2 and perhaps even #1 receiver sittng for 6 games is not pleasant. But, if Art Shell thought it was best for the team's developement I am all for it.

There are things that go on in the clubhouse, practice facility and behind closed doors that we are not privy to, and those that do witness it are not at liberty to share.

I am glad that he is back with the team. That shows me that he has shown Art Shell something with his attitude. Look out for him this week. S&BP has chosen him as our player of the game!!!

I have to ask this next question because I've always wondered: There's some feeling that Al Davis is regarded with the same universal disdain as owners like George Steinbrenner, perhaps even moreso. My dad likes the Raiders, but as far as I know never liked Al Davis. How is Al Davis thought of within the Raider Nation?
There is a huge rift between Raider fans in regard to Lord Al. Some think he should just step down and let someone else run the show. Others wanted him to be head coach as recently as 4 years ago. Some people are still ticked about his move to LA, while others have forgiven him. The Raiders lost and the Niners gained a huge fanbase when the team left for LA, and not everyone has returned. In fact, a large majority now wear red and gold BECAUSE of Al Davis.

My take on Al is that he has my respect, first and foremost. He turned the Senors into the Raiders that we cheer for today. I like maverick owners that do things thier way. I respect guys who spend their money on their teams and never hate them for it. Heck, if I had the cash, I'D SPEND IT THE SAME WAY!!!

Andrew Walter was, at best, an unknown quantity when he got the starting job at QB. How has his development as a starter been progressing?
Walter was unknown to most, even though he broke John Elway's Pac 10 TD record. The kid has great poise in the pocket and is looking better every week. He is a few dropped passes away from much better numbers.

When your O-Line isn't blocking and your go to guy and tight end are dropping key passes, any QB would have a tough time breaking into the NFL. I am happy with his progress and personally hope that Brooks doesn't take another snap for us this year. And I was high on Brooks to Moss before the season started.

Some questions from other Field Gull fans: What's wrong with your offense?
In short...The offensive line. 4 guys are playing in new positions and they are getting beat A LOT. The team is dead last in sacks allowed in the NFL by a LARGE margin (9 more allowed than #31). Then when the QB has had time, the receivers, especially Moss, have been dropping passes.

Why has Marques Tuiasosopo not played yet???
I know that people in the Pacific Northwest like Tui and so you think he should be given a shot. In all honesty, he barely made the 3rd string this year. In fact, Jeff George was even in the mix for his job.

Do you believe Lamont Jordan is the future RB for your franchise?
I sure hope NOT. I think he is a very versatile back who would be a good 3rd down and long option out of the backfield on pass routes, but I hope that Marshwan Lynch is in silver and black next year.

How is Robert Gallery doing? I heard that he wasn't doing so hot and was being moved around a bit.
I have been impressed with him the last couple of games. he has been outright DOMINANT on a lot of plays. In fact, he is my choice for Player of the Game. Once again, the Nation is split on him as well.

How is Huff doing in his first season, and how do you see him in the future?
He can FLAT OUT HIT!!! This came as no surprise to me. I was high on him coming out of college and I WANTED HIM on the team. I see him being an elite DB for years to come. In fact, I am wearing my Huff Jersey right now!!!

I'm a big fan of Art Shell the player, but I'm not sure about the coach. Is he the guy?
Art was the perfect choice for this team. He is not only the head coach, he IS a RAIDER. He has brought back a hunger and work ethic that this team has lacked for YEARS!!!

I back him completely. The jury is still out on his OC, Tom Walsh, though.

Thanks for the questions, I hope that my answers paint a better picture for you of this franchise than you had before. I'm sure we'll be cross posting tonight!!! Go RRRRAAAAIIIDDDEERRZZZ!!!!!!!!!

Oh Yeah...I use so many punctuation marks because they are free!!! :)