It’s Chiefs week, and fans have plenty of questions about the Super Bowl champions in this week’s Raiders mailbag.
Black Widow (@BlackWidowR8R): Breakdown of defensive coordinator Paul Guenther’s comments. It seemed unprofessional for him to say in a midweek news conference that he doesn’t know how we’ll beat the Chiefs with the defensive struggles this week.
Vincent Bonsignore: In listening to the comments over the last day or so, it sure seems as if there was some sarcasm and feigned fear in the way Guenther explained things. It drives home the point that if you’re going to do that, you better make sure everyone understands you’re trying to be funny; otherwise, it could be misunderstood and backfire. The bottom line, Guenther understands the Raiders are capable of beating the Chiefs. They did so last month.
I (@MrI3200): Why isn’t Marcus Mariota ever active? He makes $7 million. What if something happens to Derek Carr? Are they just going to go with Nate Peterman instead of Mariota? I don’t understand not having Mariota active every week.
VB: A couple of things: On a short-term, in-game basis, the Raiders are confident Peterman can provide quality play should Carr go down. As a result, for now, they have chosen to use the game-day roster spot Mariota would have taken on another position. Keep in mind Mariota was hurt through camp and the first part of the season, so he is still getting a handle on things.
In a broader sense, should Carr be out for an extended period, that is where Mariota comes into play. That is where the $7 million investment becomes more valuable and understandable. The Raiders will be happy to never see Mariota on the field because that would mean Carr remained healthy. But should Carr get hurt, the Raiders have peace of mind because of the presence of Mariota. That is worth the cost.
Yekaterinburg Island Quasiraiders (@FractionTwo): Is there any player on the market the Raiders should target for secondary help?
VB: With the trade deadline already passed, the options are limited. Short of a surprise release, which would still mean the Raiders having to wait in line behind several other teams in the waiver process, they will roll with what they have.
E-Dog (@TheMooseDog): Do you think the current COVID-19 protocols are doing enough to keep the players, coaching staff and everybody working with the team safe? If not, do you know if they are working on improvements?
VB: From a building standpoint, it appears the Raiders are doing everything they can to ensure a safe working environment, though the mishap with Trent Brown not always wearing his tracing monitor shows there is always room for improvement. With the NFL moving to an even more intense COVID-19 protocol layout for all 32 franchises, it appears as if the league understands the recent rise in positive tests across the country required a more escalated response.
It gets tricky, of course, away from team buildings when players go home. Again, the NFL is prohibiting players from gathering outside the team building under the more intense protocols, so there is an awareness of that. The Raiders, like everyone else, will be well served in doing their best to make sure the out-of-building protocols are being adhered to.
chris g (@MaquoketaChris): Why can’t the Raiders get Henry Ruggs the ball more? Bubble screens, jet sweeps, quick slants. The Chiefs’ Tyreek Hill keeps finding the ball, and teams have known know about him for years.
(VB): Over time, all of those things will happen, and the jet sweeps are already part of the menu. But for now, Ruggs’ primary role is as a long-ball weapon. When he draws favorable matchups, Derek Carr has shown no hesitancy to target him downfield. When he occupies multiple defenders, the Raiders are fine going to other options. Either way, Ruggs is making the desired impact.
Cordell Bradley (@ctheraiderfan): I think the Chiefs know the Raiders aren’t pushovers anymore and are scared. What do you think?
(VB): Scared? Nah. Do they respect them as a worthy opponent now as opposed to the past? No doubt about it. And the Raiders have earned that this season.
LJ (@kansasLJ): Could you provide the COVID-19 rules? Why is Clelin Ferrell technically able to be cleared but unlikely to be? Also, what defines high-risk exposure?
(VB): In rare instances, a player who gets a positive test result on Tuesday off a Monday test is eligible to return on Sunday. But only if the player is asymptomatic and has two consecutive negative test results separated by 24 hours.
As no one is privy to test results after a player who tests positive goes into protocol — that is private medical information — there is no way of knowing right now whether Ferrell is asymptomatic or symptomatic or his subsequent test results. So technically, there is a chance he can return, but it’s unlikely.