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October 29, 2014 at 11:14 PM

Five Questions, Five Answers: Oakland Raiders

 We’re back with another edition of Five Questions. Five Answers, this week focusing on Seattle’s opponent Sunday, the Oakland Raiders.
Answering our questions this week is Jerry McDonald, who covers the Raiders for the Bay Area News Group. You can follow McDonald on Twitter at @Jerrymcd.
Q1. How has Derek Carr performed so far?

A. Carr has had a solid rookie season in terms of avoiding interceptions and a quick release to avoid sacks. He has only led the Raiders into the red zone 11 times in seven games, however. That’s not all on him. The running game and receivers have been inconsistent.
Q2. The Raiders had low expectations going into the season. Still, is the 0-7 record surprising in any way?
A. The expectations may have been low nationally, but with veteran additions with history of winning, the hope was .500 and beyond. The first sign of trouble was their “bridge” quarterback, Matt Schaub, was beaten out by Carr. Through this part of the schedule, even those who didn’t expect the Raiders to be contenders probably had them figured for at least two wins.
Q3. How has the team responded to the coaching change. Any difference in any way?
A. Under Dennis Allen, a 30-14 loss to Houston and a 34-14 loss to Miami in London were games where the Raiders were flat and basically were no-shows. That hasn’t happened in the three games under Tony Sparano. They’re competing better, playing harder, staying in games.
Q4. What has Benson Mayowa’s role been? Looks like he had a good game against Cleveland.
A. Mayowa has probably been the Raiders’ most pleasant surprise in the last two weeks. The Raiders liked his pass rushing skill, and there is some of that, but he’s set the edge in the running game and last week chased down wide out Taylor Gabriel from behind on a 48-yard quick screen _ a remarkable hustle play that showed off his athleticism.
Q5. Finally, is there any way the Raiders can win this one?
A. Seems unlikely, but it can happen only if the Raiders can get a play or two that they haven’t gotten in the last three weeks. Carlos Rogers dropped a potential pick-six that could have turned around the Browns game, for instance. Having only scored more than 14 points once, the Raiders need a defensive or special teams touchdown and a solid defensive effort to have a shot.

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