Raiders: 10 Questions Entering the Regular Season
1. Can Darren McFadden stay healthy?
That’s the million-dollar question. For McFadden, quite literally. The Raiders running back has immense potential, but he’s been hurt in his five NFL seasons. If he can’t stay healthy and productive entering a contract year, the team will gladly reward him in kind. -- Scott Bair
2. Is Terrelle Pryor a franchise quarterback?
The Raiders sure hope so. They haven’t had stability under center since Rich Gannon roughly a decade ago. Pryor shows promise, yet remains a great distance from realizing his vast potential. The Raiders hope he can be the guy to speed up a long-term rebuilding project. -- Scott Bair
3. Is Dennis Allen on the hot seat?
He shouldn’t be. A coach can only maximize his talent, and the Raiders don’t have much. He deserves more than two seasons to mold this group, unless the Raiders tank and Allen’s players quit on him and the season. -- Scott Bair
4. Can the Raiders protect the passer?
It’s a prospect rendered difficult with the loss of left tackle Jared Veldheer. They have youth at both guard spots and an inconsistent presence in right tackle Khalif Barnes (pictured). Although Pryor’s able to run for his life, a quarterback needs time to work for an offense to function. If rookie Menelik Watson lives up to the hype and Veldheer can return around midseason, the Raiders should be much better in the second half. -- Scott Bair
5. Who will bring the heat?
Lamarr Houston is the Raiders' only established full-time pass rusher. He’ll see plenty of double teams if others don’t contribute, so he needs help from end Jason Hunter, linebacker Sio Moore (pictured) and coordinator Jason Tarver’s creative play calling. Even a secondary as complete as the Raiders’ can only cover so long. -- Scott Bair
6. Who is the No. 1 receiver?
The Raiders don’t have one. Denarius Moore (17) has the talent, but lacks the consistency worthy of the title. The receivers must be reliable without a go-to guy, and young players Rod Streater, Brice Butler (19) and the oft-injured Jacoby Ford must all contribute for the passing game to function. -- Scott Bair
7. Can the Raiders execute Greg Olson’s gap-control blocking scheme?
Offensive linemen like the new run-blocking concepts over last season’s failed foray into zone blocking. McFadden likes it too. The Raiders lack consistent power at guard – a pivotal position in this scheme – and Veldheer on the outside, which is cause for concern. The preseason provided few clues, with the line in flux and McFadden rarely active. It should improve results, but time will tell if the new scheme fits the Raiders personnel. -- Scott Bair
8. Will D.J. Hayden have an immediate impact?
The first-round draft pick missed the first offseason program with health issues and was finally cleared for contact in training camp’s third week. The Raiders still hope Hayden can catch up, contribute right away and start in no time. -- Scott Bair
9. Who’s going to play tight end?
In short, several guys. David Ausberry is the most versatile talent, but he missed much of the preseason with a shoulder injury. Jeron Mastrud (pictured) will be the primary blocker, with rookie Mychal Rivera fitting in as a receiver on passing downs. -- Scott Bair
10. How will Oakland stop the run?
They need to play as a team and set a better edge to keep running backs inside. If they can do that, nose tackle Pat Sims will create havoc. The run stopper is a strong addition to the defense, but can only work in his area. Middle linebacker Nick Roach (pictured) must also play an integral role by slowing backs who sneak through the line. -- Scott Bair