This week, we exchanged questions and answers with Chris McClain, a lead writer Silver and Black Report, Oakland's affiliate on the Scout network.
Here are my questions and his answers:
1. Three games into the preseason, how has the young quarterback Derek Carr acclimated to the new offense and flashy new star receiver Amari Cooper?
Second-year quarterback Derek Carr has progressed nicely throughout this offseason, despite a rough outing last Sunday night against the Arizona Cardinals defense. Carr is an extremely confident kid that is always the first one in and the last one out, as cliche as it may sound.
New offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave is building the offense around Carr's strengths, including much more shotgun snaps and more hurry-up, which Carr did a lot of during his collegiate career at Fresno State.
Carr will benefit even more this season with a stronger corps of weapons around him, including Amari Cooper. Cooper has shown throughout the offseason why the Raiders took him with the fourth-overall pick. His footwork is phenomenal, as well as his hands. Carr and Cooper have built a nice connection that will continue to grow as the season progresses.
2. Speaking of the offense, veteran offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave had some glowing comments on running back Latavius Murray. Were the compliments just coach speak or do the Raiders have a breakout candidate at running back too?
The comments seem to be much more than coach speak, if you ask me. Murray has been building on his solid end to last season. He has shown great patience in finding the hole, and uses a solid burst to break through.
The toughest part will be how well the offensive line is able to block for him, especially the right side. The Raiders faced a tough battle last week in the Cardinals defensive line, and ti showed. I do think that Murray will be a solid back for the Raiders this year.
3. Khalil Mack is the defender everyone is gushing over (and for good reason) but who are some other young standouts on that side of the ball that Oakland fans are excited about?
There's no doubt that the Raiders and everyone should be excited about Khalil Mack, but for the first time in awhile the Raiders finally have some young defenders in their corps to build around.
Second-year cornerback TJ Carrie continues to grow and has turned into a very talented corner. On top of Carrie, Keith McGill has developed greatly over the last year and is tall and lanky, much like Ken Norton, Jr. saw in Seattle as you know.
Defensive lineman Denico Autry, Shelby Harris and Justin Ellis have also been great assets to the Raiders. Autry started in place of Justin Tuck last week and was phenomenal with three balls batted down at the line of scrimmage, and multiple pressures. Ellis has seen significant playing time and is starting alongside Dan Williams, clogging up the middle. Harris was on the practice squad last season but has shown his development in preseason this year and has multiple sacks already.
In the linebacker corps, fifth-round pick Ben Heeney has been making a name for himself this offseason. The short linebacker has been using his speed to fly around the field. He has often found himself in the right place and has quickly erased the narrative of missed tackles that he earned in college.
Again, much thanks to Chris McClain and Silver and Black Report for their contribution.