The Raiders return to practice today with a much brighter disposition. A 45—point victory will put a bounce in any team's step.
But there are still issues that need to be resolved if the Raiders plan on winning two in a row—a feat unaccomplished since 2008.
Jason Campbell or Bruce Gradkowski?
Jason Campbell went from worst to first in a two—week time period, posting a 127.9 QB rating after an abysmal 10.7 rating.
Tom Cable has made it clear that Bruce Gradkowski will be the starter when healthy. What he’s not saying is how much leash Gradkowski will have if things go bad early. The Raiders have no major financial commitment to either quarterback for the future, so any sudden substitutions shouldn’t be a surprise to the team or either quarterback.
If Gradkowski isn’t able to start, this issue will come up again next week. If Campbell has another good game, it would be three solid performances in four weeks. Would that earn Campbell another start against AFC West—leading Kansas City Chiefs?
For this year it’s better to just ride the hot hand and find a spark wherever it is available.
Where will Jared Veldheer line up?
It looks like the Raiders may have found something running to the left side of the line. Guard Robert Gallery and rookie tackle Jared Veldheer cleared wide lanes for Darren McFadden, making the rotation experiment in previous weeks a non—issue.
That is, until Samson Satele was knocked out of the game with a concussion and Veldheer moved to the center position for the rest of the game. Satele’s status remains uncertain for now, but the Raiders could use that Gallery/Veldheer combo together when they face Seattle’s No. 2—ranked run defense.
Where will the catches come from?
Louis Murphy suffered an unknown chest injury Sunday after running into fullback Marcel Reese on the sideline. Profootballtalk.com reported Tuesday that Murphy would miss the game with a bruised lung. There have been no updates from the Raiders or other media sources confirming those claims. (UPDATE: Tom Cable has said that Louis Murphy is doubtful for Sunday's game against the Seahawks with a chest contusion near his lung. I suppose that's close enough to the bruised lung report).
The Raiders will have to get production from its receivers this week as the Seahawks are expected to stack the line to stop McFadden. If Murphy is out, rookie Jacoby Ford will have an increased role this Sunday against the Seahawks.
After a solid showing in Week 2 against the Rams, Darrius Heyward—Bey has been relatively nonexistent in the Raiders offense. If it’s any consolation, Heyward—Bey has already surpassed his reception and yardage totals from last year.
Of all the times for DHB step up, this would be the week.
Where is Chaz Schilens?
The Raiders have kept things under wraps when it comes to Schilens' return. What was a minor surgical procedure has turned into a rehab lasting half the season. Schilens has done some light running but still seems a few weeks away from getting any playing action.
It’s slim pickings in the veteran wide receiver pool, but the Raiders might want to make some calls, especially if Schilens rehab is expected to go beyond the bye week.
Last week's win was an eye—opener to everyone, including the Raiders. The Raiders have graduated from bad team to “inconsistent.” If Oakland doesn’t want to be demoted, they must beat Seattle. Another flop and last week's win will only be considered an anomaly, not a sign of growth.