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Inside the Enemy Huddle: A Chat with Chris Hansen of Raidersblog

Leading up to this weeks game, my colleagues have talked matchups in this weeks game Dolphins versus and Raiders.  

Recently, I had the privilege and opportunity to hear from one of the bloggers that covers the Raiders for Bleacher Report and Raidersblog.  His name is Chris Hansen and has been blogging about the Raiders for many years.

Chris was kind enough to share with us his opinions of the team that he enjoys and covers, so I asked him the following questions:

I found all of his answers quite revealing about both the Dolphins and the Raiders from positions, Tannehill’s progress, and the head coaching battle on Sunday.

1.) What is the greatest strength position-wise of the Raiders?  Is it the defensive line, corners or is it the quarterback or running back?

I think as a unit, the defensive line is a strength of the Raiders. Unfortunately the Raiders don’t have much of a speed rush coming from the defensive end position. Darren McFadden is extremely dynamic and is probably the greatest asset the Raiders have on offense or defense. McFadden just changes the game in so many ways and he does everything well from running, to catching passes to blocking. 
Carson Palmer isn’t elite, but he’s a good quarterback. He’s certainly not as bad as some in the media have made him out to be. When Palmer is avoiding mistakes, he’s surprisingly effective. Unfortunately making mistakes is something he has done a lot of over his career.

2.) What kind of an edge do the Raiders have at Wide Receiver versus the Dolphins corners?  Does Carson Palmer have an awesome day due to the Vontae Davis not being there?

The Raiders certainly have some advantage if Denarius Moore is playing at 100 percent, but Oakland’s passing game is more effective when the running game is effective. Palmer should have a good day against the Dolphins, but more because McFadden will be grinding out tough yardage and the Raiders will be able to set up the passing game from that.
McFadden is a weapon in the passing game and so is fullback Marcel Reece and combined they could really do some damage against the Miami. I expect McFadden to get more carries than he did on Monday night and Reece to be more involved in the passing game.

3.)  Based on the Raiders history, which we know has not shown a great track record of drafting 1st round quarterbacks: What advice do you have for Dolfans who have witnessed one game from Ryan Tannehill and yet are expecting greatness?

Be patient. Rome was not built in a day and neither are good quarterbacks. The most important characteristic is not the ones you would think. If you want examples of what doesn’t work take a look at the failures. JaMarcus Russell didn’t have the work ethic and countless others lose their confidence because they don’t have early success. There’s a fine line between success and failure and most of these guys have the physical talent to be successful.  It takes the right situation and the right mental makeup. Look at Alex Smith in San Francisco. He was left for dead by the fans and the damage done in his early years may have ultimately limited his development. It’s hard to be patient as a fan, but the reality is you need to give a rookie quarterback two full year and even into his third year before you can make any determinations about him.

4.) Lastly, both teams are coming off of a loss and both teams feature a new head coach.  What team has the edge in coaching?

Raiders general manager Reggie McKenzie was the director or player personnel in Green Bay where Joe Philbin coached for eight years prior to becoming head coach in Miami. When McKenzie went looking for head coaching candidates he didn’t interview Philbin. I don’t know why he didn’t interview Philbin and I don’t think he would have survived in Green Bay for so long if he was a bad coach or gotten a head coaching position if he was a bad coach, but McKenzie saw something he liked in Dennis Allen.  I’d call it a draw. I think Philbin is a very good coach and I think Allen could be a rising star and it will come down the the players on Sunday. 

We definitely appreciate and thank Chris Hansen for his time and insight on the Raiders this week!

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