Inside Enemy Territory is a feature where I ask a blogger for the Patriots’ upcoming opponent five questions about their team and the upcoming game. This week, the Patriots travel out to the west coast to play the Oakland Raiders. The Patriots are trying to bounce back from a disheartening loss against the Buffalo Bills in which Tom Brady threw 4 picks and the defense couldn’t stop traffic. I contacted Chris Shellcroft from Just Blog Baby, an Oakland Raiders blog, to get his insight on the Raiders. Chris runs a great site and as you’ll see, has a great sense of humor. Chris also asked me five questions about the Patriots, which you can read HERE.
Here’s our Q&A…
1. How big of a role does Al Davis still play in the organization? Is he more of a figurehead at this point?
"Like all things with the Raiders how big a role Mr. Davis has these days is a mystery. His philosophies are still very much alive and aren’t going anywhere. Of course that is going to be a part of pro football for a long time, just ask Bill Belichick about that.However it doesn’t take an MD to know Al’s better days are behind him. He’s not in practice much anymore and he doesn’t travel to every game any longer. No doubt the major decisions – like promoting Hue Jackson – are his doing ultimately. But gone are the days of Davis being knee deep in all things Silver and Black. His finger prints will always be all over the franchise with his son in waiting. But the truth is Mr. Davis just doesn’t have the energy to be everything to the franchise any longer."
2. How are Raiders fans liking Richard Seymour? Are they as happy to have him as Patriots fans are upset to not have him?
"Raider Nation loves Richard Seymour. Unlike Rex Ryan, Seymour brings that true championship swagger. Before his first game in silver and black he called his shot and went out and sacked cry baby Philip Rivers…twice. Nnamdi Asomugha is a great defender but never stepped up as a leader. From day one Seymour has been the voice in the locker room and his been a big part of resurrecting the Raider Way. He expects to win every week and demands that of every man in a Raider jersey. Not saying its going to happen soon but you can’t win a title without guys like Seymour. Belichick had to make a business decision so that extra chip on Seymour’s shoulder is always present.Gotta love a guy who has done it all acting like he’s still got something to prove."
3. Is the Tuck Rule really still that big of a deal in Oakland?
"I’ll be totally honest with you. It’s still hard for me to talk about this. No matter how many years pass the same feeling remains. I can’t speak for every member of Raider Nation but it is not unusual to see blackedout trucks rolling around with “F*&% the Tuck”stickers underneath Raiders logos. Ok…can we stop the interview? I need a moment…Sorry…I said I wasn’t going to do this…Talk amongst yourselves…Lady Gaga is neither a lady nor does she make anybody go gaga…discuss…Ok…I’m good."
4. The Raiders can really run the ball, but the Patriots really can’t stop the pass. Do you think the Raiders will try and exploit an obvious weakness or will they stay true to form and try pounding the ball?
"What is true in life is true in the NFL. You’ve got to be you. With a weapon like Darren McFadden running behind a bullying O-line it would be foolish not to stick to what has worked. Mix in Michael Bush and get shifty rookie Taiwan Jones a few touches and the running game has the ability to gain yards in chunks like a good passing game. Still, another rule of NFL success is to exploit every advantage. Oakland’s passing game isn’t great but Jason Campbell is playing flawless football thus far so it stands to reason giving him a few extra opportunities would be wise."
5. Patriots fans have gotten to know the names of opposing receivers quite well. If there’s one receiver on the Raiders who could have a big game against the Patriots, who will it be and why?
"Without a doubt the man that is making everyone take notice is rookie receiver Denarius Moore. He’s been tearing it up since training camp so his week two coming out party in Buffalo felt like it was one week overdue. As a 5th round pick Moore is already making a strong case for the biggest steal plus he’s still only getting his feet wet. Just wait until Hue Jackson let’s him take a dip in the deep end. Moore is one of those guys that you just have to get the ball to in as many ways possible. After one week of camp Jason Campbell was comparing Moore to another gem unearthed by the Raider scouting department – Jacoby Ford. However Moore is doing his damage early in the season whereas Ford took a little longer to get his chance."