Raiders Twitter mailbag

June, 30, 2014
Jun 30
9:00
AM ET
Time for our weekly dose of a Raiders Twitter mailbag ...

@PGutierrezESPN: Yes, the Raiders rebuilt their offensive and defensive lines and added depth to their offensive and defensive backfields while strengthening the linebacker corps and acquiring new quarterbacks. So what's left? Think pass-catchers and game-changers. Dennis Allen has entertained questions about his tight ends and wide receivers the most this offseason, and the way the coach put it spoke volumes -- when asked specifically about tight ends, he compared it to sitting on Santa's lap and not getting quite everything you asked for.

@PGutierrezESPN To quote Lloyd Christmas from "Dumb and Dumber," the Raiders like Rivera, "a lot." They'd like him even more were he a few inches taller than his listed 6-foot-3. He did, after all, catch 38 passes, which was third-most on the team, for 407 yards and four touchdowns as a rookie last season. But is Rivera currently the No. 1 tight end on the depth chart? Tough to say, especially since Allen claimed during organized team activities (OTAs) there was no depth chart. Still, in observing the open-to-the-media practices and reading between the lines of Allen's pressers, it would seem that David Ausberry, whose shoulder injury is now healed, was the leading tight end in the offseason workouts.

@PGutierrezESPN: Tough one. I liked 'em all, even if cheesy "Rocky V" nearly ended the franchise. Of course, I'd defer to the resident Rocky expert in my house, @AmyGGiants. Then again, former Raiders linebacker @TheCarlWeathers might have the best answer, right? Hey, he was Apollo Creed himself. And yes (book plug coming), I talked to him for my upcoming tome "100 Things Raiders Fans Should Know & Do Before They Die," which has a release date of Sept. 1. Thanks for asking.

@PGutierrezESPN: I hear you. In fact, I talked a little about this very subject last week. The personnel just might dictate that type of a base defense, with either Miles Burris or Sio Moore moving inside with Nick Roach, and the other guy staying outside, with rookie Khalil Mack. Plus, there's LaMarr Woodley, a career outside linebacker in a 3-4 defense now making the switch to right defensive end in a 4-3, which he last played in college. Whether it's the base defense or not, I think we'll be seeing a lot of those types of looks.

@PGutierrezESPN: There has been no shortage of guys actually claiming to be the logo. Howie Long recently told me that his wife suggested the guy on the helmet with the granite-like chin looked just like him. I've also been told that Dick Romanski, the longtime former team equipment manager, insisted he was the model for the eyepatch-wearing pirate that Al Davis instituted when he came to the Raiders in 1963. The Los Angeles Times wrote that actor Randolph Scott was believed to be the inspiration. I'll be sure to ask Mark Davis about it.

@PGutierrezESPN: Absolutely. Even with the toughest schedule in the NFL. Probably more realistically, I can see them finishing 5-11. Still, games are won and lost in the trenches, and that is where teams are built. And the Raiders, on paper at least, upgraded both lines. I think the Denver Broncos improved themselves, but I think the San Diego Chargers may have stayed pat and the Kansas City Chiefs might have taken a step back. We'll see, but the Raiders do have reason for optimism. Unless they don't. Get it?

@PGutierrezESPN: Oh, wow. Too soon to even contemplate, methinks. Though I do know this: Reggie McKenzie does like to scan the waiver wire and strike that way, too. But again, the fact that Oakland did not publicly kick the tires on Brandon Flowers tells me they believe D.J. Hayden is going to be fine come training camp, even if he is behind after missing two OTA sessions and minicamp with that sprained ankle.

@PGutierrezESPN: An 0-5 start? Some have already theorized that an 0-4 beginning might warrant the Raiders leaving Allen in London -- especially if Oakland looks bad, sluggish and not competitive -- and that Tony Sparano, he of the two-year contract extension, would be fitted as the interim coach. Not a pleasant picture.

@PGutierrezESPN: Rod Streater has been impressive, no doubt. But I get the feeling that the Raiders like the experience that James Jones brings from the Green Bay Packers, so that would most likely make him a No. 1-type receiver. And with Streater having a similar possession skill set like Jones does, Denarius Moore might actually be the No. 2, if we're using labels. Streater, though, is younger and bigger than Jones, who sprained a shoulder in minicamp, so I could see Streater, who caught a team-high 60 passes and was a mere 112 yards away from a 1,000-yard receiving season last year, being No. 1. Again, if we're using labels on a unit that figures to be more of a committee. 

Paul Gutierrez

ESPN San Francisco 49ers reporter

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