I had the opportunity recently to pose a few questions to the NFL analysis specialists over at Football Outsiders to get their perspective on some Raider related subjects. The guys over at FO just put out their 2013 Football Almanac in preparation for the NFL season to begin so it seemed the perfect time.
Here is how the conversation went.
Question: How do you see Vance Walker and Pat Sims as replacements for Richard Seymour/Desmond Bryant and Tommy Kelly?
Football Outsiders: Walker and Sims offer less power but, at this stage of everyone's career, better quickness. Overall, a slight downgrade, but not when factoring in salary cost.
Q: The Raiders guards this season - Tony Bergstrom and Mike Brisiel -- are supposedly more suited for the zone blocking scheme while the Raiders are switching to the power blocking scheme. Is that how you see them and does it really matter?
FO: That is how I see them, Brisiel especially.
Q: What did you see as the biggest issue the Raiders' offense had last season? What caused the problem?
FO: The run game was not great, but more than that, the wide receivers' inability to beat man coverage. That put a very low ceiling on everything the Raiders could do. They didn't even attempt to spread and throw in certain situations because they didn't have the wideouts for it.
Q: Based on Charles Woodson's partial season at safety last season for the Packers, how much of an impact do you see him making at free safety this season?
FO: A huge impact, potentially. He has the versatility and high football IQ to give great dimension to this multifaceted defense. He's a perfect scheme fit.
Q: What are your thoughts on Matt Flynn? Could he be a starter in this league or was he more a product of the system in Green Bay much the same as guys like Kevin Kolb in Philadelphia or Matt Cassel in New England?
FO: Flynn is more Kolb/Cassel than a potential breakout star, but he's probably more Kolb in Philadelphia/Cassel in New England than he is Kolb in Arizona/Cassel in Kansas City, especially if the Raiders can eventually improve the talent around him. No quarterback who has ever had a single game as good as the one he had in Week 17 of 2011 has turned into anything less than a solid, league-average starter. That being said, there's a reason he wasn't drafted until the seventh round and there's a reason he hasn't gotten a closer look as a starter before.
To purchase the 2013 Football Outsiders Almanac, click here.