Answering Your Raiders, NFL Questions

Sports Illustrated's Raider Maven Publisher Hondo S. Carpenter answers the Silver and Black fans' questions each week in our weekly mailbag.

Henderson, Nev.--There is no fan base in the National Football League hungrier for information on their team than the Raider Nation. That is why each week, we offer a buffet of Silver and Black information as we answer your questions and emails as it pertains to the Las Vegas Raiders.

Hondo, I wanted to take a moment and thank you for talking me off the ledge after the Raiders loss. I always appreciate your honest analysis and straightforward style. --Karen S.

Thank you, Karen. I am not a cheerleader or critic; I am a truth teller, trying to give the facts.

Hondo, do you believe that Jon Gruden lost the locker room for his email 10 years ago? I hear so many rumors; I trust you. --Dan Diaz

Thank you for that trust, Dan. Let me say that in talking to players on and off the record, I do not. They publicly have supported him and privately made it clear that they haven't seen any racist behavior by him. That is all I can go on.

Hondo, any idea how the defense graded out after the game? --Steve L.

I thought they played pretty well. Not perfect, but no one is perfect in the National Football League. Liz M.

I asked Gruden about them, and he said, "I think the defense played hard. They did some really good things. We struggled in the first half. We couldn't get the ball. I think we only had 25 snaps in the first half. We played better in the second half. We made some mistakes early in the football game defensively, but we are still looking for a turnover. We have got to get some field position established. We are playing hard, doing some good things and there are some individual efforts that are just outstanding, but it wasn't enough today. You have to win all three phases, and we didn't do that today."

Hondo, could you please ask Derek what he thought was the reason for a bad start again this week? I know you asked him after the loss to the Chargers; I would like to hear what he says now. Thank you for all you do. --Richard G.

I asked, and here is what he said, "Honestly, we didn't have a bad week. Practice was good, probably not perfect. But that happens, I mean, I've had practice situations where I've said 'Gosh dang I wish I hit that pass or that pass.' And you go on and throw for 400. I'm like, 'OK, I'm glad that it worked out, right.' I don't think that practice was off. I don't think anyone's mindset was off. Honestly, as a team our focus inside the building was …we just had a heartbreak on Monday night. We had a short week, we have to get ready to play, and so our mindset going into it, we weren't thinking about anything else or anything like that. We didn't play good enough. That out there, that isn't going to cut it. What we put out there today in the last however many days, that isn't going to cut it and that's not going to win any football games. So we have to get back to work, and we got to get ready to go."

Hondo, as a Raider fan, I was embarrassed by our loss to the Chicago Bears. They came into our house, had no respect for us, and treated us like wimps. Pathetic. --F.R.

Not sure where your information came from, but the Bears Matt Nagy said after the game, "A lot of credit to [Las Vegas] I think what kind of football team they are. And its just one of those black and blue games."

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