By Joe Hawkes-Beamon
Sports Radio Service Writer
AP photo: Oakland Raiders quarterback Derek Carr gets a satisfactory moment last Sunday at the Oakland Coliseum against the Atlanta Falcons only to lose 35-28. Carr and the Raiders are preparing for the Tennessee Titans next Sunday
OAKLAND, Calif — Will the real Oakland Raiders please stand up?
Will the Raiders team that pulled out a dramatic 35-34 come-from-behind victory in New Orleans in Week 1 show up Sunday in Tennessee against the Titans? Or the one that followed up a great win with a head-scratching 35-28 home loss to the Atlanta Falcons that saw the Raiders (1-1) be brought back down to earth?
I know that is a lot of questions, but seriously, the Oakland Raiders have plenty of questions to answer, most notably the lackluster play of the defense, a unit that has surrendered more than 1,000 yards in two games this season.
During the fourth quarter of Sunday’s loss, head coach Jack Del Rio took over play calling from defensive coordinator Ken Norton. Del Rio mentioned that there will be changes coming and those changes will happen soon, which makes the seat under Norton a little warmer.
Oakland has a chance to flex some muscle against the Titans Sunday, which they hope can re-energize the team with getting a win
The Raiders travel to Music City to take on a Titans (1-1) that has shown promise early in the season, but has only managed to score just 16 points in two games.
Tennessee quarterback Marcus Mariota leads an offense with capable play-makers in tight end Delanie Walker, running backs DeMarco Murray and rookie Derrick Henry, and rookie wide receiver, Tajae Sharpe.
Mariota proved that he has grown up in the NFL in Year 2, especially in the fourth quarter tossing two touchdowns in the final frame in the Titans’ 16-15 win last week in Detroit.
Mariota showed confidence and poise, leading the Titans on a 13-play, 83-yard drive, that culminated in a 9-yard touchdown pass from Mariota to the veteran wide receiver Andre Johnson with Mariota completed all nine of his passes for 74 yards on the Titans’ game-winning drive.
Walker, the Titans’ skilled tight, must be licking his chops as he should figure into the passing game heavily, as the Raiders allowed Falcon tight ends to record 10 catches and 180 last week.
But as much as Oakland has been torched by the opposition’s passing game this season, the Raiders must contend with a Titans’ running game that gave the team problems during Tennessee’s 27-14 victory over the Raiders in Oakland during the preseason.
Both Murray and Henry combined for 20 carries for 89 yards and two touchdowns, and found huge holes in the Raiders’ defensive front.
Oakland is looking for another win in Nashville, rallying to beat the Titans 24-21 on Nov. 30, 2015 as quarterback Derek Carr found wide receiver Seth Roberts for the game-winning score late in the fourth quarter.
For the season, Carr has thrown for 618 yards and four touchdowns with no interceptions, while second-year wide receiver Amari Cooper leads Oakland with 208 yards receiving.