5 things to watch in Raiders first preseason game

Updated August 10, 2018 - 11:15 am

OAKLAND, Calif. — There seems little sense Friday in having Derek Carr face the Detroit Lions.

He already did this week.

In a controlled environment, the Raiders quarterback saw a wide range of work Tuesday and Wednesday during the teams’ joint practices. All reps are valuable under coach Jon Gruden’s offense.

Not all are necessary.

With a 7:30 p.m. kickoff, the Raiders and Lions will open their exhibition schedule at the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum. Both teams have core players on their roster. This matchup is about identifying future fixtures.

“You go into the No. 1 preseason game Friday night, and you’re not going to play your starters,” Gruden said Wednesday. “If you do, you’re not going to play them very much, but they got quality reps (in the joint practices). You’re seeing Derek Carr versus Matt Stafford, blitz pickup, nine-on-seven, two-minute drill, move the ball, and it’s as close to the real deal as you’re going to get.

“So you get a lot of work done, and now you taper it off for the first-team guys, and you get a chance to really isolate who you want to see in the preseason game. I think it’s going to be real beneficial.”

Carr was among the nearly dozen starters held out of last year’s exhibition opener.

Here are five things to watch instead.

Sideline procedure

Gruden kept around the league as an ESPN broadcaster. He communicated with myriad coaches, players and personnel executives. He studied film, attended practices and worked games.

This next part is new.

Gruden will return to an NFL sideline for the first time since coaching the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2008. Much has changed in the past decade. He knows that. Tasked with calling plays and managing game situations simultaneously, the preseason is very much about him finding a rhythm before the Sept. 10 opener against the Los Angeles Rams.

“I’ve got some things obviously I’ve got to work out,” Gruden said. “Anticipating situations, communicating with coaches in the press box, the referees on the field, the new rules interpretations. I’ve got to work myself through calling plays again and managing some tough situations, and I’m anxious to see if I can do it.”

A raucous atmosphere is anticipated.

Friday marks Gruden’s first time coaching before the Black Hole since Sept. 26, 2004. He last did so as the Raiders’ coach on Jan. 12, 2002, in a playoff win over the New York Jets.

Wide receiver battle

The Raiders could have a difficult time keeping fewer than six wide receivers on their 53-man roster.

Amari Cooper, Jordy Nelson and Ryan Switzer look to be locks. Martavis Bryant offers a size-speed combination they don’t possess elsewhere. Seth Roberts is fully paid for 2018 and offers versatility. Dwayne Harris and Johnny Holton both are strong special teamers. That’s seven.

And then there’s Marcell Ateman, a rookie seventh-round pick who seemingly makes a play each practice. Keon Hatcher and Isaac Whitney look to build off their developmental 2017 season as undrafted rookies. This year’s undrafted rookie, Saeed Blacknall, has flashed talent, too, as Griff Whalen rounds out the group.

There is no need to see Cooper and Nelson or much of Switzer on Friday. Roberts may not play after missing Wednesday’s practice because he is “sore,” Gruden said. The Raiders have a good sense of where Bryant’s development is.

For the others, it’s time to compete.

Offensive tackle

Here’s one more reason for Carr not to take the field Friday.

The Raiders are pleased with the development of first-round pick Kolton Miller. Even so, he is a rookie left tackle seeing his first NFL game action. On the other side, Ian Silberman isn’t much more experienced. He has played one NFL regular-season game, and that was in 2015 when he saw no offensive snaps against the Minnesota Vikings.

EJ Manuel and Connor Cook can work behind the tackles.

David Sharpe, a 2017 fourth-round pick, and Jylan Ware, a 2017 seventh-rounder, will rotate in. Third-round rookie Brandon Parker was injured during the team’s fourth practice and hasn’t participated in the seven sessions since. Veteran Breno Giacomini also has missed time and figures to sit.

This amounts to plenty of reps for Miller.

Sharpe and Silberman could be competing for one roster spot between them.

Rookie defenders

It’s been a while since the Raiders last had an impactful draft class.

Based on practices, this one could qualify.

SHORT DESCRIPTION (Las Vegas Review-Journal)

Defensive tackle P.J. Hall (second round), defensive end Arden Key (third round) and defensive tackle Maurice Hurst (fifth) all have shown pass-rush ability. Key, in particular, has turned heads in camp. He will take his spin move and bend-the-edge athleticism into a game situation.

Fourth-round cornerback Nick Nelson should see a heavy workload.

Linebacker Jason Cabinda is a sleeper to watch. The undrafted rookie from Penn State will be busy on all special-teams units and has a legitimate shot at making the roster.

Before the game

Gruden is all football.

From that standpoint, this fifth item should be about the competition at cornerback. Or kicker. Or backup quarterback between Cook and Manuel. Or how undrafted rookie Chris Warren, a head-turner in Napa, fares.

But the NFL isn’t all football.

Part of a head coach’s duties is managing situations that don’t exist on practice or game film. That includes sideline protests during the national anthem. And so, right or wrong, there will be attention on how the Raiders handle this in 2018 under Gruden.

Running back Marshawn Lynch sat during the anthem before all 19 games for which he was uniform in 2017, including the preseason.

More Raiders: Follow all of our Raiders coverage online at reviewjournal.com/Raiders and @NFLinVegas on Twitter.

Contact reporter Michael Gehlken at mgehlken@reviewjournal.com. Follow @GehlkenNFL on Twitter.

Raiders Videos
Raiders Win Intense Game Against Steelers - Vegas Nation
The Raiders win against the Pittsburgh Steelers 24-21. Raiders beat writer Michael Gehlken and sports columnist Ed Graney go over the Raiders victory.
Vegas Nation: Raiders sign C.J. Anderson
Raiders beat reporter Michael Gehlken lists the multiple players heading to the injured reserve list, the Raiders signing three new players to the active roster, and the new drills the running backs are running in practice.
Raiders vs Steelers Preview - Vegas Nation Mailbag
The Oakland Raiders will face off against the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday. Vegas Nation Mailbag host Elaine Emerson and sports columnist Ed Graney answer all of Raider Nation's burning questions about the upcoming game.
Vegas Nation: Fumbles plague Raiders in loss to Chiefs
Raiders beat reporter Michael Gehlken goes over Sunday's loss to the Kansas City Chiefs, and highlights the uncertainty of many players returning from their injuries.
Vegas Nation: Raiders Fall To The Kansas City Chiefs
Raiders fall to the Kansas City Chiefs 40-33. Vegas Nation host Cassie Soto, Raiders beat writer Michael Gehlken and sports columnist Ed Graney go over the Raiders loss to the chiefs.
Raiders players reflect on their loss to the Chiefs
Oakland Raiders' players Jordy Nelson, Jared Cook and Doug Martin reflect on what went wrong and talk about their performances in the team's loss to the Kansas City Chiefs.
Gruden, Carr on turnovers that cost the Raiders
Head coach Jon Gruden and quarterback Derek Carr spoke about the team's loss to the Chiefs following the game. The Oakland Raiders fell to 2-10 on the season when they lost to the Kansas City Chiefs at home, 40-33.
Vegas Nation: Leon Hall, others could miss game vs. Chiefs
Raiders beat reporter Michael Gehlken goes over the team's final injury report before their game on Sunday against the Kansas City Chiefs.
Raiders Honor Canyon Springs’ Gus McNair as High School Coach of the Year
The Raiders honor Canyon Springs Head Coach Gus McNair as the 2018 Coach of The Year. The Raiders present a check for $1000 to the school and surprise players with the gift of new cleats. (Kenton King/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Vegas Nation: Kareem Hunt physical altercation video surfaces
Raiders beat reporter Michael Gehlken describes the potential ramifications of the Kareem Hunt video that surfaced on Friday, as well as the Raiders' final injury report before Sunday's game against the Chiefs.
Vegas Nation: Hill poses threat to Townsend, Raiders special teams
Raiders beat reporter Michael Gehlken presents the challenges rookie punter Johnny Townsend could face this Sunday, as he hopes for a bounce back game against one of the most dangerous returners in football: Tyreek Hill.
Vegas Nation Mailbag: Raiders fall to Ravens 34-17
The Raiders fell to 2-9 on the season after losing to the Ravens in Baltimore. Ed Graney and Elaine Emerson discuss the Raiders needs going forward.
Vegas Nation: DeAndre Washington, Raiders promote causes with cleats
Raiders beat reporter Michael Gehlken goes into depth about the NFL's 'My Cause My Cleats" campaign, and the cause running back DeAndre Washington chose for the promotion.
Vegas Nation: Gruden encouraged by rookie tackles
Raiders beat reporter Michael Gehlken examines Sunday's performances of the team's rookie tackles Kolton Miller and Brandon Parker.
Vegas Nation: Raiders Fall To Baltimore Ravens
Raiders beat writer Michael Gehlken and Vegas Nation host Cassie Soto go over the Raiders 34-17 loss to the Baltimore Ravens.
Raiders Players Thanksgiving Dinner Donations
Donald Penn brought the tradition of "spreading the love" for Thanksgiving from Tampa Bay as said by Raiders offensive tackle Kolton Miller. Raiders players were donating turkey dinners to Oakland residents Tuesday night.
Vegas Nation Mailbag: How Will Raiders Perform Against Ravens
Raiders will face the Baltimore Ravens on Sunday and Review-Journal reporter Gilbert Manzano and Elaine Emerson go over what to expect from the game.
Vegas Nation: LaFell moved to IR, Hatcher returns
The Raiders move wide receiver Brandon LaFell to the injured reserve and re-sign preseason standout Keon Hatcher, as Michael Gehlken reports the corresponding moves from Alameda, Calif.
Vegas Nation: Raiders Beat Cardinals 23-21, Earn Second Win of Season
Raiders Kicker Daniel Carlson hit the game winning field goal as time expires to hand the Raiders their first road win of the Season.
Raiders players talk about the team's win over Cardinals
After the team defeated the Arizona Cardinals, 23-21, the Oakland Raiders players spoke about the victory in the locker room.
Gruden, Carr discuss the Raiders 23-21 win
Head coach Jon Gruden and quarterback Derek Carr speak to media after the Oakland Raiders defeat the Arizona Cardinals, 23-21.
Vegas Nation: Nelson, Bryant out vs. Arizona
Raiders beat reporter Michael Gehlken reports that the team will be without wide receivers Jordy Nelson and Martavis Bryant ahead of their game against the Arizona Cardinals on Sunday.
Vegas Nation: Raiders hold indoor walkthrough due to fires
Raiders beat reporter Michael Gehlken reports from smoky Alameda, Calif. as the Raiders move their practice indoors due to the California wildfires.
Las Vegas Raiders Stadium
Las Vegas Raiders Stadium (Raiders)
Vegas Nation: Ateman prepares for NFL debut vs. Cards
Oakland Raiders beat reporter Michael Gehlken explains how Jordy Nelson and Martavis Bryant's injuries could result in seventh round pick Marcell Ateman making his NFL debut this Sunday.
Vegas Nation: Nelson, Bryant injured in loss to Chargers
Raiders beat reporter Michael Gehlken examines the injuries to wide receivers Jordy Nelson and Martavis Bryant.
Vegas Nation: Chargers Overpower Raiders 20-6
Ed Graney and Michael Gehlken discuss The Raiders loss to the Chargers following the California wildfires and mass shooting
Raiders Adopt Student Resource Room At Robert Taylor Elementary School In Henderson
Former Raiders player Leo Gray and Robert Taylor Elementary School principal Kim Basham talk about the new resource room at the school on Sept. 25, 2018 in Henderson, Nevada. (Ron Kantowski/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
More information on design of Raiders' practice facility in Henderson
Officials plan to finish the Raiders' Henderson headquarters by spring 2020. The planned facility would be home to offices, training facilities and 4 1/2 football fields.
Vegas Nation: Raiders fall short in Week 1 to the Rams
Bryan Salmond and Gilbert Manzano are in studio recapping the first game of 2018 for the Oakland Raiders. Michael Gehlken and Ed Graney report from Oakland.
News Headlines
Add Event
Home Front Page Footer Listing
You May Like

You May Like