Skip to main content

Camp Questions, Preseason Answers

The first preseason game could answer questions or it could create new ones and complicate old ones.

There is no way to know what will happen Thursday night in Dallas. More than anything, the coaches want to make it through the preseason without significant injuries.

There are plenty of questions that need to be answered and the coaches will start to answer them Thursday in Dallas.


Who will win the third running back job: Michael Bennett or Rock Cartwright?

Each back has a different style despite similarly small statures. Cartwright being the better special teams player and much more physical. Bennett is a quicker, faster and can get to the edge. This will be a tough call the coaches will have to make. Cartwright is a little more useful as long as McFadden and Bush are carrying the load, but should the third back be pushed into starter duty as it was multiple times last year, Bennett would probably be the back you’d want to have.


Will the return game improve?

The coaches would probably like to get Jacoby Ford, Yamon Figurs, Johnnie Lee Higgins and Cartwright a chance to return one in a game situation. Ford’s a bit banged up and may not play Thursday, leaving the others to have the first opportunity to wow the coaching staff.


What are the Raiders doing with Desmond Bryant and Thomas Howard?

The two ended last season as starters, but have been pushed down the depth chart. At first glance Bryant was pushed aside by Richard Seymour. While Seymour did move inside, he will play the three technique tackle position. This means Tommy Kelly is taking snaps with the first team at Bryant’s position.

Howard was moved from weak-side linebacker to strong-side linebacker last season, with Trevor Scott taking over on the weak side. In the offseason, the Raiders brought in Quentin Groves to play the weak side and Kamerion Wimbley to play the strong side.

Howard’s projected role shifted to nickel linebacker, but during camp that role has been filed by Mike Mitchell relegating Howard to third string duties. Adding insult to injury, Cable has repeatedly put down the work the linebackers did in 2009. Howard is the only current player that started the majority of the games at linebacker last season.

Rumors have been circulating that Howard could be released. It one possibility. It could also be that the Raiders knows exactly the type of player Howard is and are intent on getting Scott, Wimbley, Groves and Mitchell extra work.


Will the offensive line block better?

Robert Gallery is healthy, Samson Satele and Mario Henderson have another year in the system, and Langston Walker appears to have latched on at starting right tackle. Will these men, along with Cooper Carlisle be able to protect Jason Campbell? Can this line get a Raiders running back to 1000 yards?

Watch DeMarcus Ware Thursday night versus Mario Henderson. One of the best players in the NFL could wreck havoc versus a base offense.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Oakland Raiders Swing for the Fences in 2016 NFL Draft

[embed align="center"]http://gty.im/153039819[/embed]
These aren't your daddy's Oakland Raiders or even your younger self's Raiders. If anything, these are your newborn's Raiders or your puppy's Raiders. These are the Raiders we've never seen before.

Indicative of the freshness of the franchise was their 2016 NFL Draft. No longer slave to a high draft pick and desperate needs, the theme of the draft for the Raiders was upside.

It's as if general manager Reggie McKenzie got so used to hitting his draft picks out of the park that he started swinging for the fences. We'll have to wait a couple of years before we know if he struck out or if he'll continue his Ruthian ways.

First, McKenzie boldly went with a safety at No. 14 overall. Kyle Joseph is coming off a torn ACL and fills a major need, but safety isn't a premium position. Only a handful of safeties have been drafted in the first 14 picks in the last 15 years and include names like Earl …

Final 53-Man Roster Prediction

The Oakland Raiders will trim their roster to 53 players today. Expect them to make at least two waiver claims Sunday to address needs at defensive back and on the offensive line. As such, there are a couple guys on this final roster who could be waived on Sunday and could subsequently find their way onto the team's practice squad.

As is, I've included a list of players who are candidates for the practice squad. There is some positional imbalance on the 53-man roster as I expect the Raiders to balance it out with a few waiver claims.

[table id=8 /]

The Raiders aren't who we thought they were....they're better

The Oakland Raiders are tired of being the team that will be good in a year or two. The team expects to win now and it is winning now.

We thought the Raiders needed more talent. We thought that being in the playoff hunt was a year away for this team, but we were wrong. This isn't the team we thought they were, they're better.

On Sunday, they moved to 3-3 on Sunday with a 37-29 win over the San Diego Chargers that wasn't close until the final minute. It was also the Raiders second road win of the season. The last time the Raiders had two road wins by their sixth game was 2011. Before that, a five-year streak from 1998-2002.

The Raiders went 8-8 in 1998, 1999 and 2011 and narrowly missed the playoffs each year.  They made the playoffs in 2000, 2001 and 2002. They didn't have a losing record in any of those seasons because teams that can win on the road are usually pretty good.

As the season matures, there is more and more evidence that some of the "best-case scenarios&q…