The Oakland Raiders will host the Chicago Bears in the important third preseason game tonight. The third preseason game is referred to as the dress rehearsal for the regular season. For the Raiders, it will be a chance for a prolonged look at the starting offense and defense.
One of the most interesting things to keep an eye out for tonight will be the debut of rookie first round selection DJ Hayden. Hayden has missed significant time this training camp and tonight will be his first live action. Defensive tackle Vance Walker will also suit up for the first time as a Raider along with defensive end Lamaar Houston. The Raiders will be without safety Tyvon Branch, defensive tackle Pat Sims, and cornerback Tracy Porter tonight.
On the offensive side, the Raiders are still searching for left tackle Jared Veldheer's replacement. Alex Barron will get his second chance to show his worth after struggling in the second preseason game against the New Orleans Saints.
Rookie second round tackle Menelik Watson returned to practice this week, but will not play. Quarterback Matt Flynn was under duress most of his playing time last week. He will look to get more help from the offensive line and show Raiders' fans why the coaching staff has tabbed him as the leading candidate to start. Polarizing back-up Terrelle Pryor should get a chance to run with the first team offense as well.
Offensive coordinator Greg Olson called out wide receiver Denarius Moore this week, looking for Moore to step up and consistently perform to his potential. The Raiders are searching for a solid number one target in the passing game and it will be interesting to see how Moore responds. With tight end David Ausberry out for the rest of the preseason, Richard Gordon and Jeron Mastrud will get the opportunity to gain ground in the tight end competition.
Running back Darren McFadden has been unable to show much this preseason by design, but should get a little more work tonight.
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