The Oakland Raiders will host the Detroit Lions in their second preseason game tonight. Last week, the Raiders were stagnant in the preseason opener, but had two intense practices against the Dallas Cowboys this week to light a fire under the team. They will try to carry that momentum and competitive spirit into the Detroit game. Here are some players to watch.
Oakland played three quarterbacks in the preseason opener to varying degrees of success. Matt Schaub was the least successful finishing 3-7 for 21 yards. He should get a few more series to improve this week. There was a clear lack of chemistry between Schaub and the receivers last week, so this week he will have to improve that rhythm. Derek Carr did some nice things in his preseason debut. For him, these games are all about getting comfortable and learning the position as well as the speed of the NFL. Matt McGloin played well against Minnesota and will look to duplicate those results this week.
Latavius Murray was the standout in this group. He played well in the preseason opener and should continue to get serious work this week. He showed that he can carry the ball and catch the ball out of the backfield. Now, he must continue to learn how to pick up the blitz and pass protect. Maurice Jones-Drew and Darren McFadden both looked healthy and spry in the opener. They could get some more work this week against a strong Lions run defense.
This group literally dropped the ball in the opener. Oakland had far too many drops and desperately need to be more focused this week. The first unit wideouts like Andre Holmes, James Jones, and Rod Streater need to find that chemistry with Schaub. This is the time to do that. Denarius Moore and Brice Butler were two players who stood out in a positive way in the opener and will look to build on those performances.
The Raiders have been ravished by injuries here with David Ausberry and Nick Kasa down with knee injuries. Mychal Rivera had two big drops in the opener and needs to play better this week. Brian Leonhardt left some to be desired after his first action of the preseason. This is his opportunity to show his ability, before the Raiders go into free agency.
This group had too many penalties in the opener and need to clean that up. Other than that they did a good job in both protection and run blocking. They are just starting to play as a group and these game go a long way in developing a level of comfort and execution together. Right tackle Menelik Watson is a key to the offensive line.
The Raiders defensive line was able to get pressure last week with six sacks. Seventh-round pick Shelby Harris showed very well with a forced fumble in the first game. Roster bubble guys like Torell Troup and Ryan Robinson both made an impact against Minnesota.
There were too may missed tackles by this group in the first game. Sio Moore has able to stand out because of his ability to generate pressure in the pass rush. First-round pick Khalil Mack got his first NFL action and will have an opportunity to improve this week. Miles Burris showed his versatility playing outside and middle linebacker against Minnesota. Kaelin Burnett played very well as he battles for a roster spot. He made sure tackle and pressure the quarterback in the opener. He is making a push to be on the final roster, but needs to continue his solid play.
This remains the biggest question mark of the defense. They let Matt Cassel throw all over them. Cornerback Tarell Brown was victimized and needs to be far better this week. The Raiders are counting on him as a number one corner. Chimdi Chewka was a standout in the opener, but his battling injury and is questionable for the game. T.J. Carrie is another cornerback trying to translate his ability to make plays to game situations. Seventh-round safety Jonathan Dowling struggled in the opener missing tackles. He needs to play better against Detroit.
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Tags: Darren McFadden, Derek Carr, Detroit Lions, Football, Khalil Mack, Latavius Murray, Matt Schaub, NFL, Oakland, Oakland Raiders, preseason, Sio Moore, T.J. Carrie, Tarell Brown