We’re just hours away from the opening kick at Candlestick. For many Raiders today’s game is going to be pivotal in their chances of earning an increased role or simply making the cut. These preseason games have a very different feel thanks to the lockout. Normally teams would have had more opportunities to evaluate talent during the OTAs leading up to camp. Instead training camp and the preseason games themselves have become the only chances for guys like Derek Hagan to show what they’ve got.
Here are a few things to lookout for this evening.
- Hagan is in the middle of one of the most compelling battles coming out of Napa. Injuries in the receiving corps have created a potential roster spot. Shaun Bodiford, Chad Jackson and the aforementioned Hagan are all in the mix for a spot on the 53-man
- David Ausberry can be thankful the Raiders didn’t keep him at receiver. If he were still lining up out wide the former Trojan would be in the middle of the receiver scrum. Instead Ausberry is making a smooth transition to tight end and his chances of making the active roster are looking better by the day.
- If you want to learn a little more about the Niners before the opening kick then take a moment to read yesterday’s post in which I tossed a few questions at Eric Melendez of Niner Noise. For good measure I answered a few of his questions about the Raiders.
- Al Saunders has plenty of pressure on him this year. Aside from the pressure of returning to coach for the team he was a ball boy for, Saunders has got to get Oakland’s passing game on par with the running game. Tonight we’ll get a longer look at Jason Campbell and the aerial assault.
- While there’s a battle going on for a roster spot in the receiving corps there’s a war being waged in the trenches for starting jobs. Much to the linking of Al Davis, Bruce Campbell is slated to make his preseason debut tonight.
- Since we’re already talking O-line it bears mentioning that Samson Satele will play tonight despite suffering a slight “nick” in camp this week. If Hue Jackson opts to give Satele a short night then we’ll get our first extended look at Stefen Wisniewski at center.
- DeMarcus Van Dyke got a cold introduction to the NFL by having to defend Larry Fitzgerald last week. While he won’t see anyone in the same galaxy as Fitzgerald tonight he’s got a new challenge as DVD gets the nod as a starter.
- The job of being Jason Campbell’s backup is very much up for grabs. Both Kyle Boller and Trent Edwards played well last week. Tonight one of the two has got to take a step forward. Coach Jackson is in no rush to define all the roles on his team but with camp winding down there are only so many reps remaining for the QBs.
- We didn’t see much of the first team defense last week. That will not be the case tonight. While the defensive line is clearly the strength of the unit, the line backers are an area to keep an eye on. Quentin Groves is still holding onto his job on the weak-side but just barely. The versatile Travis Goethel has a chance to work his way up the depth chart with a strong showing.
Topics: Al Davis, Al Saunders, Battle Of The Bay, Bruce Campbell, Chad Jackson, David Ausberry, DeMarcus Van Dyke, Derek Hagan, Hue Jackson, Jason Campbell, Kyle Boller, Larry Fitzgerald, Quentin Groves, Samson Satele, Shaun Bodiford, Stefen Wisniewski, Travis Goethel, Trent Edwards