For the most part the NFL preseason reveals little of how a team will perform in the regular season. Sure, you can pickup on certain tendencies but for the most part what you see prior to the regular season is only a dress rehearsal. At least that logic applies to every preseason game except the third.
The third preseason game is as close to regular season action as you’ll come before the NFL’s opening kick. Teams typically leave their first string in beyond halftime in hopes of getting the roster into a regular season mode.
For the Raiders and their Saturday contest against the Lions that is most certainly the case. Dennis Allen has even gone as far instituting regular season media access to the final training camp days in Napa. Normally media members are allowed to sit through all of the training camp sessions. Instead, starting today, media members will only be allowed to see the warm-ups before practice begins.
That echoes a regular season sense of urgency Allen must be eager to instill in his roster. Thus far the Raiders have looked nothing at all like a team ready for the rigors of the NFL season. So you can understand why Allen would want to up the intensity a bit.
This game will also mark the first time this season the Raiders have prepared for an opponent. An actual game-plan will be in place and let’s hope it fares better than the one utilized against these same Lions a year ago. Who can forget the ill-fated idea of having Rolando McClain covering Calvin Johnson?
No matter what we see Saturday there is every reason to believe we’ll see a different silver and black squad once the regular season is upon us. Hopefully by then the many nagging injuries will have healed enough to have a full complement of talent. More importantly though will be paying attention to the effort and execution on Saturday. That will tell you more than enough about Allen and his troops.