If there is any sense of pride in the Raiders locker room then they’ll treat today’s preseason tangle with the Detroit Lions as a regular season affair. Have we all forgotten how the Lions helped crush the Raiders’ playoff hopes last season? I should certainly hope not considering how recent that was. I would also hope not considering how many of the Silver and Black that will play today also suited up in that pre-Christmas affair.
Now nobody is confusing the result of this game with any sort of reflection on what happened last season. By the time the clock strikes zero this evening many of the players on the field won’t even be in the NFL as of Monday.
However this is the third preseason game which is always the dress rehearsal for the regular season. That means the Oakland defense will get a heavy dose of the offense that ran all over them last season. It also means Carson Palmer and Darren McFadden will get extended playing time to show just what type of production we should expect in 2012.
While the Oakland offense has created the most angst this preseason it’s the defense that will really be under the microscope today. Hopefully Jason Tarver has no designs on letting Rolando McClain cover Calvin Johnson. That ill-fated move helped to put one of the biggest nails in Hue Jackson’s head coaching coffin.
More importantly will be watching the Oakland secondary try to slow the roll of Matthew Stafford and Detroit’s high-powered passing game. Last season the Raiders were sliced and diced through the air by Stafford and company. This time around the Raiders should expect passes-a-plenty as the Lions are without their top two running backs.
All that said the main concern is still the Raiders offense. All eyes will be on Palmer whose preseason play has been more miserable than Jennifer Aniston in an Angelia Jolie movie marathon. Palmer has claimed he’s not concerned with Oakland’s offensive struggles but if things don’t improve today then there will be serious cause for concern.
Even if Run DMC can make it through the regular season without any injury setbacks there is no way this team makes a playoff push without competent quarterback play.
So even if the score doesn’t matter today the effort certainly does. Seeing the Silver and Black play with some preseason pride would be a great way to display Oakland’s culture change. It would also be good to get a win considering the Raiders haven’t won a preseason game in over two years losers of six straight going back to the 0-4 effort of 2011. Again, this is all about pride and for that there is no difference between pre, regular or postseason play.