Oakland Raiders receiver Juron Criner at 2012 training camp (photo by Levi Damien)
The Raiders second preseason game is coming up in a few hours so it's time to take a look at those players who have the most to prove tonight.
The first game shook out a lot of the position battles and gave us a good indication of some of the talent the Raiders have on this team. Players like Rod Streater showed up big time to prove their worth to this Raiders team. The defensive line also came to play, holding to Cowboys to zero yards rushing through the first quarter. Technically, the Cowboys had three yards but the Raiders gave those yards to them on third and 24.
There were, as always, a few mistakes that need to be cleaned up and those players need to shake those mistakes off and move on.
Criner has had the kind of hype in this year's camp that Denarius Moore had last year. But Moore came out and backed it up on the field. Criner caught one pass in Monday's game. It was the one he dropped that has him having to now prove himself. It is one thing to flash great hands in practice but it that flash disappears in the bright lights of the stadium, it is meaningless. Fans want to see what we have been raving about in camp and OTA's and minicamp before that. And tonight is the night to show it.
Another player who has received rave reviews in camp. He has surprised his coaches as well as Reggie McKenzie with how good he has been. He didn't play in the first preseason game as he was recovering from the neck injury he received in the first week of camp. Now he is set to take the field and prove the Raiders got a steal when they traded for him. Darren McFadden will probably only see 2-3 series and then it is up to Goodson to carry the load for while. Taiwan Jones is still out so this game is when the coaches will get their best look at what Goodson brings to the table.
It may seem odd to have such a veteran on this list. But the Raiders have a new offense and Palmer has to prove he can run it. He threw an interception on the Raiders' first series Monday which is something that has plagued him of late. He has to prove he can not throw interceptions. He is in no danger of losing his starting job if he has a bad performance. But if he can't prove he can run this offense, be efficient, connect with his receivers, and not turn the ball over, he will have a lot more work between tonight and the third preseason game.
Ford has to prove that last week's performance was an aberration. He had one of his worst games as a Raiders last week. In just a quarter of work, he dropped two passes, didn't do Palmer any favors on the interception, and bobbled a punt. He has to show that he cares about how terrible he played. That means getting back to the basics or hard work and focus. He looked complacent out there. That may not be the case but until proven otherwise, what are we supposed to think?
Demarcus Van Dyke
After showing up big time in camp the first week, he looked terrible in the first preseason game. Which DVD is going to show up this week? If it isn't the first-week-of-camp DVD, he could be in a bit of danger as far as his roster spot is concerned. Pat Lee has been outplaying him and Lee also contributes on special teams. So does Bryan McCann. If Van Dyke can't outshine those two, the team will not choose him over them.