Now that the first two preseason games are out of the way the real fun is about to begin. The fans did not really have much to be excited about with the Raiders offense so far this offseason, but that's not something that needs to be worried about just yet.
The injuries to the WR core is far more worrisome than the lack of production. The Raiders need to know that they can rely on their weapons to actually be on the field this year and so far this preseason they have not gotten much reassurance of that from these wide receivers.
We are moving into the time where the Raiders have begun practicing some game planning so I expect to get a better performance out of this offense.
It's a good thing the Raiders will now go against such a good, up and coming defense in the Detroit Lions. The Lions want to disrupt the offense any way they can and that should provide a very real regular season environment for the Raiders' offense.
The defense is going to have their hands full with "Megatron" Calvin Johnson giving the Raiders secondary the scariest weapon in the game to go against. This is a very good preseason opponent which will offer a far better example of what to expect out of the Raiders this season.
Carson Palmer really needs to make better decisions in this game than he has made thus far this preseason. I realize a couple of his bad throws were from just trying to put it out there and see what happens since its preseason, but the fact of the matter is he is not giving the Raider fans much to be excited about. His biggest problem has always been throwing INTs and so far this preseason his aggravating throws have only strengthened his critics views that he will not be able to be successful.
Palmer's lack of production has even started a small QB controversy in some fans' minds (although likely not the minds of the coaches). After the past decade in Oakland if there is one thing that would be nice to finally have, it would be to not have any type of QB controversy. I am sick to death of debating who should be or shouldn't be the signal caller and an impressive game from Carson could put out that budding flame.
As for the people to whom Carson is throwing the ball; it would be good to see someone other than Rod Streater make some plays. Don't get me wrong, I love a good underdog story and Streater has certainly provided that, but for a crew that has as many weapons as the Raiders have, there needs to be more than one noticeable playmaker out there.
Darrius Heyward-Bey specifically needs to show up in this game. Despite the vanilla offense the Raiders have used so far this preseason, I expected to see some more action from DHB. Two catches is just not going to cut it. There will always be people calling for Hey-Bey's head and he is doing nothing to silence those critics right now. With more game planning being involved in the 3rd preseason game I expect to see DHB match and exceed his stats from the previous 2 games. If not, the French revolution "Off With His Head" chants will start to get louder.
Another receiver that needs a solid performance in this game is Juron Criner. He had a great catch that led to a score in the previous game where he played an under thrown ball perfectly for a 26 yard gain. I would be good to see him expand on catch in this game. I believe he is ready to show the coaching staff that he needs to be involved heavily in the offensive game planning this season.
To get the coaches' attention, Criner must show up big in this 3rd preseason game. If he can come out against the Lions and make some nice plays he will have dramatically increased his chances of being on the field consistently in the regular season. I really want to see him show up in a game the way he was showing up in training camp and he really hasn't done that yet. Well, here is that chance Juron, show us that you can dominate. You know Megatron on the other side of the field is going to show up in a big way, so show them you can too.
As for the defense, it would be great to continue the absolutely dominating performance by the defensive line. They completely man handled the Cowboys and Cardinals but Detroit's offensive line is better than both of those teams. If they can get in the backfield and in Matthew Stafford's face the way they did against Arizona, I will officially be PUMPED for what they can do in the regular season. This team needs to win the trenches on both sides, but especially the defensive side as well as provide some pass rush to take pressure off the secondary. All indications are that they will continue their dominance they have shown thus far and I look forward to seeing the quarterback go down and go down hard.
The most important aspect of this game though might just be the secondary. The starters need to come forward in this game. Ron Bartell and Shawntae Spencer have the leg up in the competition and they can solidify it with a good performance in this game. The Lions have some serious weapons in the passing game and are going to give the Raiders all they can handle. Whoever shows up in this game will prove they deserve to start.
A very interesting matchup will be that of DeMarcus Van Dyke against Titus Young. Young is a very quick and shifty route runner which is exactly what DVD has struggled against. DVD has done nothing to impress in the games of this preseason as of yet.
Van Dyke has shown the ability to stay with even the best receivers but that means nothing if you cant make a play on the ball. I am hoping to see improvement in that area in this game and for DVD to get back in the race to be a starter. Extremely optimistic I know, but I have seen some things that I really like about DVD's coverage. Unfortunately those things have been completely overshadowed by his glaring inability to play the ball in the air.
This game is the time to see some serious improvement by the Raiders offense and the chance to solidify some position battles on defense. They need to show more of a finely tuned finished product in this game to give the fans more to cheer about. No more throwing balls up for grabs because it is preseason. We need to see what Carson will do in a real game and hopefully that will mean smarter throws and NO turnovers.
All in all this team needs a lot of improvement and hopefully we will see a noticeable difference between this game and the other two subpar preseason games we have witnessed. The season is coming up quick and they need to be more prepated to compete than what we have seen so far. If we do not see that improvement you can expect to see a lot more pessimism in our comments section here on Silver and Black Pride.