There has been an imposter on the Raiders this year. Physically he is the looks like Raiders corner DeMarcus Van Dyke, but his performance has been inconsistent. The one version shows up big in practice while the other version gets lit up on game day. What we don't know is which Van Dyke is the imposter.
Last week, defensive coordinator Jason Tarver called out Van Dyke's play in the game versus his play in practice.
"DeMarcus, I would really like to see him play like he plays out here, and just play with what we know he can do." Said Tarver. "And he's heard that from me this week, so that's what I'd like to see him do. Play like he plays at practice, because he plays pretty good at practice."
This Statement resonated with the second year corner.
"It's my second year so I can't really talk about what happened in years past." Said Van Dyke. "Coach JT is trying to get us right for the game and he's doing a great job with it right now.
"You know, I've got to pick it up. I'm not satisfied with how I've been playing. I haven't been playing like I thought I was supposed to be. But it's a process, it's game by game, preseason games. So hopefully this game I'll come out and play good.
"I've just got to just go out there and play ball. I'm doing too much thinking I think, and Coach Tarver, he gave me a lot of advice, just telling me to go out there and just play ball. Don't worry about making mistakes, just play like I was the first two weeks of camp... just too much thinking of trying to make a play, just pressing too much I think."
Van Dyke is not a starter so he may escape having to face Calvin Johnson. But then again, he has not faced the number one corners against either the Cowboys or the Cardinals and he still have up quite a few bit catches. The Lions offense offers a threat all its own, even without Megatron pulling down Matt Stafford passes.
"Their offense is pretty up-tempo. They have great receiver, they have a great quarterback, and I'm really excited to see how we do against these guys. They have one of the better receivers and one of the best quarterbacks in the league right now.
Coach Tarver also said on Wednesday that he is not as concerned so much with stats or stopping the opposing offense every time. He prefers a bend but don't break type of approach. As he says "control what you can control." Van Dyke is using that philosophy to try and keep him from getting to down on himself.
"You're going to take some bad, you're going to take some good." Said Van Dyke. "It's how you bounce back from it."
The time to bounce back may be today for DVD. Performing in practice is one thing. But if the guy that shows up for the game doesn't match that production, the team will not be comfortable putting him on the field.
Van Dyke will likely have about one quarter to play in this game and try to instill some confidence in his coaches. If he gets torched again, we may not see him in Silver and Black much longer.