There are some compelling stories/battles to watch tonight.
If Lane is to be taken at his word, and why wouldn't we at this point, "Everything Counts".
Tonight, players like Eric Frampton, Chris Johnson, Hiram Eugene and Marquice Cole will be battling to make the 53 man roster.
Each of them has their own strengths and weaknesses but it will come down to how they play on special teams and how their skill set fits the schemes of their position as well as depth at that position.
Here is a look at three battles that I will be watching closely:
1) Jake Grove vs Jeremy Newberry
Jake Grove's quickness is something that impresses the coaches and that is going directly up against the strength of the immovable force that is Jeremy Newberry.
I feel that Newberry's veteran presence is enough to win him the close battle. If it is as close it seems, performance-wise, then Jeremy should get the nod because the O-Line is pretty young, as far as O-Line's go, and Newberry's All-Pro presence will help during crunch time.
2) Daunte vs McCown
One has to believe that IF Daunte would have been here for the OTAs and he is healthy, which he appears to be, that he would be the hands down starter.
Given the fact that McCown still seems to be ahead of Culpepper in learning the offense, the keys tonight will be IF Daunte can execute the offense quickly and effectively enough to show that he is mentally ready to run the show.
IF Daunte runs the show properly, Josh would have to run through hoops of fire and pass for 4 touchdown and 300 yards in the first quarter to win the job.
I can also see letting Josh start against the Lions, a team that he knows, and giving Daunte another week to learn the offense.
You have to believe that Josh has had Sept 9th circled on his calender from the first day he donned the silver and black.
BJ Ward vs Stu vs Darius
BJ Ward showed me some things I have not seen since the days of Eric Turner against the Rams.
His anticipation in coverage was not perfect, but was light years ahead of Stu's. This is extremely important in any defensive scheme from your free safety, and it is especially important in the Raiders man scheme.
BJ can also lay the wood on players crossing over the middle.
The only TD that the Rams scored was on a drive when BJ was out and Stu was in. Stu may lose his job tonight to either Darius or Ward.
We have not seen enough of Darius on the field to see what he will do in this scheme. All we have is his past, which lane says, "Means Nothing".
Tonight will be a BIG night for Darius. If he comes in and makes some big plays and reads, he may be given the job.
Others who I will watch for are:
Gerard Warren: If he makes the team then we give the Donkeys a 5th Rounder. If we cut him we don't lose a thing.
"Joe" Echemandu: I would like to see him taking some 1st team snaps. I would love it of he started. We already know that LaMont will start on the 9th, so why not give "Joe" a shot tonight?
Mike Williams: This is money time for the former #10 overall pick. he will need to eliminate the drops and continue making great blocks. If he does that he should be a shoe in for the 3rd receiver job.
That's all I have for Now!!! Go Raiders!!!!