The second game of the preseason, reserves and hopefuls see a full half of football. By the time the third game comes around, the roster hopefuls will barely see a quarter. That game is mostly to get the longest look at the starters. Making this the last best chance many of these players have to make an impression.
Here are the players who are teetering on the bubble and therefore in most need of making a statement tonight:
1. George Atkinson III
Yes, the guy who was the highlight reel of the Raiders preseason opener. There is a tendency to overinflate what a player does in the third and fourth quarter of a preseason game. He was certainly a ‘Baller' for his performance, but if he can't repeat that performance, it won't mean much. The competition is too fierce at running back for the Raiders this year. Perhaps they'll give him work against the second team this time to see how he fares.
2. Matt McCants
McCants has hung around with the Raiders the past three seasons. He has played guard and tackle in that time. He is once again squarely on the bubble and his performance in the preseason opener didn't help at all.
3. Vadal Alexander
The team's seventh round pick looks like he's got a spot on this roster. He has worked mostly at guard, but has also stepped out and covered at right tackle at times. He played both positions in college and the Raiders are hoping they can make use of his versatility. He had a good game in the preseason opener. It will be interesting to see if he can keep it going.
4. Johnny Holton
After all the plays he made in camp as a receiver, he didn't show much in the preseason opener. He showed up on special teams mainly; returning a kick for 43 yards and recovering a forced fumble on a return. He will look to show up on offense tonight to ensure he's seen as more than just a camp sensation.
5. KJ Brent
There may not be room for Brent on this roster as currently assembled. His goal tonight will most likely be to show he is worthy of a practice squad spot. He is reminiscent of Rod Streater as a possession type receiver in his 80 jersey.
6. Stacy McGee
Each season since McGee was selected in the sixth round of the 2013 draft has seemed like it could be his last. But he just keeps hanging around. He remains the first off the bench behind the top three of Justin Ellis, Jihad Ward, and Dan Williams, but that spot is shaky at best. There are several other candidates on the roster right now who are vying for his job.
7. Korey Toomer
He stepped up big time in the opener both as a linebacker and special teamer. His biggest play was forcing a fumble on a return. He was also all over the field making tackles on defense. He may just lock himself up a roster spot with a repeat performance.
8. Neiko Thorpe
Last season, Thorpe was the team's nickel corner and was getting playing time ahead of DJ Hayden. The team liked him enough they kept the restricted free agent on a second round tender. With the addition of Sean Smith and Hayden holding his own as a slot corner, Thorpe find himself on the fringe. He had an interception last week, but resting on his laurels is not an option.
9. Dexter McDonald
The biggest threat to Thorpe's roster spot is this man. Last year's seventh round pick has had a pretty good camp. In the opener, he had a few instances of good coverage, but also showed some serious deficiencies that need remedied. He also need to show up on special teams because that's where he will see most of his snaps in the season.
10. Dewey McDonald
Throughout the offseason, while Reggie Nelson and Karl Joseph weren't practicing, Dewey worked with the first team alongside Nate Allen. In camp, with Nelson and Joseph back, Dewey continued working with the second team at safety. In the opener, he was horrendous. He couldn't cover and couldn't tackle, making you wonder what the coaches have been thinking. It is absolutely imperative he have a bounce back game tonight.