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For second year in a row Raiders unable to work on game plan in crucial third preseason game due to facing regular season opponent

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This week the Raiders are preparing to face the Dallas Cowboys who they will also face in the regular season.

Usually the third preseason game is the one in which teams start actually game planning for the opponent. That will change for the Raiders this week as they head to Dallas for their third preseason game.

One reason behind the lack of game planning is because they have the Cowboys on the schedule during the regular season. It isn’t smart to trot out give a team they will be playing when it counts, an up close and personal look at their alignments and plan of attack in a game that doesn’t count.

This same thing happened last season when the Raiders faced the Titans both in the preseason and in the regular season. It was even the third preseason game. Something Derek Carr finds a bit strange as well as annoying.

“It’s like man can we get someone else? So we can run some stuff?” said Carr. “You go into a game against Dallas, they’re gonna be basic, we’re gonna be basic cuz you play each other in the regular season. Everyone knows that, so I’m not giving anything away, that’s just how it is. You go out there, you compete your tail off, you try to win . . . but at the same time you’re more focused on playing them in the regular season, than you are in the preseason.”

Last year it was even worse because they were going to face the Titans again literally a month later. In this case, they won’t face the Cowboys until week 15, so there’s some time. Even still, it’s best to keep your good stuff in your pocket and try to limit exposing your match-up weaknesses.

“Not so much the fact that we play them again as much as what do you really want to show coming out of the preseason,” said Del Rio. “They’re gonna see us and we’re gonna see them between now and December. Plenty of opportunity, so there’s no real concern there.”

Over the first two preseason games, the first team secondary has played the greatest share of snaps. They are in need of those reps. They could also use the practice with their communication. Assistant head coach - Defense John Pagano says not implementing as much game planning actually helps the secondary work on their communication.

“You always try to keep it real simple so that they can play fast,” said Pagano prior to the second preseason game. “There’s always that evaluation process that we go through as coaches. So, you’re trying to really limit those calls so they can get the call, play fast and communicate.”

What the Raiders CAN do this week is begin working on their regular season routine. It’s their first week back at the facility from training camp, so the focus has shifted to preparing the team for the grind of the regular season schedule.

“Going through the process of putting together,” said Del Rio of the week’s routine, “the information on what we provide the players, how the players get that information, whether it’s on their Ipad or the playbook and some things like that. Kinda teaching how we breakdown opponents, what we’re looking for, the things that they need to handle as we go through the week.”

This week we will see the starters for the longest amount of time. Most of them played the majority of the first half last week and should see playing time in the third quarter this week.

The final preseason game will be all about the depth players and roster hopefuls, so this week is the last time we will see the starters until the season opener on September 10. Ready or not.