Return of Chucky
All eyes are on Jon Gruden for this one as he makes his re-debut as Raiders head coach. He will be making the rounds, slapping hands in the Black Hole and even more energetic than he usually is (if that’s even possible). The Chucky dolls will be out and the Chucky scowl will be plastered on his face and the crowd will be loving it. This isn’t just another preseason game.
Backup the Carr
EJ Manuel has dominated the battle between he and Connor Cook this offseason to be Carr’s primary backup just as he did last year. But Cook has made a late push, enough to make you wonder what he might do in game action. These two will see almost all the reps. The first question will be who takes the field first. The second is how they will perform running Gruden’s offense.
Martavis Bryant up to speed?
As Gruden said, Bryant is a great talent. The questions have surrounded his readiness with the playbook. He has not been working with the first team this camp, so fans should get a good long look at him. He could be the most talented player on the field at some point in this game, so he should be a go-to option for the QB’s looking for a big play.
Kolton Miller trial run
As reports of the Raiders asking Donald Penn to take a paycut, the only leverage the Raiders have — if any — is whether Miller can be an apt replacement. He hasn’t looked it so far in camp and holding up against 2nd and 3rd stringers won’t prove much, but if he struggles it sure would. The Raiders QB’s may or may not run Gruden’s offense like a well-oiled machine, but it won’t matter if they’re running for their lives.
Jalen Richard vs DeAndre Washington
Only one of them is sticking around. And practice isn’t deciding much. Which one of them makes this Raiders roster will be decided in these preseason games. They have four games to work it out, starting tonight.
Maurice Hurst and PJ Hall are being looked upon as the saviors of the Raiders interior defensive line. Mario Edwards has been holding them off in camp and we will get a good indication of how big of a role these two rookies will play in the defensive line rotation.
Arden Key has been the talk of camp at the defensive end spot. It’s uncertain whether he will play as he missed Wednesday’s practice. If he plays, he will be worth watching on every defensive snap.
Treyvon Hester wildcard
While we talk about Hurst, Hall, and Edwards, Hester has quietly had a pretty good camp. The 2017 7th round pick showed some promise as a rookie last year and if he keeps it up, he could find his way into this battle as well.
Erik Harris hope
One of the surprises this offseason and training camp has been the play of Erik Harris. The former CFLer has been a special teams only player the past couple seasons in the NFL, but has been impressing Jon Gruden with his safety play. He is playing with a cast on his right hand after having surgery to repair a broken finger, but that didn’t keep him from practicing this week so it shouldn’t keep him from playing in the game. He had a great play in practice Wednesday that would have been an interception had he had full use of both hands. Now the fans get to see if he can prove to be an upgrade at the safety position.
There are a lot of corners vying for playing time at corner. Gareon Conley has been out with a hip injury and the Raiders hope to have him back next week. Whether they do or not, getting a good look at the group of next men up, will be valuable. Daryl Worley is the current next man up as he’s been taking first team reps on Conley’s place. There’s also rookie round four pick Nick Nelson, and veterans Leon Hall and Shareece Wright who are looking to prove they belong.