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Raiders-49ers preseason matchup: 5 things to watch

What to look for as Josh McDaniels’ team starts preseason

NFL: Las Vegas Raiders Training Camp
Aidan O’Connell
Candice Ward-USA TODAY Sports

Sunday, Josh McDaniels starts his second preseason as the head coach of the Las Vegas Raiders as they host the San Francisco 49ers at Allegiant Stadium. KIckoff is at 1 p.m. PT.

Let’s look at five keys to the game:

The quarterbacks:

I wouldn’t expect to see much of starter Jimmy Garoppolo and even veteran backup Brian Hoyer much in this game. Rookie Aidan O’Connell and fourth stringer Chase Garbers are expected to get most of the work. The intriguing figure, of course, is O’Connell. The fourth-round draft pick is a player the team wants to develop, so seeing his first game action will be pretty interesting. He has been up-and-down (as expected) in training camp, so let’s see what he can do against another defense.

The running backs:

Star Raiders’ starting running back Josh Jacobs, of course, is staying away from training camp in a contract dispute. There is a chance Jacobs could continue his stance into the regular season, which starts in 30 days at the Denver Broncos. So, the backups need to get ready and its starts with 2022 fourth-round pick Zamir White. If would be reassuring to the Raiders if he and the likes of fellow backup running backs such as Brittain Brown and Ameer Abdullah perform well in this game.

Las Vegas Raiders Training Camp
Michael Mayer
Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images

The rookies:

O’Connell isn’t the only rookie will be watching in this game. It will be interesting if second-round pick, tight end Michael Mayer plays because he has a strong chance to start Week 1. But he has been injured. Fourth-round pick, cornerback Jakorian Bennett. Both Mayer and Bennett of these have players have been standouts in training camp, so if they do play and play well, it will be a strong sign. The rest of the healthy draft picks and undrafted free agents have a chance to make a statement in this game.

General defense:

We’re just looking for an overall feel from this group. Yes, not a lot of starters are expected to play. But there has been strong reports of how this unit has looked, especially in the secondary and against the run. Let’s see Patrick Graham’s unit go out and put together a strong effort against the 49ers

The offensive line:

The Raiders’ offensive line is a work in progress. There seems to be more depth while there are some battles at guard and tackle. Let’s see if players like tackle Thayer Munford or guard Greg Van Roten can stand out in this game as the battle takes shape.