The Oakland Raiders‘ first preseason game against the Los Angeles Rams was a success and they’ll be looking to build upon the win against the Arizona Cardinals. The team didn’t play many starters against LA, but that will probably change this week, according to Jon Gruden. The Raiders have new players all over the roster, so this will be the first time these guys hit the field wearing the silver and black. It’s possible that some starters won’t appear in the game. Below we’re going to go through some of the new players who we expect to play.
Antonio Brown may get all the headlines, but Tyrell Williams could steal a lot of Derek Carr targets. Williams is coming from the Los Angeles Chargers where he found himself in a crowded receivers room. He has come to Oakland and done nothing but impress. He’s showed off tremendous speed and hands in Brown’s absence. General manager Mike Mayock actually said that the team wanted to bring Williams in as their number one receiver before they were able to trade for Brown. Obviously, Brown is the number one guy, but don’t be surprised if Williams puts up pretty big numbers.
Williams’ playing time will likely be limited against the Cardinals, but the team should give him a few chances to make plays. Carr and he have been building a nice rapport at practice, but nothing matches in-game intensity. He probably won’t play more than a couple of drives, but don’t be surprised if Carr airs a deep ball or two in his direction.
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The rookie running back out of Alabama, Josh Jacobs, didn’t get a chance to make his debut against the Rams, but it would surprising if he doesn’t make an appearance against the Cardinals. The versatile running back has had a pretty quiet training camp and has barely been seen on Hard Knocks. This is most likely due to the fact that running backs can’t do much to show off in training camp and practice. Jacobs should finally get his chance to show what he can do against the Cardinals.
As one of the favorites to win rookie of the year, Jacobs has a lot of upside as a runner and a receiver. He should put the skillset on display during Thursday’s game. It wouldn’t be surprising if he sees more time than some of the starters because he’s still just a rookie.
Though defensive end Josh Mauro hasn’t done much in his career, he’s found his way atop the Raiders depth chart. He’s ahead of players like Arden Key, Benson Mayowa and Maxx Crosby. He doesn’t have the upside that those players do, but he’s obviously done something to impress the coaching staff. He didn’t play against the Rams, so he should have a chance to show why the Raiders believe in him. However, if Key puts up another sack, it’ll be hard for the coaches to keep him off the field.
The massive tackle that the Raiders made the highest-paid offensive lineman in the NFL, Trent Brown has a lot to live up to. While he hasn’t been bad in his career, he hasn’t consistently played at the level of somebody who deserves to be paid more than anybody at his position. He’s been putting in a lot of work this offseason, so he could easily prove the doubters wrong. The right side of the offensive line was dealt a huge blow when Gabe Jackson got hurt. It’s going to be up to Brown to sure up that side. The Cardinals’ Chandler Jones is one of the fiercest pass rushers in the NFL. He probably won’t play much, but if he does and Brown can hold him back, that’s a very good sign for the Raiders.
Former Cincinnati Bengal linebacker, Vontaze Burfict, is expected to be the quarterback of the Raiders defense. He’s proven himself as a top-tier linebacker in the past, but he’s struggled to stay out of trouble. He has a strong relationship with defensive coordinator Paul Guenther and that should help him keep his head on straight.
The Raiders need serious help at linebacker. The unit has struggled greatly over the last few years. If Burfict can return to all-pro form, the could mean really good things for the Raider defense. He has a young defense he needs to lead and so far, he seems up to the challenge. It’ll be very interesting to see how he leads the defense against a pass-happy Cardinals squad.