In one of the most anticipated days of the football schedule, the Oakland Raiders will return to the field Friday when they host the Dallas Cowboys in their preseason opener. It is the first time the Raiders have suited up since the season finale loss to the San Diego Chargers.
With so many moving pieces since last season, the Raiders are looking to evaluate younger talent and find the right combination for the regular season. The established starters will not see much action. Quarterback Matt Flynn and running back Darren McFadden are expected to see one or two series. The defensive veterans are in the same situation. Lamaar Houston is being held out of the game and other veteran starters like Charles Woodson will see little action. The preseason games are important to the borderline roster guys and young players. That's who will be on the field.
One position that has real importance for the Raiders this preseason will be tight end. Richard Gordon is listed as the starter followed by David Ausberry, Mychal Rivera, Jeron Mastrud, and Nick Kasa. All of these young players lack significant experience and will all get a chance to play in the preseason to develop. Because the competition is close, their performances this preseason will determine the position depth chart.
All four quarterbacks are expected to play with Flynn seeing the least time. Rookie Tyler Wilson will have a chance to redeem himself after struggling the first week and a half of camp and falling behind undrafted rookie Matt McGloin on the depth chart. Both guys should see about a quarter of action.
On the defensive side of the ball injuries have hit the defensive line and cornerback positions. Defensive tackle Pat Sims is likely out and Vance Walker had a child this week making him doubtful. That will give young guys like Jack Crawford, Christo Bilukidi, and rookie David Bass more chances to play. At linebacker, Sio Moore could be significant time, but veterans Nick Roach and Kevin Burnett should be on the bench early.
Cornerback Tracy Porter and Mike Jenkins have missed some practice time with injuries so their playing time will be limited. First round pick DJ Hayden is out meaning Phillip Adams, Taiwan Jones, Joselio Hanson and Chimdi Chekwa will see their roles increased.
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