The Oakland Raiders are in a unique position with all the changes they have made to the roster for the upcoming 2014 season. With their first preseason game on the horizon Friday night against the Minnesota Vikings, head coach Dennis Allen wants to see a number of things. Most importantly is evaluating how the new and holdover players will respond to live game action.
“All of it’s part of the evaluation,” Allen said. “I equate it to when you’re in college and you take mid-term exam or a final exam. Those are always weighed a little bit more heavily. What they do in a real, live game situation is probably going to carry a little bit more weight than what they do in practice. But all of it is taken into account.”
The Raiders are trying to acclimate large amounts of new players in key spots. The preseason is the way Allen wants to go about those evaluations and see who can show well when the lights come on.
“With all these preseason games, you’re trying to use this as an evaluation process – part of the evaluation,” Allen said. “It’s a big part of the evaluation. It’s one thing when you watch them out here in practice. It’s another when the lights come on and they have to play a real game and there are no coaches out there helping them on the field. They have to go out and understand the situations, know exactly what to do. They have to be able to use the techniques that we’re asking them to use. Then they have to go out and compete. It’s a great time to evaluate our players.”
The Raiders have not gone into how many snaps certain players will play or how many quarters the first team will see. Allen is focused on getting as many players on the field, so he can best evaluate their progress.
“I think it’s important for all of our guys,” Allen said. “This is a totally new team. It’s a new season. Everything starts back from ground zero. We’re going to use this process to evaluate all these guys on what they do moving forward. It’s really not of relevance what they’ve done in the past. It’s really about what they do for us moving forward. I think with all of our guys it’s important that we get off to a good start.”
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