For some people, preseason games are a waste of time and talent, and delay the real football to be experienced.
What some people fail to realize is those same games are the only door some free agents have to either start a dream of playing in the NFL, or seeing a final door close.
For the ones who want to see starters, some clubs, out of safety reasons, will keep their first team in for a quarter or less. The risk of losing a multimillion dollar player is a horrible gamble to take.
And how many people would second-guess Cable if Darren McFadden wound up destroying a knee on a worthless play in a meaningless game?
But for those, like Luke Lawton, Nick Miller, or Seth Wand, every down they can get in a game can either be seen by other teams or by Cable. A good night of blocking by Seth, and he might make it past a round of cuts.
If Nick can turn into a viable threat, he might join a growing trend in Oakland, looking to younger players.
And Luke, a backup fullback is either hoping to hang on if Lorenzo Neal or Oren O'Neal have any problems...or he can hope to catch on elsewhere if needed.
For some players, there is another platform waiting, on the practice squad...but the limit puts some players in a small boat waiting for the call.
So, what should we look for in the first game of the year?
Number one is the starters in the first quarter. Coach Tom Cable wants to try out players, see how they work in true game conditions. If the team looks weak, more work could be needed in the practices.
When the second team starts to play, they will be taking on two opponents—the Cowboys, and their own teammates. A good play on defense, and a player could move up the roster. A blown play in coverage and someone might become expendable come the day of cuts.
For the Raiders fans, each of the four games will be a good chance to learn about the team, see who can be expected to make the opening day roster...or who will be watching the game at home with other fans around the country.
As for who is going to win...I could see the Raiders winning the contest. But I want to see how our first team handles against their first team. It'll give us a preview of the important game to be held on Thanksgiving, in the regular season.