Oakland Raiders: Players To Watch For The Pre-Season

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Oakland Raiders:  Players To Watch For The Pre-Season
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Tomorrow night will be the long awaited kick-off to the 2010 Raiders season.  But in pre-season, the game is about much more than a win or a loss.  The game is about scouting new players to see how they mix with the team and watching old players to see if they keep their roster spot.

On that note, here are some Raiders to watch for tomorrow night and the rest of the pre-season.

Rolando McClain

The last five years the Raiders have had little, if any, success with first round draft picks.  McClain will be the man to snap the slump, so we hope.  His task will be to upgrade the run defense that allowed over 155 yards per game on average last year.

Lamarr Houston

He is in the same boat as McClain, fixing the run defense is his priority.  Houston has a fiery, nasty attitude that resembles the Raider image.  He will be looking for someone else to fight other than his offense. 

Richard Seymour

After being franchised tagged for $12 million, Seymour has been playing i inside at tackle with Tommy Kelly.  This is a move made to help McClain in the interior run defense.  Seymour said he feels "more like an inside man" than a defensive end.  Let's see if he plays like "an i inside man" better than end.

Stanford Routt

Routt appears to have hit his mid-career crisis.  He said "I'm 26 now and I don't know how much longer I'll be here."  Rather than by a sports car, he has been challenging Chris Johnson at the CB spot opposite Nnamdi Asomugha. Will Routt rise from the nickel or will he remain a disappointment as a second round pick in 2005?

Jason Campbell

Acquired in a draft weekend trade, Campbell has gotten plenty of positive reviews from reporters and teammates, and now his owner.  Al Davis said Campbell is like Jim Plunkett, a two-time Super Bowl champion for the Raiders.  Campbell will try to improve a passing offense that ranked 31st in the NFL last year, only ahead of Mark Sanchez and the Jets.

Darrius Heyward-Bey

He had a terrible rookie year.  He came back to work after a two week off-season (like Jerry Rice) and started working out and catching passes from the jugs machine.  Since mini-camp and OTAs, DHB has gotten rave reviews for his improvement with his routes and hands.  Now that he his going up against live tacklers, let's see just how much better he is.

Darren McFadden

McFadden is getting close to the bust label because of injuries and lack of power to shed tackles.  So far this pre-season, he is ruled out of the opener at Dallas with a hamstring injury.  Not a good start to a season to prove his health can last a full season.

Hue Jackson

No, he is not a player but his addition may have been the most important addition of the whole off-season in Oakland.  He brings fire, energy and passion with him on the field.  As the new play-caller it will be interesting to see what the raiders do differently with him.  I wonder if he will yell at DeMarcus Ware, "We're gonna run right past you" and then execute it perfectly. 

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