5 Reasons to Watch the Oakland Raiders' Final Preseason Matchup
With the final dress rehearsal for the regular season being last week, today marks the last chance for some players to show they belong. On top of that, there looks to be some pretty nip and tuck position battle going on so there may be some players rising on the depth chart as a result of what happens this evening.
Then there's the progress of the young players, rookies, and Raiders new to the team via free agency.
Turn the page for a closer look.
Demarcus Van Dyke
Demarcus Van Dyke has been put through the ringers so far this preseason guarding top NFL receivers. He may get a taste of that early tonight but he won't see a whole lot of No. 1 receivers.
I do want to check his progress against the No. 1 receivers but I especially want to see what he does against backups. How he does there could very well determine if he becomes the nickel or dime corner.
Or the game could show that he's not ready at all this year.
When camp first started, the chances of Sterling Moore making the team were slim and none with slim walking out the door. But he has broken up nearly everything thrown his way this preseason so he just might grab a spot on the team.
Instead of slim, it might be Walter McFadden, Jeremy Ware, and Joey Porter walking out the door. That's a huge chance walking in for Moore with Chris Johnson, Stanford Routt, and Van Dyke being the only corners with roster spots guaranteed.
The Raiders kept four corners last year so let's keep a close watch on Moore.
I know Terrell Pryor has a long way to go but what I want to see is just how long of a way he has to go. Seeing him tonight might answer a lot of the many questions that I have about him.
Will there be some slash activity?
Is there a package they can put in for him this year at quarterback this year?
Where is he as far as reading professional defenses?
Where is he with his accuracy and fundamentals?
Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images
Joseph Barksdale has blocked well from the beginning of camp but missed a couple of assignments this preseason. He looks like he has improved in that area, leading to more appearances with the first team.
It will be interesting to see how long he plays tonight and how much of the playbook he has digested. If he plays for just a short time, he's either a starter or not far from the starting lineup.
If he plays a long time, he could either be getting reps to get ready for the start of the season the Raiders could be taking a long look to see if he is ready.
Either way, it will be interesting.
What I'm looking for from Stephon Heyer is where they play him tonight.
Before he injured his triceps, Heyer was starting to work with the ones at left guard in camp. I'm wondering now if the Raiders are going to revisit that or if they will just settle him in at backup left tackle and possibly starting right tackle.
He's looked very good at both tackle and guard this preseason so he'll be hard to keep out of the lineup. If Heyer starts at right tackle, that would be and indication of how much the Raiders trust Barksdale.
Heyer at left guard along with Barksdale (RT), Campbell (RG), Wisniewski (C), and Jared Veldheer (LT) is more like the "bully" Jackson has advertised.
I don't expect the starters to play more than a series if at all but there is still plenty to watch for. The players that I mentioned before are what I will have my eyes on the whole time tonight.
Tonight's game may have a say in when it's going to be.