Oakland and The Test: Preseason Game Against The 49ers

Raider Card Addict@RaidercardadictSenior Writer IAugust 22, 2009

OAKLAND, CA - AUGUST 13:  Darrius Heyward-Bey #12 of the Oakland Raiders warms up against the Dallas Cowboys during a preseason game at Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum on August 13, 2009 in Oakland, California.  (Photo by Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images)

For some teams playing football right now, it is a test to make themselves better, by finding out what parts will help the team the most.

For the Oakland Raiders, the test comes with an extra page on how to elevate to the next level. In the past week, the Raiders went from a nice peak, having won a home game against the Cowboys, to dealing with injury, a coaching fight and bad publicity.

For this team, every action will be looked at, scrutinized and questioned, some would say unfairly. Is it the players who are at fault for a fight that broke out? For Chaz Schilens getting hurt? Or for the media finding nothing better to write about?

Each factor seems to feed on the other and the only way that the naysayers can be silenced, is the same way as before.

With a good, solid win.

Granted, this is just the preseason. For Oakland and the 49ers, it's only the second week of preseason, with two more weeks to follow. In that same timeframe, the Raiders have to solve several issues, including how to replace Chaz Schilens, should the team try to ease Justin Fargas out to pasture and what else can be done with the defense.

On the first look, the Chaz Schilens injury hurts, considering how well he had progressed with JaMarcus Russell. Timing was good, position was good and he could catch anything thrown around him, a dream for a coach. With his loss, the Raiders have a couple options, including using a two Tight End set, giving Darrius Heyward-Bey more looks, experimenting with Darren McFadden as an added WR or, if all else fails, focusing on the running game.

For the running back issue, it is a crowded field to work with. Bush and McFadden looked ready to start the season, as Justin Fargas looked, well...stopped. One carry, two yards, not a lot to gauge from an evaluation standpoint. Starting against Dallas' starting defense, not a lot could be expected from Fargas, but as well, Louis Murphy ran for a good clip later in the game. In Saturday's game, it will be interesting to see how carries are handed out, but it will be a hard choice for the Raiders if they decide that Justin Fargas is no longer worthwhile.

For the defensive issue, the Raiders are looking at some good points and some glaring problems. For one, Stanford Routt is not a solution and it is surprising that the team has kept him around. Some help has been brought in, Ricky Manning at cornerback for one and Rashad Baker at safety as another will help the secondary in different ways. For Manning, it gives the Raiders a better option if Chris Johnson or Asomugha come up hurt and Baker's addition will help until Michael Mitchell is both ready to play, and play well. It would be a bad mistake to rush him, risk him to injury and then have him miss an entire season for an unimportant game in the preseason.

The second issue that is coming up is how the defensive line fills out. Rumors have circulated that Kirk Morrison could move, even though by his words, a switch would be rough. Ricky Brown seems determined to prove he can play and a lot hinges on if Jon Alston can heal up in time, Isaiah Ekejiuba can see some more time and if Thomas Howard has any questions, the entire line is a question mark.

Look for the defense to be changed around a bit, as John Marshall tries to find the best group for the Raiders.

Final thought, looking at this game is that Tom Cable did what he felt was right. Hanson had proved his inability to coach and there was no easy way out. Now for the Raiders, they need to prove that as a team they can put the negative publicity behind them. Winning against the 49ers would be good...and help silence those critics.


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