Dec 8, 2013; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; Oakland Raiders quarterback Matt McGloin (14) is chased by New York Jets outside linebacker Quinton Coples (98) during the game at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports

Oakland Raiders: Key Position Battles That May Have Effects On Season


The roster for the Oakland Raiders has a lot of work ahead before things get settled.  Which positions are the most up for grabs?

Running back:  Darren McFadden vs. Maurice Jones-Drew

Given the likelihood that the defense will drive the ship in Oakland, it will be very important that they have a running game to support it.  That makes the upcoming battle between Maurice Jones-Drew and Darren McFadden crucial.  Jones-Drew is more experienced and aside from his most recent misfortune, more durable while McFadden is younger, more explosive and versatile.  It will be interesting to see which one grabs the favor of coaches.

Left Tackle:  Donald Penn vs. Menelik Watson

Menelik Watson really never got going in the 2013 season but he did make three starts which gave him valuable experience for the coming battle with Donald Penn.  The former Tampa Bay Buccaneers left tackle went to a Pro Bowl in 2010 but has since begun to decline.  The hope is a reunion with former offensive coordinator Greg Olson will get him back on track.  Watson should make excellent competition.

Backup QB:  Matt McGloin vs. Derek Carr

Matt Schaub is the unquestioned starter for the 2014 season but a battle that is garnering lots of attention from Oakland Raiders fans is the one for the backup quarterback spot between Matt McGloin and Derek Carr.  McGloin played well at times last season and would seem to have the edge in understanding of the offense.  At the same time Carr is clearly more talented.  He’s taller, more athletic, and has a stronger arm.  Whether McGloin is able to hold him off or not will say a lot about the development of the 2nd round pick.

Right Guard:  Kevin Boothe vs. Gabe Jackson

A classic came of experience against upside.  Kevin Boothe is was a starter for the New York Giants and helped them win a Super Bowl in 2011.  Struggles last season however led to his release.  He must stare down 3rd round pick Gabe Jackson, a massive, powerful and surprisingly nimble kid out of Mississippi State with loads of untapped potential.  This sort of battle won’t garner much attention in Oakland, but it could have a substantial impact on the overall success of the offense moving forward.

Dick's Sporting Goods presents "Hell Week":

Tags: Darren McFadden Derek Carr Donald Penn Gabe Jackson Matt McGloin Oakland Raiders

  • Kevin Lurker

    Battles on the OL will come down to the best 5. Watson is the key to how this shapes out. Only time will tell. Still curious who is the back up Center? I have heard Bergstroms name mentioned but he’s never seen the field since being drafted. Mady has played but Guard only.

    • stucktrader

      Boothe can play pretty much anywhere, although he is a little light to play T (which he had to do as well.)

  • beau

    watson is just a false start magnet

    • stucktrader

      with his athleticism… i thought he could be a OG… but the guy started in this game late… will need time to develop. the Raiders penalties have gone down from previous seasons, hopefully Watson wont reverse the trend.

  • Leatha Warlord

    Boothe wasn’t released, he was a FA who signed with another team.

    • stucktrader

      true dat… and Boothe was projected as a legit LG, but now can be a great fill-in for LG/C/RG… teach the young man the trade… Gabe is too massive of a guy not to put out there in the power running scheme

  • KloverJane

    Once we fix the battle within, let’s focus on rolling over defenses and sacking and intercepting on ours. The Autumn wind cometh!

  • itzSteve

    The author has it all wrong regarding the OL. It will be LT-Penn, LG-Jackson/Boothe, C-Wiz, RG-Howard, RT-Watson. Watson will not be in any battle to win the LT job. He already has his hands full trying to win the RT job so we don’t have to move Howard to RT. Howard was signed to play RG. Watson needs to beat out McCants for the RT job…THAT’S the battle.

  • Raider Grant

    Hopefully the Watson projects come to fruition this year! Reggie should of attacked last year’s draft the way he did this year! Always move in the right direction; anything else would be NASCAR! GO RAIDERS

  • Eric Kench

    No this is the lineup as I see it. LT-Penn, LG-Jackson, C-Wisniewski, RG-Boothe, RT-Howard. Howard is one of the better tackle in the league. So why move him? Watson is too raw and inexperienced IMO. The coaches are already thinking that he’s a bust.

  • Richard Gene Faller

    At the RB position it does not matter. Both McFadden and Drew will split time anyway. The real battle will be who will be that 3rd RB between Atkinson, Murray or Sheets. I agree that Jackson will be the left guard and Watson will be the right tackle ifhe can stay healthy.

    • Erik Lambert

      From what I understand Watson is the better athlete so he should be in the mix at left tackle since typically the better athletes end up there. Besides, Howard was signed for the right side unless I’m mistaken. While it’s true McFadden and Drew will both get action, one of them is bound to emerge to get the bulk of them, which could prove very important.

  • Manny San Miguel

    No one mentioned this one: The TE Battle.

    I’m sick of all this M.Rivera talk… like it’s a TWO-WAY race at TE! True, he made some good plays last season, and he IS a promising talent. But the TRUTH is… he got lucky; we gave him a chance, and he delivered solid, if unspectacular plays.

    Right now, I expect this to be a TWO-WAY race… but NOT with Rivera. I’m positive that KASA will prevail at this TE tussle with Ausberry.

    What’s this “teach them (Rivera-Ausberry) how to BLOCK… No, no, no! KASA is already the BEST blocker of the three… and at 6’6″, 265 Lbs. he’s ALREADY the prototypical TIGHT END. At only 23, he’s Our younger, taller version of MEGATRON! Only slower…

    We all saw him catch a pass near the goal line… and DRAG TWO DEFENDERS for 8 yards on his way to scoring a TD last season… what power! All he needs is to learn the plays… and GIVE HIM THE DAMN BALL!

    Don’t get me wrong; I’m ALL for the whole TE Trio… but, for what is worth; my hopes are with Nick Kasa!

  • Wm Bill L Rhoades

    Hey, Eric Kench…what do you think about the Bergstrom situation. What is it, and if he played all the line positions, in NCAA @ Utah, couldn’t he be developed as a back-up for ‘the Wiz’ if needed?

  • Lawrence Jahn

    Barnes is in the mix for LG too.

  • Lawrence Jahn

    Any body can play any spot on the line for us, thats how versatile our guys are. We really dont know how its gonna shake out. I am gonna say day 1 is Penn, Jackson, Wiz, Howard, Watson but with injury and a lot of experimentation and new faces, its hard to say.