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.

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

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