The preseason opener will be about getting off on the right foot. What are some hopeful outcomes for the Oakland Raiders?
Clean performance from Matt Schaub
Preseason games don’t have to showcase all that is great with a team, but there are always certain things fans don’t want to see. For quarterback Matt Schaub, the one thing he doesn’t want to have happen against the Minnesota Vikings is play an ugly game. After all, it was turning the football over that got him traded from the Houston Texans in the first place. If he gets off to a rough start, it will begin to raise questions about his validity as the starter and open the door for a quarterback controversy with Derek Carr.
A Khalil Mack sack
Nobody can deny it. The Raiders invested a first round pick in linebacker Khalil Mack. So of course everybody wants to see him showcase that talent right away. A great way to do this is by notching a sack in his very first game. Much of how that scenario plays out will depend on how long he plays. Will he go a few series with the starters or get some extra time to gain experience? Either way, Silver and Black faithful would love nothing better than a preview of things to come.
More than anything, when it comes to the preseason the thing teams hope for the most is to just make it through with their roster reasonably intact and healthy. Oakland is already dealing with injury concerns to cornerback D.J. Hayden. Never mind the fact they’re about to field two running backs in Darren McFadden and Maurice Jones-Drew who have serious red flags of their own when it comes to health. The quickest thing that can kill an NFL season is one too many lost players. Evaluation is important, but not at the expense of losing talent.
Signs of life from Mychal Rivera and tight ends
If there is one position area on the Raiders’ roster overloaded with question marks, it has to be tight end. Last year it was underwhelming at best and so far training camp hasn’t drawn any conclusions. At the hard of the matter is David Ausberry. The third-year player has loads of athletic potential and terrific size that would make him an ideal target down the middle. The problem is he’s schedule for knee surgery, which only thickens the fog around the position. Can backup Mychal Rivera or somebody else step up?