A number of major roster and season story lines are playing out for the Oakland Raiders. Here are some takeaways.
Kory Sheets injury ends lone threat to Murray as 3rd back
Maurice Jones-Drew looks like the starter for Oakland at running back with Darren McFadden ready to help share the load. That just left a big question mark at the third slot. Second-year man Latavius Murray was trying to hang on to it but a strong push from veteran Kory Sheets made it look dicey. Unfortunately the battle ended in anticlimax when the 29-year old tore his left Achilles tendon. With him out, Murray is in the clear.
Brice Butler deserves a chance to start right away
Rod Streater, James Jones and Andre Holmes look like the top three receiving options for the Raiders heading into the season, but head coach Dennis Allen has some serious considering to do regarding another name on the depth chart. Not only has Brice Butler played well enough to earn a roster spot, but he second-year receiver looks like he deserves a legitimate chance to challenge for a starting job. His 11 catches for 178 yards and three touchdowns are easily the best of the preseason and his 6’3″ frame would be most welcoming out on the field for the quarterbacks.
Khalil Mack is already showing his rare versatility
The really good news for the team is that for the first time in what feels like forever, it seems they may have gotten a 1st round draft pick right. Over the past two games, linebacker Khalil Mack has showcased the reasons he was taken 5th overall. Most notable was his rare versatility as both a pass rusher (sack in week two) and then as a coverage linebacker (interception in week three). He may still end up having his rookie moments, but there is no question he should be a really good player for years to come.
Raiders deserve whatever they get by keeping Matt Schaub
Is Matt Schaub a former two-time Pro Bowler? Yes. Did he have some very productive seasons in Houston? Yes. Has he looked anything like that player for the Raiders? No. Arguments can be made about him adjusting to a new system and it being the preseason and all, but Schaub just doesn’t pass the eye test anymore. Whatever it was he had that made him really good for a stretch is gone. Experience only carries a quarterback so far. If Oakland is set upon their course in giving him the reins, they deserve whatever happens in 2014.