Oakland Raiders: 5 Things To Look For In Preseason Game #3

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Aug 22, 2015; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Oakland Raiders quarterback Derek Carr (4) takes the snap from offensive lineman Rodney Hudson (61) in the first quarter against the Minnesota Vikings at TCF Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

The Oakland Raiders enter the third game of the preseason having posted mixed results in the first two. While they looked sharp and crisp against the Rams in week one, they looked a little sloppier in week two against the Vikings. They had their moments, but they were just a bit more ragged than the previous week. So the question is, which version of the team will we see against the Cardinals?

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Given the rash of season ending injuries around the league to some key players like Green Bay’s Jordy Nelson, Miami’s Louis Delmas, and Carolina’s Kelvin Benjamin, among others, HC Jack Del Rio has a tough balancing act to work. On one hand, he needs to get his starters some reps against live action. On the other, he needs to avoid serious injuries to the team’s most important players.

So the real burning questions heading into the exhibition showdown is going to be who plays and who sits? Ordinarily, as the preseason begins to draw to a close, teams will usually give their first units extended playing time to get them ready for the coming season. But will that be the case with Oakland?

With so much riding on this season, and the Raiders posed to take some significant strides, perhaps climbing out of the AFC West basement after more than a decade of futility, the last thing Del Rio wants to do is run his players out there and see them go down for the year in what amounts to a meaningless exhibition.

But it’s true that they need to work against first unit defenses to sharpen themselves.

It’s a tough call and a delicate balance, to be sure. But we’ll know soon enough, as the Raiders are set to take on Carson Palmer and the Arizona Cardinals. And with that, here are a few things to look for in Oakland’s third preseason game.

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