Oakland Raiders: A Few Things Worth Keeping An Eye On Against The Rams

GLENDALE, AZ - AUGUST 12: Offensive tackle Jylan Ware
GLENDALE, AZ - AUGUST 12: Offensive tackle Jylan Ware /
2 of 5
Oakland Raiders
GLENDALE, AZ – AUGUST 12: Wide receiver Brittan Golden /

Big Questions In The Defensive Backfield

Despite shelling out big dollars for both David Amerson and Sean Smith, Oakland’s secondary was one of the worst in football last season – prompting the team to draft Gareon Conley and Obi Melifonwu to help shore it up.

The team also brought in former Chargers defensive coordinator John Pagano and tasked him with helping the communication between players in the defensive backfield.

More from Las Vegas Raiders News

Against Arizona, the unit looked like it took small, incremental steps toward improving upon last season’s performance. But it also looked like a unit that still has a long way to go. About the only bright spots for the secondary were second-year man Karl Joseph and seventh-round draft pick Shalom Luani – both of whom had a few nice plays and were hellacious in run support.

But Sean Smith, the high priced import from Kansas City picked up where he left off last year and struggled in pass defense again. His struggles prompted many to call for him to be straight up cut – calls that are only growing louder now that his arrest on two counts of felony assault have been made public.

For now, it looks like it’s going to be Amerson and Travis Carrie manning the outside. And with Conley still not anywhere near ready given his shin splints (or not!), it leaves the Raiders a little thin on the corner.

But it also provides a perfect opportunity for another player to step up and make a case for their inclusion on the 53-man roster. Breon Borders was making quite the name for himself in camp – could this be the game where he can stake a claim to the nickel corner spot?

Can Dexter McDonald, Kenneth Durden, or Antonio Hamilton make a push for a roster spot?

We’ll have to wait and see.