The Raiders improved to 2-0 this preseason last week after defeating the Vikings at home. After the first round of roster cuts Coach Josh McDaniels will take his team to Miami to visit the Dolphins. With training camp winding down the opportunity for players to earn a roster spot is running out. Several key position battles are ongoing and Saturday will be another step in deciding who starts where when the season starts in Los Angeles. Kickoff is approaching and I take a look at what to watch for in my Raiders preseason preview game 3 vs Dolphins.
The Raiders received great news this week when Jonathan Hankins and Bilal Nichols were removed from the PUP list. After watching the team gashed in the running game repeatedly, reinforcements are needed. Two players hoping to continue to rise are Kyle Peko and Andrew Billings. Both have flashed and are proving to be ready for more playing time. After the recent release of off-season acquisition Vernon Butler the Raiders are ready to see who steps up. The time is now for rookies Matthew Butler and Neil Farrell JR to start standing out. It’s a numbers game at the position and both guys are in danger of getting lost in the shuffle. The rookies have all the tools and now even more opportunities. The next step is putting on a standout performance to show defensive coordinator Patrick Graham they can handle more especially as the regular season begins and depth is crucial.
The battle for a roster spot at the WR position has been a good camp story to follow. The team released Demarcus Robinson creating a little more clarity on who the possible 5th or 6th guy is. Obviously it’s Adams and Renfow 1 and 2 but after that it’s wide open. Mack Hollins appears to be locked into a spot. Offering a big target in the redzone then flying down the field to cover kicks shows the exact mentality this staff has mentioned. Tyron Johnson, Keelan Cole and DJ Turner seem to be the depth. Turner has blazing speed and his impact plays on offense and special teams increase his value. Tyrone Johnson is another speedster but more consistency would take him to the next level. Dillon Stoner returns from the PUP and if he can quickly get up to speed he would add another dynamic to the off. His way for now might be the practice squad. How many WR the Raiders keep might depend on how much you can do. It will be interesting to see who starts on Saturday and also who is returning kicks or punts.
The never ending question for the 2022 Las Vegas Raiders is who will be the starting RT. Three weeks and the team is seemingly onto its third candidate. Alex Leatherwood went into camp as the front runner but appears to be falling behind as he was with the backups last week. Brandon Parker was emerging as the next guy in line but after an up and down Hall of Fame game he is out for an undisclosed amount of time with an injury. Rookie Thayer Munford Jr should make his second straight start after a decent performance last week.
As the competition increases it will be interesting to see how Munford Jr holds out. Going against guys like Maxx Crosby and Chandler Jones in practice should only help the youngster. Next week the Raiders and Patriots have joint practices scheduled. This will be another great opportunity for Thayer to face live action and work towards potentially being the starter. It’s a long season and the Raiders will need multiple combinations and contributions for all of their offensive lineman. It will be interesting to see who eventually ends up starting and if they eventually look outside the building for help.
Preseason Winding Down
The Raiders have one more preseason game left next week vs the Patriots. With the teams practicing against one another the game will probably be very vanilla and the teams just trying to get to the end uninjured. This makes Saturday one of the last times for players to get quality reps on tape. With the final roster cut day August 30th the time is now. A lot of positions both starting and depth are unsettled and it will be interesting to see who makes a final strong push for the 53 man roster.
Thanks for your time reading my article and for more Raiders talk follow me on Twitter http://@BrianRobert85. Also you can read my previous article here Derek Carr MVP Candidate and check back Sunday for my review of the Raiders 3rd preseason game vs Miami.
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