The Oakland Raiders begin their preseason schedule tomorrow on Monday Night Football, at home, against the Dallas Cowboys. It will be the last preseason game of week one on the NFL offseason schedule. Here are some things to watch for in Oakland.
Wide receivers Juron Criner and Rod Streater have impressed during the organized team activities and workouts. Criner the fifth round selection out of Arizona and Streater the undrafted free agent out of Temple, both are making a case to not only make the Raiders' final roster, but compete for playing time. Look for both players to see a significant amount of snaps and see if they can translate their offseason success to game situations.
The Raiders signed both Ron Bartell and Shawntae Spencer during this offseason. The team is counting on both cornerbacks to sure up the position. After a rocky start to training camp, Spencer has improved during the last few days. Ron Bartell sat out the first four days of camp with a hamstring issue and had his first padded practice of the offseason this week. Along with Bartell and Spencer, DeMarcus Van **** appears ready to take on more responsibly in the defense. He has had one of the more impressive training camps. All three players will see limited action, but have the ability to show the coaching staff what they are capable of this season. Chimdi Chekwa and Pat Lee are battling for the fourth cornerback position. Both will be on the field trying to make their case for the spot.
With Aaron Curry in Los Angeles getting his knee injury evaluated, rookie Miles Burris steps in as the weak side linebacker for the Raiders. Burris has shown flashes of ability in camp, but needs to work on his consistency. He will get that opportunity against the Cowboys. It is unknown how long head coach Dennis Allen plans on playing the starting defense, but expect Burris to see more playing time than the other linebackers.
When the Raiders selected quarterback Terrelle Pryor in the third round of the 2011 Supplemental Draft, they thought he had value in the NFL. Without the benefit of an offseason last year, Pryor is just getting a feel for how difficult playing quarterback is in the league. The second year pro from Ohio State will see an increased amount of snaps in the first preseason game. After an up and down training camp, Pryor has a chance to show his ability in game speed and tempo.
After the first week of training camp, Brandon Myers was listed as the number one tight end on the Raiders' depth chart. He has started 12 games in his three year career in Oakland. However a shoulder injury has sidelined Myers the last three days of practice, leaving the door open for second year players David Ausberry and Richard Gordon. Both members of the Raiders 2011 NFL Draft class, Ausberry is known for his receiving ability whereas Gordon is a standout blocker. Both players will play Monday night in hopes of improving their depth chart position.
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