In last week’s preseason game, we saw Alex Leatherwood’s NFL debut, two promising running backs, a new Nathan Peterman, and a much-improved defense. This week’s game will hopefully reinforce what we saw last week. If training camp is any indicator of what to expect as fans, we should be excited.
In Wednesday’s first joint practice against the LA Rams, Darren Waller made his first showing of the camp. Reports came out that he scored a touchdown as well. Many reports also said Hunter Renfrow had a huge day including toasting Jalen Ramsey and other defensive backs. Sadly the Raiders have that film lock and key.
The defense also reportedly came away with numerous interceptions and based on the Raiders official youtube channel it seems Trevon Moehrig came up with one of them. Now, what should we, as fans, watch for in Week 2?
In week one’s preseason game the offensive line looked leaky allowing Peterman to get hit numerous times. This isn’t too alarming as most of the players are backups, Leatherwood and James being the starters. As fans, we should look for those two to shine. In last week’s matchup, we saw Leatherwood play pretty well. He didn’t allow a sack and made big gaps for the running backs to run through. When Leatherwood did get beat, he made up for it with his arm length and athleticism.
Now what we should watch for. How will Leatherwood deal with outside blitzes? If it comes from a defensive back, can he get there in time, and if it’s a linebacker, will he keep them away from the quarterback? Aside from dealing with the blitz, watch for how well he keeps the pocket clean and how well running backs play when going his way.
As for Andre James, we should look for him to be the cornerstone of the line. Before this season, we have seen very little of him. We as fans know he wasn’t great in what we had seen him, but as stated in a past article we have Tom Cable. Cable is the man that made Kolton Miller go from a bust to our best lineman. So, look for James and how he manages bull rushes and what he does against blitzes.
Trey Ragas and B.J. Emmons looked phenomenal in last week’s game. Both players showed the ability to score on the goal line, showed the ability to break a tackle, and also showed that they can pass block. This week, we should watch for them to do the same. We saw what they are capable of, but can they do that against a better defense.
The Rams have one of the better front seven in the league. Now that doesn’t mean they will be playing their starters, but it is the same scheme. If they can continue the tear they were on last week we could see Jalen Richard not making the final 53.
Last week Zay Jones and Keelan Doss both shined with the opportunities they were given. Both wideouts had 50+ yards on three and six receptions respectively. We also saw play calls that got receivers open down the field and allowed for big plays, similar to what we got a glimpse of last season.
Now we should watch for those two to continue to take advantage of their opportunities along with the rest of the backups. We should also watch for others to shine that might not get much playing time come the regular season.
The last group we should watch for is the defense. No group in particular with this one as our sample size under this new scheme is small, so we don’t know who will really excel, Last week we didn’t see any forced turnovers and only saw one sack. We should watch for the amount of pressure the d-line can produce and how well the secondary play receivers and if they can make the QB pay for making a bad pass.
If there are players to watch for, keep an eye on Clelin Ferrell, Damon Arnette, and Johnathan Abram. All three are past first-round picks and need to prove themselves this season.
If the Raiders that are mentioned above can continue their performances or play to their expectations we could see a big season for this team. The defense is truly the key to this team’s success. We as fans know the offense is capable now it’s time for the defense to show up.
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