The Arizona Cardinals host the Oakland Raiders tonight in what is really the first week of the preseason.
The Raiders present a unique challenge, but will be without a number of stars, much like the Arizona Cardinals.
Silver and Black Pride’s Levi Damien took a look for us to preview the game.
1. How much will we see of the first team offense and defense?
Most of the Raiders bigger star players will see little or no action Saturday. Khalil Mack and Amari Cooper are injured, Del Rio hinted that Marshawn will probably not play. Guys like Michael Crabtree, Jared Cook, and Derek Carr you can figure to see for maybe one drive. There are a couple rookies starting who you could probably see stay in the game when the established starters leave. Those starters are defensive tackle Eddie Vanderdoes and middle linebacker Marquel Lee.
2. Which second team player has the most to prove in the first half?
I'll give you a few. The offensive tackles Marshall Newhouse and Vadal Alexander. Newhouse is the right tackle starter but he's playing left tackle with Donald Penn in a contract holdout and Vadal Alexander is filling in at right tackle. If they are terrible, it could hasten the need to get Penn back.
Then there's Mario Edwards Jr who should be the starter this season, but who has been working with the second team since returning from an injury he suffered in the offseason. Injuries have been a real problem for Edwards in his two seasons and the Raiders would like to see him fully healthy and beating up second teamers. That is what is expected of him if he is to ever be a legitimate starting defensive end at the NFL level.
Also keep an eye on what the Raiders do with Sean Smith. He's their $10 million starting corner, but he's been working with the second team through most of camp until yesterday when he was back with the first team. It will be interesting to see if he starts and how much he ends up playing.
3. Names to know for the second half?
Rookie 7th round picks running back Elijah Hood and safety Shalom Luani. Undrafted wide receivers Isaac Whitney and Keon Hatcher. Tight end Gabe Holmes. The battle for depth at cornerback between former 7th round pick Dexter McDonald, 2nd year UDFA's Antonio Hamilton and Kenneth Durden, and undrafted rookie Breon Borders.