To start Jon Gruden’s second stint in Oakland, the Raiders welcome the Detroit Lions to town. Although preseason games do not count, in regards to standings, information and judgment abound. Whether a player can open eyes remains the goal from here on. The Raiders, off a 6-10 overhauled their roster. As a result, any improvement over 2017 remains imperative for the Raiders. Below, these areas need close observation.
Granted, Arden Key working Kolton Miller on endless clips does not give the fanbase the slimmest hope that Miller can succeed. In addition, Miller steps in for Donald Penn that sits with an injury. During game action, watch to see Miller’s reactions. First, watch how quickly rises from his stance. Standing 6-foot-8, Miller’s long frame needs to lift quickly. Hopefully, Tom Cable’s tutelage immediately takes hold and Miller begins a long career as a blindside protector.
In 2017, Carr gained 238.5 yards from scrimmage. While that number does not appear lackluster, the completion percentage hovers around 61 percent. Under Gruden, Carr looks to increase that number. The days of the hope and fling are over. If the Raiders take a deep chance, expect the route to have structure and purpose.
In addition, observe Carr’s rhythm on the intermediate/ timing patterns. Gruden preaches crisp routes and demands pinpoint passing. With Carr, Gruden has a physically talented quarterback that needs refining. For the first time, we get to see Carr in a system that he should play in for more than one season. No more revolving coordinators. Jon Gruden and Derek Carr are in this for the long haul.
While Khalil Mack holds out, the team must play on. Under those circumstances, other Raiders must show up versus Detroit. For players like Mario Edwards, this game could mark the beginning of a new start or the end. With so much talent on the defensive line, Edwards needs a strong showing. Meanwhile, rookies Arden Key and Maurice Hurst must show what they learned so far. Key, according to coaches shows flashes of burst and electric ability. Hurst could provide the Raiders with depth and challenge for a starting spot.
In essence, the outcome of this game is irrelevant. Yet, the Raiders need to see where progress resides.