Oakland travels to Arizona for preseason opener Aug 12th

August 7, 2017

NFL, Oakland Raiders

AP Photo File: Oakland Raiders quarterback Derek Carr (4) applauds during an NFL football training camp on Saturday, July 29, 2017, in Napa, Calif. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)

By Joe Hawkes-Beamon
Sports Radio Service Writer

OAKLAND — The Raiders gear up for 2017 preseason with a road trip to the Valley of the Sun to take on the Arizona Cardinals Saturday night Aug. 12, with kickoff set for 7:00 p.m. PT from University of Phoenix Stadium. This marks the third time in seven years that the Silver and Black open up the preseason schedule on the road, as they opened the 2016 preseason in Arizona last season and in Minnesota for the 2014 preseason.

This also marks the fifth time in seven years that Oakland and Arizona meet in the preseason, with the Raiders taking last year’s preseason opener 31-10.

The Raiders will be a team that will score a lot of points this season with Derek Carr throwing to his talented wide receivers in Michael Crabtree and Amari Cooper. Oakland was the sixth-ranked offense with Carr throwing for 3,937 yards and 26 touchdowns (to just 6 interceptions) in 2016.

Cooper and Cooper each had 1,000-yard receiving seasons last year.

Add in a physical running back in Marshawn Lynch to an already deep running back stable with Jalen Richard and DeAndre Washington to go along with free agent addition Jared Cook and holdover Clive Walford to sure up the tight end position, the Silver and Black will be a feared offense in 2017.

With left tackle Donald Penn a training camp holdout over his contract, I wouldn’t expect to see Carr and the first-team offense play no more than a series or two as the point of the preseason is to find your team’s identity, see which rookies can be contributors to an NFL team, and most importantly, keep your starters healthy.

Carr who signed a five-year, $125 million contract extension with the organization during the offseason and is coming off a broken fibula last season, is the most important Raider the team has to keep healthy with all of the Super Bowl hype surrounding the team heading into the season.

The reigning Associated Press Defensive Player of the Year in defensive end Khalil Mack and the defense look to improve a unit that finished 26th in the league last season despite Mack registering 11 sacks, five forced fumbles, and an interception that returned for a touchdown.

Overall defensively, Oakland already has the majority of their starting lineup intact with the exception of middle linebacker, and possibly cornerback opposite of David Amerson.

Rookie Marquel Lee and second-year pro Tyrell Adams battling for the starting job at middle linebacker. Lee is currently ahead of Adams on the team’s depth chart in training camp and should start in Oakland’s first preseason game but should see a lot of action.

Lee is one of 30 rookies who should see their first live action in an NFL game.

Nine-year veteran Sean Smith is being pushed hard for his starting spot at cornerback by fourth-year player TJ Carrie and rookie Gareon Conley. Carrie has passed Smith on the Raiders depth chart in training camp after lining up with the starting 11 over the weekend in Napa.

Conley hasn’t practiced yet due to shin splints and off the field issues, is playing catch up.

Arizona lost to the Dallas Cowboys 20-18 in the NFL’s Hall of Fame Game last Thursday as both teams held out most of their starters.

Former 49ers starter/backup quarterback Blaine Gabbert completed 11-of-14 passes for 185 yards leading Arizona to touchdowns on their first two drives.

 

 

 

 

 

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