Five Things To Watch In Raiders Third Preseason Game

The all-important third preseason game is finally here and Jon Gruden said he plans to play his starters for about a half. It might be the final dress rehearsal before the regular season so if there’s one preseason game to watch, this will be it.

There are storylines everywhere, but here are five of the most interesting to watch:

5 – With Khalil Mack still away from the team, Arden Key has been given plenty of opportunity to learn Mack’s role. Key projects to be on the field primarily in passing situations as a rookie and he was only on the field for nine defensive snaps last week against the Rams. He should get more opportunities tonight.

Maybe he’ll show some of the pass-rushing quicks in a game that everyone has been raving about in practice.

4 – Was Martavis Bryant worth a third-round pick?

So far, the Bryant experiment hasn’t been overwhelmingly encouraging, but Bryant brings an element to Jon Gruden’s offense that no one else is able. As of now, Bryant doesn’t seem to have etched out a clear role in the offense – or at least not claimed as much stake in it as he’s capable.

Gruden has talked about Bryant learning more of the playbook so it will be interesting to see how the “white tiger” fits into the offense tonight.

3 – Tonight will be a nice test for Paul Guenther’s defense. Aaron Rodgers, among other starters on the Packers offense, isn’t expected to play so there is no good reason for the Raider defense to underwhelm. There has been encouraging buzz around the defense so maybe Guenther and the gang are ready to make a little statement to themselves and the rest of the league.

2 – Derek Carr is running yet another new offense and now has a new cast of receivers around him. It will be interesting to see how that group is coming together in such a detail-oriented offense.

And what about Amari Cooper? He’s being projected to finally have a breakout season (it keeps getting pushed back a year), but his chemistry with Carr has never been close to what Carr had with Michael Crabtree. That needs to change.

1 – Kolton Miller is still a serious question mark at left tackle. Even if he develops into the second coming of Jonathan Ogden, there will be lumps he’ll take as a rookie. Nothing is more important than keeping Carr upright and you can be sure that opposing defenses will be chomping at the bit to see if the easiest path to the quarterback will go through Miller.

A rough outing tonight for Miller and Gruden definitely has a difficult decision to make in the weeks ahead.

twitter: @raidersbeat

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