The Oakland Raiders are finished with the all important third preseason game and are preparing for the typically boring fourth preseason game. I say typically boring because with nearly all of the starters sitting, fans often don’t watch the fourth preseason game. But Raiders fans are different, we tend to know who the fifth string fullback is while other fans barely know their second string offensive tackle. Because of that, I know I don’t need to do too much convincing in terms of why you should watch the fourth preseason game, but nonetheless, let’s take a look at the key battles that really do make this game worth watching:
Marshall Newhouse has the lead at right tackle, but don’t rule out Alexander Vadal. The holdout of Donald Penn was good for the Raiders because it created more playing time for players who might not have gotten it. But it was bad for Marshall Newhouse because that playing time allowed Vadal Alexander to impress at right tackle. The seventh round project was better than expected when forced into duty last season and has clearly improved during the offseason. A monster of a man, the Raiders would absolutely love for Alexander to run away with the right tackle job and prove that the position is set for the future. In his way is Newhouse, a veteran with a ton of starting experience who isn’t going to give up the starting role without a fight.
Of all the position battles this preseason, backup quarterback is easily the most hotly contested. Thus far, there is no clear winner between Connor Cook and E.J. Manuel. And unfortunately for the Raiders, that race is neck and neck due primarily to poor play, rather than being due to having two players who are both impressing. Manuel had a strong first preseason game before back to back poor performances. Meanwhile, Cook hasn’t been bad or particularly good, but that’s concerning because he’s been going against deep depth after coming in as the third string quarterback throughout the preseason. With Derek Carr sitting on Thursday, we will get a good long look at both of these guys and hopefully, one of them will stand tall above the other and make the decision an easy one.
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