Throughout the Oakland Raiders preseason, there has been one fear to rule them all. While many would like to see better play at the inside linebacker position, it’s the corners that keep me up at night.
Much of the focus has been on the continued struggles of Sean Smith but T.J. Carrie has also had a very bad preseason.
And while David Amerson hasn’t particularly been bad, he also hasn’t been impressive. When he left the Dallas game with to go through concussion protocol, it showed just how weak the corner position is without rookie Gareon Conley.
Undrafted free agent Breon Borders, who was a training camp success story, has thus far been unable to carry that success over into the preseason. At one point he was burned badly for a long touchdown against the Cowboys and at no point did he look like a guy who was ready for significant playing time in the NFL.
As far as deep depth, Dexter McDonald looked decent. If push came to shove, and the Raiders had multiple injuries to their corners, McDonald might not be the end of the world. How’s that for confidence? Beyond him, there really isn’t anyone you’d want to see on the field for the Raiders.
All that is to say, when Gareon Conley is healthy enough to play, the Raiders need him to play.
Vic Tafur of the SF Gate reported on Sunday that Conley could play in the final preseason game of the year this week, and that would be huge. If he’s healthy, he has to play in week one, it’s hard to imagine a scenario where you wouldn’t want him to at least get him some playing time. They may not want to throw him out as a starter in week one but he’s got to see the field and he’s got to see a decent amount of it.
One preseason game simply isn’t enough live action to get you ready for the transition from college to the NFL. Unfortunately, that’s all Conley has, which means he will have to learn on the run. You may not necessarily want to throw him to the wolves right away, but the best way to improve is to play so getting reps in games has to start in week one. And not just a couple, he has to see legitimate time.