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News

Game Preview: Raiders vs. Lions

Posted Aug 14, 2014

The Oakland Raiders host the Detroit Lions at O.co Coliseum in Preseason Week 2 action.

The Oakland Raiders host the Detroit Lions in the first home game of the 2014 season. The Preseason Week 2 matchup is the next opportunity for the players to work out kinks and to show the coaches what they are capable of on game day.

The team had a busy week, finishing up Training Camp 2014 in Napa and traveling to Oxnard for two joint practices with the Cowboys. Despite the crazy schedule, the players feel like the different experiences helped prepare them for their matchup with the Lions.

“It was a lot of great work. Personally, it was my first time being able to work with another team, even though it’s a team I’m pretty familiar with over the past several years,” said veteran OL Kevin Boothe. “It breaks up camp definitely, and it allows you to get after somebody different. It puts you in a game-type atmosphere for a couple of days. It was good. It was exciting. It’s competition so everybody loves that.”

Rookie CB Keith McGill missed the first preseason game in Minnesota due to injury, so the practices against the Cowboys really benefited him in his game preparation. “I would just say it was getting me ready. Going down there to Oxnard and playing against the Cowboys was a good experience for me since I missed the first preseason game,” explained McGill. “We got two practices in with them and it got me ready for the game. Through training camp and going down there in Oxnard, I think it’s prepared me pretty well.”

It’s hard to predict who each unit will face in the early stages of the preseason, but the Raiders offense and defense are able to get a general idea of what the Lions might do. “They’re a high-energy unit that really gets after the quarterback. That’s what they like to do,” said Boothe regarding the Detroit defense. “It’s an opportunity for us to continue to grow as a team. Offensively we have to be able to sustain some drives, whether it’s the first, second or third unit, and that’s something we look to do.”

The Detroit first team defense has a powerful front with Ndamukong Suh (5.5 sacks in 2013), Nick Fairley (6.0 sacks in 2013) and Ezekiel Ansah (8 sacks in 2013). And the first team offense is led by QB Matthew Stafford (4,650 passing yards in 2013), RB Reggie Bush (1,006 rushing yards in 2013) and WR Calvin Johnson (1,492 receiving yards).

Because each team has their own philosophy on playing time throughout the preseason, the leaders on both offense and defense may face each other, or may see second-team units. Regardless of who the Raiders players face, they plan on being prepared and find ways to make plays.

McGill has been studying film of the Lions to give him an opportunity to make plays during Friday’s game. “They’re kind of a formation team,” he explained. “You get a feel for their offense watching tape, so the more film study, the better understanding I’m going to have for the offense. Going into the game, I’m going to try to make some big plays, try to get some turnovers and try to score. Whatever I’m able to get off film study, tendencies and formations, I have to capitalize on those opportunities.”

RB Kory Sheets had impressive outings against the Cowboys in Oxnard, and he hopes to carry that success over to the O.co Coliseum field. “Just continuing what I’ve been doing. Just staying focused and keeping my head level; not getting too high and not being too low,” said Sheets.

Head Coach Dennis Allen’s biggest goal for the second preseason game is to see his team improve. “I’m hoping to see improvement - improvement from the first game to the second game,” said Coach Allen. “We’ve got to clean up the penalties. That’s obviously been a big point of emphasis. I’m looking for us to go out and make some plays both offensively and defensively. Our guys have worked extremely hard and I think these couple of days against the Cowboys will help us in getting ready for that.”

Boothe wholeheartedly agrees with his head coach. “I think when you look at the preseason, you look at the first and second game to have your most improvement,” said Boothe. “I think this year is no different. There are a lot of things I can improve upon and I look forward to the opportunity to get out there and play and show my improvement.”

The Raiders vs. Lions Preseason Week 2 game at O.co Coliseum at 7:00 p.m. PT will be televised locally on KTVU FOX 2. The game will also be broadcast on 98.5 KFOX. And while you listen and watch, make sure to follow along on Raiders.com, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.