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Five storylines to watch when the Raiders take on the Los Angeles Rams

Training camp is officially done, so up next for the Oakland Raiders is a preseason bout with the Los Angeles Rams Saturday afternoon.

While the Silver and Black's 1-0 preseason record is all well and good, we all know that this team – or any team in the NFL – will not be defined by what they do in August.

That said, there's a lot of good information we can garner from what we'll see Saturday afternoon at the Los Angeles Coliseum; here are five storylines to follow this weekend when the Raiders take on Sean McVay and the Rams.

1. The environment

It's been a while since the Silver and Black played at the Los Angeles Coliseum – Christmas Eve of 1994 to be exact – but let's be real, the City of Angels is still a Raiders' town.

The Raiders called LA home for 12 years, from 1982-1994, winning a world championship during their time in Southern California, all while leaving an indelible mark on the city and its culture.

It may have been 24 years since the Raiders have called LA home, but I have a feeling we're going to see a lot of people rocking the Silver and Black come game time.

Even though it's a preseason game, there's going to be something special brewing in the Los Angeles Coliseum, and I for one can't wait to see – and hear – it.

2. Act II of the Chris Warren III Show

If you're looking for an offensive MVP from last week's win over the Detroit Lions, it has to either be Warren III or Connor Cook.

We'll get to No. 18 in just a bit, but let's focus on the rookie running back for just a second.

After a solid start to camp, where he completely leveled poor Jarrad Davis during one of the joint practices with the Lions, Warren III was an absolute beast in his first NFL action.

When the dust settled, and there were no more linebackers to toss out of his way, the former Texas Longhorn had carried the ball 13 times, averaging nearly seven yards per attempt.

Now, I know that it was just one game, but just to put that number in perspective a little bit, Alvin Kamara averaged just over six yards per carry last year, and that was good for first in the NFL.

Before you guys jump down my throat for comparing Warren to Kamara, that's not that I'm doing, I'm simply trying to show how impressive Warren's outing was last week.

If No. 34 wants to keep his dream of making the 53-man roster alive, he's going to need to keep enjoying big days against live competition; let's see how he fares against the Rams.

3. Can Connor Cook keep it rolling?

The third-year quarterback looked like a man reborn Friday night at the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum.

He was poised in the pocket, looked confident executing Head Coach Jon Gruden's offense, and was calm under pressure, finishing his preseason debut 11 of 19 for 141 yards and one touchdown.

Currently the No. 2 quarterback listed on the depth chart, Cook will have to keep stringing together quality performances to keep it that way, as EJ Manuel is hot on his heels for the right to back up Derek Carr.

The former Michigan State Spartan likely won't go against the full battery of Rams' defensive backs Saturday afternoon, but nevertheless, another strong outing would go a long way in keeping his hold of the No. 2 job.

The Cook/Manuel battle is one that will likely last throughout the entire preseason, and with just three games left before Week 1, each preseason matchup will become even more important for the two quarterbacks.

4. Is it Arden Key time?

Will Saturday be the day Arden Key makes his debut in Silver and Black?

The rookie defensive end wasn't able to go last week against the Lions, but after returning to practice earlier this week, it looks like Key is poised to put the pads on and hit the field at the LA Coliseum.

What I've seen from Key this training camp, I've liked a lot. The man knows how to get to the quarterback, and if him, Bruce Irvin, and the interior rush are all rocking, look out, this pass rush could be nasty in 2018.

I've said all offseason that I expect the Raiders to far eclipse the 31 sacks they tallied last year, and I think the addition of Key is going to be one of those reasons why.

I think we collectively have big expectations for Mr. Key, I'm hoping we'll get to see his first game action against the Rams.

5. Vanilla…. With sprinkles?

This is kind of funky; not only will the Raiders and Rams face off Saturday afternoon, they're going to open the regular season against one another just 23 days later on Monday night football in Oakland.

So, knowing that in just over three weeks you're going to face the same opponent – for real, for real – how will that change how Coach Gruden and his staff approach the play calling and scheme that they show in LA?

Well, Coach Gruden said when asked that very question that Saturday's game will be used to evaluate the players on the Raiders' 90-man roster, and while that really is the most important thing – along with health – to come out of the preseason with, I'll be keeping an eye out to see just how "vanilla" everything looks for the Silver and Black.

There's really no point in tipping your hand to an opponent in mid-August, but nevertheless, I'm interested to see how the team handles this scheduling oddity.

Take a look through some of the top images from the Raiders' 2018 Training Camp in Napa, California

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