Head Coach Jon Gruden is looking for consistency, specifically at the wide receiver positon.
Aside from the tandem of Jordy Nelson and Amari Cooper, the group has seen a handful of players contribute out wide, but Gruden wants more. Martavis Bryant – aka the "White Tiger," according to Gruden – has all the skills to be a dynamic playmaker in the offense, but a series of migraines caused No. 12 to sit out a handful of days during training camp. Bryant hasn't been the only player to miss time on the field, fellow wide out Seth Roberts has been unable to participate in team activities for a little over a week now.
"Seth [Roberts] has been out now for nine, 10 days," Gruden said Monday. "Martavis has been in and out of here. It's been tough. I think just someone has to come out here and string four or five really good days together and showcase their stuff. Make some plays. With and without the ball."
While Cooper, Nelson, and Bryant are presumably locks to make the team, the competition behind them has been fun to watch. Griff Whalen and Ryan Switzer have similar skillsets, given their elusiveness, size, and speed. Whalen and Switzer have each hauled in a touchdown through the first two games of the preseason, and shown their worth on special teams.
"A couple of them are new, fighting for that spot," Derek Carr said regarding the competition at wide receiver. "A couple have been banged up. So, I think we're all sitting there excited to see what happens. They're all, I think, healthy. We'll see. I think they're all mentally ready, physically ready. Hopefully come game time, we can sit there and we can evaluate that spot. Because, obviously it's important. When you have guys like Martavis [Bryant] or [Amari Cooper] Coop or Jordy [Nelson] on the outside, you have Jared [Cook] on the inside, someone is hopefully going to get a good matchup on the other side and in the slot, wherever we put them. We have to figure that out and it'll be exciting."
Carr makes a good point; between the trio of Nelson, Cooper, and Bryant, the Raiders will be able to force a lot of mismatches this season, and whoever ends up with a spot on the roster could reap the benefits. The amount of attention those three will draw is only going to open doors for another receiver, whether that's Jared Cook or whoever plays in the slot.
"The way it's set up is for everyone to play any spot," Carr added. "That way, [Gruden] does it that way to make it easier on the quarterback. 'Hey, if you get this look verses this, get to this.' And they all have to know what to do. He knows where the matchup is and like I said before, I feel like it's like a trained robot for Coach Gruden. He builds a system in such a way that all of the other guys have to learn everything else."
Surprisingly, the Raiders' leading receiver after the first two preseason games is running back Jalen Richard. No. 30 has 70 receiving yards through two games, with the next leading receiver being tight end Paul Butler, who's totaled 59 receiving yards.
The team will make its final roster cuts September 1st, so there's still time for the wide receivers group to make one final impression on General Manager Reggie McKenzie and the coaching staff.
Derek Carr and Co., will most likely see a decent amount of playing time this week against the Green Bay Packers, but it will also serve as a good opportunity for some of the players lower on the depth chart to showcase their talent.
This Friday the Raiders will play host to the Green Bay Packers at the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum in their third preseason bout of 2018, kickoff starts at 7:30 p.m. PDT.