1. Old team, new tricks
While many will claim that this is "just another game" against the Chargers, pride will definitely be at stake.
The Raiders have a plethora of coaches and players traveling to Los Angeles to face their former team – which includes defensive coordinator Gus Bradley, defensive backs coach Ron Milus, All-Pro cornerback Casey Hayward Jr., Denzel Perryman, Darius Philon, Damion Square and Roderic Teamer. The Chargers have a lot of firepower on offense with Justin Herbert, Keenan Allen, Austin Ekeler and Mike Williams, however, Bradley should have something in store for the offense he's practiced against for several years.
"[I] have a good feel for the personnel. I always appreciated the time there, a lot of good people. But now we're Raiders," Bradley said Friday after practice.
2. Big Wood ready to "compete down in and down out" Monday Night
Chargers rookie left tackle Rashawn Slater will have his hands full against the Raiders edge rushers. It will be the same story on the other side of the ball for the Raiders rookie left tackle Alex Leatherwood.
A week after having a solid performance in the win against the Dolphins, the young lineman will have to put that behind him and move forward to Joey Bosa. The three-time Pro Bowler has been a thorn in the side of the Raiders since he was drafted out of Ohio State in 2016.
Bosa was heavily limited last season with injuries in the Raiders-Chargers two matchups, missing the Week 9 matchup and only playing 22 percent of snaps in their Week 15 rematch. Bosa is slightly banged up this season with a foot/ankle injury, however, he was a full participant in the Chargers practice on Friday and fully anticipates to play Monday. Despite having a few slip-ups with penalties and missed blocks against the Ravens and Steelers, Leatherwood has been properly adjusting to playing in the league and should be ready for the challenge against Bosa.
"He is a rookie tackle. I think the hardest job besides that, in the NFL, is rookie quarterback," Derek Carr said of Leatherwood after the Dolphins game. "And on the island with these freakish athletes, hat on the edge, that are that big, strong and fast. Week in and week out and they roll them through, fresh. There's going to be plays he wishes he had back.
"But the thing that happened, Coach Gruden, [General Manager Mike] Mr. Mayock and [offensive line] Coach [Tom] Cable said when they drafted him, they told me that they have a guy that's going to compete down in and down out. Good or bad doesn't care, next play. And man, he was huge for us down the stretch in this game, I'm so proud of him."
3. Will history repeat itself?
The Chargers defeated the Raiders in crushing overtime fashion the last time they met. Regardless, the Raiders still have the upper hand on the Chargers throughout history. The Raiders lead the all-time series 65-55-2. In the one occasion so far that the Raiders have played the Chargers in SoFi Stadium, the Silver and Black beat them 31-26.
4. Somebody that I used to know
Before the emergence of Darren Waller, Carr used to have a solid connection with another tight end that'll be playing Monday.
This offseason the Chargers signed tight end Jared Cook, a former Raider who had some of the best career years in Oakland with Carr. In 2018, Cook lead the Raiders in receptions (68), receiving yards (896) and receiving touchdowns (six). He was also selected as a Pro Bowler that season. This will be Cook's second game against the Silver and Black since his two-year stint with the team. Last season, he caught a touchdown from Drew Brees in the New Orleans Saints' 34-24 loss to the Raiders -- the first ever game played in Allegiant Stadium.
5. The status of Josh Jacobs
After missing two games with an ankle and toe injury, things are looking up for Josh Jacobs.
The running back returned to practice this week in limited capacity. While Head Coach Jon Gruden labeled him as very questionable for Monday's game, Jacobs has made his money off being a tough running back. It will be interesting to keep monitoring Jacobs as the Raiders could greatly benefit from his production. Last season against the Chargers, Jacobs ran for 141 yards and two touchdowns in the two games.
6. Like father, like son
Asante Samuel was an All-Pro, Super Bowl-winning cornerback who was extremely successful in his 11 seasons in the NFL. And it looks like the apple didn't fall far from the tree.
Samuel's son, Asante Samuel Jr., is another lockdown cornerback in the making. Taken with the Chargers' second round pick in the 2021 NFL Draft, he's made an immediate impact on their defense. The former Seminole has racked up four pass deflections and two interceptions in his first three NFL games, and was named NFL Defensive Rookie of the Month for September.
The young cornerback who ran a 4.41 40-yard dash at his pro day will probably line up most of the day against speedster Henry Ruggs III out wide or slot receiver Hunter Renfrow at the nickel.
The Raiders return to Intermountain Healthcare Performance Center as they get ready for their Monday night matchup against the Los Angeles Chargers.