Happy Mailbag Day, Raider Nation.
The Oakland Raiders are just days away from kicking off the 2018 preseason against the Detroit Lions, which means that we’re on the other side of the hill as far as training camp is concerned.
The past two days with the Detroit Lions in town have been a blast, but I think we’re all collectively ready for some real football.
Anyways, I digress; thanks once again for all your questions, let’s get to it.
EP: Yes, I do.
Let’s just take stock of the roster, as it stands right now. Veteran left tackle Donald Penn has been on the PUP list since we arrived in Napa, which means that as of now, your starting left tackle is Kolton Miller.
With No. 72 unable to go at the moment, the rookie from UCLA has run with the first team for the entirety of camp, and if the season opened tomorrow, Mr. Miller would be the man charged with protecting Derek Carr’s blindside. Now, that’s not to say things can’t change over the next four weeks; if I know one thing, it’s that the first unofficial depth chart the team puts out is just that – unofficial.
As far as Parker is concerned, he’s been battling through some injuries of his own recently, but in what we have seen from him, the physical tackle has no doubt looked the part of an NFL lineman.
With so many moving pieces on the offensive line, depth is the name of the game, so I expect both Miller and Parker to have their respective numbers called at some point in 2018.
EP: Boy, that’s a lot of receivers all on the field at the same time, huh?
As far as that exact combination, if memory serves – and please, don’t be too hard on me, we’ve seen a lot of football the past three weeks – I can’t say that I’ve seen that exact combination of guys all on the field at the same time, but I do think we’re going to see some fun, exotic looks from Head Coach Jon Gruden throughout the year.
We’ve seen Martavis Bryant – today in particular – show that he can be a legitimate, deep threat for Derek Carr, and the other guys that you mentioned have also had really sharp starts to camp as well.
Don’t sleep on Ryan Switzer and Marcell Ateman either. Both those dudes have quietly gone about their business, and I think we’ll be hearing their names pretty frequently this year.
To get back to your original question though, I’m not sure if we’ll see that exact grouping of guys all on the field at once, but keep your eyes peeled, I think this offense will be a ton of fun to watch this year.
EP: Granted it’s training camp, and we’ll get a much better idea of what this team will look like over the next month, but I’ve been really excited to see the Raiders’ interior rush since we’ve been in Napa.
With big Justin Ellis in the middle, now joined by Maurice Hurst and P.J. Hall, I think this group can do some impressive things in 2018.
We hear all the time about the interior rush and the edge rush working in concert, and I think if things keep trending the way they have been, that’s exactly what we’ll get this year.
For the past several seasons, as good as the edge rush has been, it’s seemed like the big fellas in the middle have struggled just a bit to get their footing, but if the first few weeks of camp are any indication, that trend could be bucked sooner than later.
EP: Man, I’ll tell you what, the former Texas Longhorn has sure made his pitch over the last couple of practices.
Whether it’s bruising runs that leave Lion’s linebackers on their backs, or showcasing some surprisingly-nimble moves for a man listed at nearly 250 pounds, Warren III has been a guy that has made the most of his opportunities on the football field.
Now, with Marshawn Lynch, Doug Martin, as well as Jalen Richard and DeAndré Washington all in the running back’s room, there is indeed a bit of a logjam at the position, but let’s see what No. 34 does during the preseason, I’m sure he’s going to get ample chances to show what he’s got.
As far as Cabinda and Lee are concerned, both have flashed at points throughout training camp; the preseason will be huge for both.