Rob Campbell says...
"Looking forward to watching the interior offensive line unfold."
I also believe that this will be a great battle.
I have publicly stated on Upon Further Review that my biggest question surrounding the offensive line is Andre James. The undrafted rookie free agent re-signed with the Raiders this offseason after All-Pro Center Rodney Hudson was traded to the Arizona Cardinals. That is going to be extremely big shoes to fill for a man who's only started one NFL game in his two seasons with the team.
Nevertheless, James has looked good so far this offseason and has gained the trust and admiration of his teammates on the offensive line. The starting job won't just be handed to him though, as he'll have to compete with Nick Martin. Martin has proven in his time with the Houston Texans that he can be an exception pass blocker and can be considered reliable. Martin has started in 48 consecutive games.
Another great battle on the interior offensive line will be if John Simpson can make a case for the starting right guard position. Simpson will have to dethrone veteran Denzelle Good, who is coming off a clutch season in which he started at three different positions on the line due to injuries. However, Simpson also was able to get some time in the trenches last season and showed that even with a rookie learning curve, he had the promise and skill set the Raiders were expecting from him coming out of Clemson.
While Good is a reliable option at right guard going into this season, I wouldn't be surprised if the Raiders want to give the younger player some more run. Only time will tell.
Fred Casillas says...
"Eager to see the third year guys (Clelin Ferrell, Maxx Crosby and Trayvon Mullen) make a statement jump up in level of play."
Going into training camp, these are the three players on defense I'm expecting the most out of.
These individuals won't exactly be fighting for just a starting spot this offseason. It's a little more than just that. They've already proven that they are capable of being starters in their first two seasons and are poised to see a lot of snaps again this year.
These three players are essentially fighting for supremacy over the defense. Going into their third seasons, the expectations will be for them to be bonafide leaders on this defense. While they're all still incredibly young, they need to set the tempo and be examples for everyone else on the defense -- especially as they continue to adapt to defensive coordinator Gus Bradley's new system. I would throw third-year player Johnathan Abram in this mix as well as someone who also needs to continue to make that leap.
While they've all shown they can be good players in the league, this will be the year they have to prove if they can be great players in this league.
Mark Faber says...
"The battles along the D-line and safety positions."
Both of these battles will be so intriguing due to the depth at both positions.
The defensive line has been bolstered this offseason to combat the Raiders' recent issues of rushing the quarterback. The issues will hopefully be resolved by the start of the regular season as the team has brought in Yannick Ngakoue, Solomon Thomas, Quinton Jefferson, Darius Philon and Matt Dickerson. While there are high expectations for the new additions, they'll have to compete hard for spots with the likes of retuning players such as Crosby, Ferrell and Johnathan Hankins.
Fortunately, Gus Bradley will be taking a "the more the merrier" approach to his defensive linemen this year saying earlier this offseason, "You can never have enough edge rushers." The large amount of defensive linemen will hopefully benefit the Raiders in keeping players fresh and consistently building up a suitable pass rush.
As for the safety position, the Raiders have a good combination of young, hungry players and experienced veterans who can adjust. While the team has a lot of excitement for rookies Tre’von Moehrig and Tyree Gillespie to make their mark on the defense, they'll have to compete with Abram and Karl Joseph for snaps this training camp. While all four guys will find their way in the defense, it will be exciting to see who can set themselves apart from the rest.
As the Silver and Black get ready for 2021 Training Camp, take a look back at photos from past camps.