Although Friday marks the Raiders first preseason game, fans need to observe the happenings in Arizona. For the journey to Minneapolis starts on Glendale, AZ, this game will give RaiderNation a start. In the glimpse, fans will see the majority of the 2017 roster play. With that said, many questions arise entering the tilt with the Arizona Cardinals?
- Does Sean Smith’s demotion signal the end of his time and Oakland? With the inconsistent flow of camp news, media jumps all over any bit of news. Under those circumstances, corner Sean Smith playing with the second team strikes some as breaking news. In reality, Smith will play in Oakland for the 2017 season. On March 11, his 2017 salary became guaranteed. In other words, if the Raiders decide to release him, they are still on the hook for his entire 8.5 million dollar salary. So, they will find a role on this team if he does not claim the other starting corner spot.
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- What must Clive Walford do to open eyes in Arizona? Immediately, Walford needs to remind the coaching staff why the Raiders drafted him in the second round. Behind Jared Cook on the depth chart should snap Walford out of any funk. Basically, this game needs to be his rise. No one is saying having a monster preseason game cures anything. Yet, coaches hope to see signs of life. In the background of Walford’s memory needs to sit this fact: He replaced Mychal Rivera. Now, Jared Cook is here.
- Which middle linebacker hopeful strikes first? For months, the middle linebacker spot stays open and no movement to acquire a big name free agent. Currently, Cory James looks to have a slight lead entering this game. However, with four games and ample snaps, Marquel Lee could emerge to challenge. At this point, someone needs to take the job with strong play.
- With extended playing time, which backup offensive lineman could shine? Granted, exhibition games are never about the starters. In that case, the reserves see large chunks of time. Rookie David Sharpe. At the present time, Sharpe is listed as the backup right tackle. With that spot in constant flux, Sharpe can draw attention with positive play.
- Can Johnny Holton parlay a strong preseason past into future targets? In 2016, Johnny Holton gifts of agility and speed tantalized fans. Yet, his eight touches were either an indictment against the team’s faith in him or former OC Bill Musgrave. Whatever the case, Holton, at age 26, must start to force coaches to play him. His roster spot remains anything but a lock.
In essence, the game versus the Cardinals means nothing statistically. In contrast, jobs could either be secured or opened up with play.