Table For 3: Calhoun, Lee and Cook need to elevate game Saturday

Ray at believes these three youngsters will need to step up in the second NFL preseason game for the Raiders.

Ready for tease No. 2?

That is what we will get when the Oakland Raiders host to the Los Angeles Rams this Saturday night. It is preseason game number two and another sneak-peek into both squads.

Based off of what occurred in the Raiders preseason opener, here’s a trio that needs to step up during Saturday’s tilt.

Shilique Calhoun

The second-year linebacker accounted for one quarterback hit and nothing else of note against the Cardinals in the preseason opener. Moreover, then came reports of offensive tackle Marshall Newhouse “having his way” with the former Michigan State Spartan. That is not a good look, especially for a player who bulked up in hopes of a more impactful year two.

Fortunately for Calhoun, we are still in the early goings. A strong performance against the visiting Los Angeles Rams this Saturday night can steer the narrative in a positive direction.

PFF Edge


It is all about making the nondescript performances a thing of the past from here on out.

Marquel Lee

Yes, he did get washed out on run plays. Furthermore, yes, he could not keep up with a “scatback” in pass coverage. What did you expect from a fifth-round rookie in the preseason opener? He racked up six total tackles (five solos) against Arizona last Saturday, and more live, in-game repetition will only do the former Demon Deacon good.

Lee has indeed seen the film, knows what he needs to do to improve. Let’s see if he can put the teachings to practice. An aggressive and stronger outing — being stouter against the run, showing he can indeed cover runners out of the backfield —  against the Rams can cement Lee’s status as the starting middle linebacker.

After all, it is Lee’s job to lose.

Connor Cook

The Raiders were prepared to go with the second-year QB as Derek Carr’s backup. Reclamation project E.J. Manuel has changed all that. Cook, a fourth-round pick in 2016, has fallen behind Manuel, a former first-round pick.

Cook needs a much better showing than the 10-for-21, 82-yard performance he had against the Cardinals to make up some ground or overtake Manuel (10-for-12, 107 yards in the preseason opener). While Manuel has found the accuracy that eluded him during his tenure with the Buffalo Bills, Cook has become scattered-armed and isn’t delivering the ball through a tight window like his counterpart.

As we have seen from Carr, accuracy is a big part of the Raiders’ offense.

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1 thought on “Table For 3: Calhoun, Lee and Cook need to elevate game Saturday”

  1. I really hope that Calhoun is able to elevate his game. It would be terrific if both he and Ward became consistent contributors. For the first time in a decade and a half the Raiders are close to possessing considerable depth at every position.

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