There are a few things that Raider Nation should keep an eye on this Sunday when the Oakland Raiders travel to take on the Tennessee Titans, 1 P.M. Eastern Time at Nissan Stadium.
All eyes will be on the Oakland defense in Week 1 as they travel to take on a potent Titans offense. Communication on all fronts will be imperative to any success the defense plans on having Sunday. If these issues are not fixed soon amongst the secondary, quarterback Marcus Mariota could be in store for an explosive outing. The same holds true for the front seven. If the preseason was any indication, we are in for a long night. Can Marquel Lee step up and take over the MLB position?
With the exception of Bruce Irvin and Khalil Mack, virtually all the linebackers are young and have minimal, if any, NFL experience. Will this young defense hold up against the Titans’ revamped wide receiving corps and two bruising running backs?
A lot has been made of assistant coach John Pagano joining the Raiders staff. Rumors are already circulating that Pagano and defensive coordinator Ken Norton Jr. are sharing play calling duties. If these rumors are indeed true, will we see a difference on the field? The poor performance during the preseason certainly didn’t look good nor did it help Norton but let’s remember: that was preseason. When the first string defenders were on the field, the defense looked much better than what the final scores might have indicated; just something to keep in mind.
Mariota has been known to be a mobile QB throughout his young playing career, and with a young defensive front seven for Oakland, Mariota’s legs may do just as much damage as his arm on Sunday.
Nearly every situation Derek Carr has been asked to face, the same holds true for Mariota. These two young budding superstars both suffered a similar fate in 2016, and are each seeking to further their teams in the right direction. All eyes are going to be on these two potential superstars come Sunday, and I, for one, cannot wait to see how it plays out.