With the very beginnings of the season kicking off, and the Oakland Raiders landing an NFL Network spot, there are a few things at stake for the first preseason game.

Here are a few items that Raider Nation should be keeping an eye on during Friday’s exhibition:

The Gruden Offense

Week 1 in the preseason is little more than a dress rehearsal of a dress rehearsal. Even with that reality, the focus will be on the performance of all of the quarterbacks, even if the starter will only get one series. With Jon Gruden’s return, and the afterglow of last years tire fire, the entire football community is waiting to see sparks fly. It may not matter but if the offense struggles to put up 20 points in an exhibition, expect mild panic in the Black Hole.

Where’s the Mack?

With All-Pro defensive end Khalil Mack holding out for a new contract, the focus turns to “the other guys”. Between veteran Bruce Irvin, and the cacophony of young defensive linemen, fans and, pundits will be interested to see how they perform. The vanilla schemes of the preseason allow for the d-line to go to work without over thinking. Now an eight sack performance would still mean very little but some consistent pressure would be encouraging for a unit that could use a good start.

Kicking Duel

With the release of fan favorite Giorgio Tavecchio, the kicking group has narrowed down to Eddy Pineiro and Mike Nugent. Gruden’s logic for the release was keeping consistency with all right footed kickers. He continued further by saying it would come down to preseason games and alas here we are. If any kicker was to take the lead it would start on Friday.

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