The Las Vegas Raiders have had a rather measured preseason to match their new regime. Things that Raider fans may have taken for granted in the past-like disciplined play with little to no laundry on the field-are becoming a bit more commonplace. The new head coach, Josh McDaniels, will look to see this trend continue today when the Silver and Black take the field against the Miami Dolphins. Here are a few other things to look out for come kickoff.
Raiders vs. Dolphins: Keeping an eye on the defensive tackle rotation
After lengthy stints on the sidelines, the Raiders saw the return of their starting defensive tackles. Both Johnathan Hankins and Bilal Nichols have missed all of camp, and with the worrisome play of the backups in the previous preseason contests, defensive coordinator Patrick Graham has to be thrilled to have his starters back. We may not see very much of Hankins or Nichols, but with only one more tune-up week to go, it wouldn’t hurt to let them see a series on Saturday.
DJ Turner, Amik Robertson: Putting last week behind them
Last week, DJ Turner made plays in the passing game and on special teams. While it may not be truly connected, the Raiders did release Demarcus Robinson this week. Turner may have shown he has what it takes to impact the game in more facets than the former Kansas City Chief, but you’re only as good as your last game. Turner will need to continue to make his presence known if he hopes to lock up a roster spot. The same idea can be applied to third-year corner Amik Robertson. No, he didn’t exactly have the kind of impact Turner did. Quite the opposite.
After turning heads in practice and being talked up by the coaching staff, Robertson laid an egg against Minnesota. But that was last week. With cornerbacks Trayvon Mullen, Rock Ya-Sin, and Anthony Averett returning to the team this week, the Louisiana Tech alum will need to show he can make it happen during games or his stay in Las Vegas could be coming to an end.
Nick Mullens vs. Jarrett Stidham
The battle for the backup role at quarterback for the Raiders is getting into the later rounds. However, both competitors have plenty left in the tank.
The former New England Patriot, Jarrett Stidham, has looked solid overall in his first two games. Former Cleveland Brown signal-caller Nick Mullens had a shaky performance in Canton but would arguably outperform McDaniels’ handpicked carrier of the clip. While Stidham seemed averse to letting fly, missing more than a few wide-open receivers in favor of showing off his speed on the ground, Mullens delivered a beautiful strike to the aforementioned Turner for a 34-yard touchdown. Both guys led successful scoring drives and kept the turnover count at zero. Who will gain separation today in this Signal Caller Slugfest?
I ain’t hear no bell.
*Top Photo: USA Today/Touchdown Wire