As of 5 p.m. Pacific time (8 p.m. ET), Raiders football is back. They take to the field to take on the Jacksonville Jaguars in the Hall of Fame game in Canton Ohio as the first NFL action of any kind leading up to the 2022 season.
With that, here are a few things to look at
1. Wide receiving corps battle
The Raiders know what they have in Davante Adams and Hunter Renfrow. But after that, it’s a total battle for game time. Mack Hollins has gotten most of the press, but don’t think about Keelan Cole, Demarcus Robinson and Tyron Johnson.
All four of these receivers bring a different set of skills to the table and hope to be picked at the start of the regular season to draft on the outside.
2. Backup QB Split
It’s unlikely we’ll see Derek Carr take the field in this game. We’re more likely to see the battle between Jarret Stidham and Nick Mullens in full view.
Stidham has the advantage of having played Josh McDaniels’ offense for the past two seasons. Although Mullens is more established, he has appeared in 20 NFL games, started 17 and has thrown 26 touchdowns.
See who gets on the field first. Then how long they play and, of course, how they perform the attack.
3. Offensive Line Makeup
The only spot on the Raiders offensive line that is definitely sealed is Kolton Miller on the left tackle. Every other place is technically up for grabs.
Watch to see who is queuing where and when. Particularly on the right side where guard and tackle are completely confused.
Denzelle Good’s surprise retirement really opened up the right guard position, while with the right tackle, no one grabbed the position and never let go.
In the mix at RT include Alex Leatherwood, Brandon Parker, Jermaine Eluemunor and Thayer Munford. As for RG, Lester Cotton Sr has been given the chance to hold a starting job but he will have to hold off rookie Dylan Parham, Alex Bars and maybe Leatherwood or Eluemunor depending on which of them loses the RT job.
And while we may not be able to give these guys too much credit for holding their own against second and third team defenders, if they struggle, it certainly won’t bode well for them.
4. Fill in angles
Like the wide receiver corps, it appears that two of the three take-off spots have been arranged. In this case, it’s Rock Ya-Sin and Nate Hobbs whose places are safe.
The questions come first where the team sets up Hobbs. He was excellent in the closing stages as a rookie last season, so much so that with Trayvon Mullen injured, Hobbs is sometimes on the outside of the line too.
Will they align him to the outside in the game? If so, who will take their place in the slot? If not, who will start opposite Ya-Sin on the outside corner? The battle for game time between those who pass tonight seems to be mainly between Anthony Averett, Darius Phillips and Amik Robertson. But there is still a chance for some of the others to earn some snaps as well.
5. Linebacker Opportunities
This week, two of the Raiders’ top linebacker free-agent additions were lost for the season. Both Kyler Fackrell and Micah Kizer were sent to the injured reserve, forcing the team to fight to find a suitable replacement.
While Divine Deablo and Jayon Brown are the top two contenders for outside linebacker playing time, there are now only two other outside linebackers on OLB: Kenny Young and Luke Masterson.
Losing players to injuries is part of the game. When it happens, players like Young and Masterson will have more opportunities to earn a place on the list and prove that they can contribute. For them, the work of special teams becomes just as important, if not more important, than their game as a linebacker.
Story originally appeared on Raiders Wire