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What the Raiders need to see vs. 49ers

A few things to looking for in tonight’s Raiders-49ers game at lovely Candlestick Park:

– Can JaMarcus Russell build on a decent opening game against Dallas as the Raiders attempt to build a viable passing offense?

His primary target in that game, Chaz Schilens, is out for a minimum of a month. He has two rookie starters at wideout in Darrius Heyward-Bey and Louis Murphy.

Russell has also been inconsistent at practice. As much as he’ll be compared to the 49ers’ Alex Smith as a former No. 1 overall pick, the real comparison is with Shaun Hill, the favorite to become the 49ers starter.

Hill’s reputation is that of a quarterback who doesn’t look good in practice but is better in games. Russell has been an inconsistent practice quarterback since he arrived, at least those conducted in the presence of the media.

If Russell can look relatively sharp and lead a scoring drive or two, the whole nightmarish practice sequence Wednesday against the 49ers is a meaningless footnote. A poor performance, and it’s reason for concern.

– Can Jeff Garcia lend a spark?

Russell’s going to be the quarterback when the season starts, but if he struggles and Garcia emerges from the bench to direct a touchdown drive before taking the rest of the night off, the “quarterback controversy” chatter begins. Garcia looked pretty good in his practices against the 49ers, active and creative.

– Can Darren McFadden put the running back issue to rest?

The second-year halfback gets the start tonight, with Michael Bush opening against the Saints next week. If he’s as good against San Francisco as he was against Dallas, it’s another step toward being the closest thing the Raiders will have to a feature back.

– Nick Miller _ preseason flash or legitimate possibility for the 53-man roster?

The Raiders have been creative in their use of Miller throughout training camp, lining up occasionally in the backfield, running plays which suit his skills. They don’t do this unless they’re serious about keeping him aboard.

Schilens injury means they may need to keep another wide receiver. The difficult part is the Raiders already have a very good kickoff return specialist in Justin Miller, and would have to believe Nick Miller is nearly as good. If that’s the case, then the decision is whether Nick Miller is more valuable as a receiver than Justin Miller is as a cornerback.

– What’s up with Capt. Kirk?

Kirk Morrison will start at middle linebacker, but Ricky Brown had a very good week of practice. A player-by-player salary roster I obtained last year said Morrison is due $545,000 in salary this year but notes an “up to $5.2 million escalator.” That means he could be due considerably more, although admittedly I don’t know how much more.

Ricky Brown was retained at the $1.6 million tender. If Morrison’s salary is due a huge bump well past that of Brown’s, we may have our answer regardless of what happens against the 49ers.

– Pass rush, anyone?

Trevor Scott has been relatively quiet throughout training camp, but had some good rushes during the week against the 49ers. Last week’s “10 Mississippi” count where Tony Romo threw a touchdown pass to Jason Witten was embarrassing.

– We probably won’t see much of the first team defense if it’s anything like the preseason opener against Dallas, but will it be the one that stuffed the Cowboys back at their own end for a three-and-out, or the that got shredded on its second series and looked a lot like what we’ve seen in past years?

– How well will the Raiders cover tight end Vernon Davis?

Davis put the Oakland defense through a rough patch Wednesday when he scored touchdowns three times in four plays, and he’s looked like a much improved player this season. The Raiders open with Antonio Gates and San Diego.

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Jerry McDonald - NFL Writer

  • http://blstb.msn.com/i/55/90A2853B6CFBCC2AFC987BB18B832.jpg vegas raider

    PUHLEAZE no injuries!!!

  • lefty12

    a chance M.Mitchell might get in the game tonight.

  • Tonio

    CHeckin in… let the game begin!!!!! Cmon Raiders… Improve the passing game… improve the o line play… improve the run D..

  • No More Infield or Trolls

    Mitchell out until the opener I think…

  • DMunoz 26

    Mitchell is going to knock the snot out of Crabtree tonight!

  • lefty12

    i’m listening to the pre-game show on the radio.Mitchell MIGHT get in the game tonight.

  • raidergo

    what was that website you could watch the game on again?

  • He Hate Me

    I hope Bly breaks his leg. That ought to shut him up!

  • lefty12

    Dline coach D.Board was talking up M.Shaunessy(?).said he is an exciting talent.

  • SaintKaufman

    Michael Bush goes off tonight. Should be fun.

    Go Raiders!

  • armond

    hopefully they come out agitated with all that shit talking the whiners were doing. u dont let another team apunk and walk away.

  • armond

    punk u and walk away i mean

  • ctraidersfan

    let the dmac show begin.

    go raiders

  • He Hate Me

    Uh Oh. Put in Fargas! lol

  • armond

    that was inexcusable by j rock. bey was wide open

  • http://raidermight.com RaiderMight

    Ugly first drive!

  • http://raidermight.com RaiderMight

    Warren already breathing hard.

  • Tonio

    that place is empty… you cant tell me it’s sold out… Decent defensive stand… but really… if their TE could catch… the drive would still be moving…

  • SaintKaufman

    For all we know Armond Russell put that one in the right spot. Rookie WR’s often miss their routes….

  • armond

    it looked like they did put in fargas

  • armond

    fukk

  • Tonio

    nice strike… nice way to hold on to the ball

  • He Hate Me

    Dude! Fix your helmet!!

  • armond

    mcfadden and russell slip? guess they both have turf toe

  • armond

    that oline has to get a better push on run plays but its still early

  • Norco Bob

    Thank God I decided against going,..Russell is beyond embarrassing.

  • Norco Bob

    Put Garcia in now,…Russell wouldnt make it in the UFL …him and his mink and lame ass mohawk are completely embarrassing.

  • Norco Bob

    Nice D on 3rd down fellahs…lol

  • Norco Bob

    Alex smith destroyed ellis!!!…lmao

  • armond

    howard hittin mofos about time

  • Norco Bob

    1st and goal for raiders…I garuntee you all its a field goal.

  • armond

    hell yeah. damn alex smith should be a safety

  • Norco Bob

    put garcia in dammit!!!!

  • NoMoreFargas

    Oh no fargas in run into pile for nothing

  • Norco Bob

    ellis is no longer a tough guy for what alex smith did to him,…lol

  • Norco Bob

    put garcia in now!!!

  • Norco Bob

    ready seabass?

  • Norco Bob

    did I tell you or what?…russell is a total bitch.

  • Norco Bob

    lol

  • NoMoreFargas

    Man we can’t even score from the 7 damn

  • Norco Bob

    GET RID OF THAT BIG FAT LOSER RUSSELL NOW!!!

  • NoMoreFargas

    So glad we had bush in on those goal line plays

  • armond

    murphy shouldve caught that the last throw russell shouldve stepped into. that damn oline has to be tougher in goal and short yardage plays

  • Norco Bob

    DDDDUUUHHHH…..IIIIMMMAAAA QQQQUAARTERBACK IN DA MFL…..LMAO!!!!!!

  • 24

    Lame. Take the points.

  • armond

    i dont get it either no more fargas. why not have bush in there?

  • Norco Bob

    NUMBER ONE OVERALL..65 MILLION DOLLARS….LMAO.

  • Florida Pete

    that’s good pursuit…

  • Norco Bob

    I THINK RUSSELL IS GONNA MAKE THE PRO BOWL. LMAO

  • armond

    as soon as kelly left i figured that would happen. well our oline isnt being physical enough yet.