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Five Raiders to watch against Tennessee Titans

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Jalen Richard will get his first chance to shine Saturday night. (AP Photo/Eric Risberg)

Jalen Richard is one of five Raiders to watch Saturday against the Titans. (AP Photo/Eric Risberg)

OAKLAND — On a roster that entered training camp fairly settled, the Raiders’ Saturday night tilt with the Tennessee Titans is the last chance for some players to make an impression.

Rosters will get cut from 90 players to 75 on Tuesday, a precursor to the more difficult drop to the 53-man roster following the final preseason game.

Raiders coach Jack Del Rio said he plans to play the starters at least for the first half and possibly into the third quarter against Tennessee, so those roster battles will take place mostly in the fourth quarter. 

Game planning for this one has been minimal with the Raiders slated to see the Titans a month later in Week 3 of the regular season.

“You always put a plan together, so technically you’re doing some portion of it,” Del Rio said of game planning. “Knowing that we’re going to play them early in the year, it was a little bit of understanding what you like and thoughts you had — more a collection of that. In terms of trying to let it all air out in Week 3, it’s not really a sound approach.”

The key, instead, will be for the Raiders to show their physicality. Neither team will likely display any exotic blitz packages or go-to offensive plays. But there’s still the opportunity to beat the man across the line on any given play and the Raiders would like to show they can win those battles.

Here are five Raiders to keep an eye on Saturday:

Running back Jalen Richard

The hype train riding this undrafted free agent back has gotten a little out of control.

Offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave raved about all the “spectacular” things Richard was doing in practice before he injured his knee and had to miss the first two preseason games. It’s true that Richard flashed in the early weeks of camp as much or more than anybody, but the real test of a running back comes in live action and he’s yet to see that.

The Raiders plan to give him — and DeAndre Washington — time with the first-team offensive line to get an accurate evaluation of both. That’s a big opportunity to cement Richard’s roster status.

Safety Nate Allen

Allen has had a knack for making plays in the preseason for the Raiders. He has seven tackles, an interception and recovered a blocked punt for a touchdown thus far this year and had a two-interception game last year in the third exhibition.

The veteran doesn’t project as a starter assuming the secondary stays healthy, but he probably will start Saturday with Reggie Nelson nursing an undisclosed injury. The big test is what Allen will do in the regular season, but continue solid preseason play boosts the confidence in the Raiders depth at safety.

Wide receiver Seth Roberts

It may have just been a ploy to push the young receiver a little, but Del Rio said earlier this week that Roberts was “being pushed.” It’s hard to imagine the team’s returning No. 3 receiver being in danger of not sticking around — especially with the rest of the receiving corps below him doing little to make an impact — but Roberts could probably use a big game Saturday to show he’s ready to take another leap.

Linebacker Ben Heeney

The starting middle linebacker struggled in Green Bay against the Packers’ physical run game, bringing up questions about if his 6-foot, 231-pound frame can handle the position. It came three days after he got dinged up in practice, but he said, “I was out there playing, so I was good.”

The Raiders are putting a lot of trust in him and teammates have praised Heeney and are confident in him at that role. A strong game against the Titans’ run-heavy attack would help ease some concerns as the season draws nearer.

Quarterback Derek Carr

There’s no reason to be concerned about Carr and the starting offense’s inability to find the end zone thus far. It will happen and this is preseason.

But if they are going to play another half or more of football this week, it sure would be nice to see Carr and his receivers connect a few more times and move down the field for a touchdown. The Raiders’ offense may be vanilla, but they won’t be facing a mint chip defense so it’s time to find the end zone, at least once.

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Jimmy Durkin

Sports writer for the Bay Area News Group, covering the Raiders.

  • Juice

    Didn’t they win like 11 games in a row? I’m not sure but it was something crazy like that.

  • R8der4evr

    It’s Jimmy

  • willy91137

    I love for this team to go to the playoffs this time next year this team to be Super Bowl contender

  • PodunkRaider (aka RRS)

    Carr loves Jesus. You rarely hear him talk about ‘Merica

  • SnBG

    You can’t count on those things happening. We need to come out of the gate decent.

  • BroKnowsL.A

    Cooooooooool!!!

  • R8RCatDave

    Oo

  • PodunkRaider (aka RRS)

    I see down below Oak r8rs compared me to East Oak (refresh):

  • R8der4evr

    Animated cartoons have more reality

  • PodunkRaider (aka RRS)

    why do you hate the Raiders?

  • BigTed707

    Pan right and tilt down!

  • BroKnowsL.A

    She’s so damn hot!

  • PodunkRaider (aka RRS)

    if Cork was still here, he’d tell you to kick rocks!!

  • R8der4evr

    Ha
    Some dudes in her need to get hit hard before they realze they can’t fight

  • BigTed707

    Saturday Morning Cartoons!
    Hanna-Barbera’s Wacky Races

  • PodunkRaider (aka RRS)

    some guys need to learn the hard way…refresh

  • R8der4evr

    Bought this at the Donkey game last year

  • R8der4evr

    Lol
    Why do I want them to leave their home town again????
    SMH

  • This is true. If we keep moving, we’ll be one of THOSE franchises.

  • R8der4evr

    Bro I grew up on that ish

  • BigTed707

    What does the NFL keep messing with the kickoff.
    Now kickers just kick it high and shallow. Keeping it out of the endzone, and returners are getting blasted inside the 15 yard line. It’s more dangerous now than ever, Imo

  • Some ass
    hole

  • Purvisman/Eternal Optimist

    Cool!

  • BigTed707

    Like Tramps. Riding the Rails.

  • To make it look like they’re trying.

  • Oak R8rs33.01

    Lmao. Was hoping you were lurking at the time.

  • R8der4evr

    Morning Man
    We left after being the most successful franchhise in sports history, we won 1 in LA but they were mostly Oakland Raiders besides Marcus and Howie and a few others, fact is we lost all our mojo, same thing would happen again and this team is on the verge of greatness too.
    Raiders are Oakland
    Oakland is The Raiders

  • BigTed707

    Kirk Cousins, “I love America and I hate Black People. You like that?”

  • R8der4evr

    Yes you are!!!

  • R8der4evr

    Ouch

  • BigTed707

    Where you been man? Week nights are getting lonely in here!

  • PodunkRaider (aka RRS)

    Raiders are already gone. Oakland has spoken. It’s over. if not Vegas, possibly San Diego or back to LA. Something will happen eventually. Mark Davis hasn’t spent all this time and money just to prod the locals. He’s moved on. They aren’t even talking

  • R8der4evr

    That’s a Fact Bill

  • PodunkRaider (aka RRS)

    i was playing catch up. East Oak and I are polar opposites. That dude hates me. He draws a closer comparison to Thec

  • It’s all a big ruse to force Oakland to cave in somewhat.

  • Oak R8rs33.01

    Do we haven’t draft order? Is it 16 rounds?

  • Raider D

    great post!

  • Oak R8rs33.01

    The only comparison was that you were both wrong a lot. Haha

  • R8der4evr

    BS
    Howard Terminsl is a real possibility as I have been saying since last year, this moving thing will linger on and the longer it does the better chance we stay
    WATCH

  • PodunkRaider (aka RRS)

    I’m one of those that started out by saying “we’ll be playing at O.Co until Jesus returns or Mark Davis sells, whichever comes first”. However, it seems like this LV thing has grown legs. Mark is not content. If he gets the opportunity, he’s gone.

  • SnBG

    I got to give it to you dude. You’re persistent in your believe the Raiders will stay. It anint over til it’s over right? Keep up the good fight dude.

  • timetojam

    Respect meter just hit zero. He’s done as a starter

  • Sir Raider Duck, OMS

    Anybody been to the Foro Sol in Mexico City? Black Sabbath is playing there on November 16, and we’re thinking of going?

  • San Diego? C’mon! Never happen. No one will go to LA and be Kroenke’s slave. No one will let San Antonio happen. Vegas seems plausible, but ultimately the NFL/owners want two franchises in Norcal, and ideally sharing the one already newly built stadium. The aversion to Vegas and gambling. The readiness of stadium investors to bail if public funding isn’t to the sum they want. There are still areas where Vegas can die in the ass.

  • Steveopa

    Colin has his right to his opinion as do you. The fact that as a country history shows all of us has not always been treated equally. Which means what the flag represents we built on a lie.

  • SnBG

    and to try and up the scoring.

  • Sir Raider Duck, OMS

    New post.

  • Raiderkoolaid

    I don’t hate him but the thing that concerns me about him is that after that big hit he took in Pittsburgh he wasn’t the same the rest of the year. Hopefully Washington and/or Richard turn out to be something so that we won’t be so dependent on one back.

  • DanfromVegas

    I agree. He is extremely talented and dis well under pressure in many instances, but when the game was on the line late in the game, he was usually terrible. I like the kid and hope he has a tremendous career with us, but his poise in the high pressure situations, not just when teamsteams are blitzing but when the game is on the line, is questionable to say the least.

  • PodunkRaider (aka RRS)

    feel free to leave anytime bro. don’t let the door hit you