Raiders Blog and Q&A

News, observations and reader questions about the Oakland Raiders

August 7, 2008
Preseason preview (Game 1)

No practice today. The Raiders will have a brief walkthrough in preparation for Friday night's preseason game against the 49ers in Oakland.

Here are some players to watch (other than the obvious, QB JaMarcus Russell):

WR Javon Walker. He's been handled gently during training camp as he recovers from a knee injury suffered with Denver last year. He's also been in a fragile mental state, having offered to retire last week. Raiders coach Lane Kiffin wants to see more of a commitment from Walker to be on the field and to give it his all when he's on the field. He looked as "in" to a practice as he as on Wednesday night. Perhaps it's a sign that Walker is committed to playing football.

RB Michael Bush. Kiffin wants this 246-pound runner to punish ballcarriers every chance he gets. Bush being a big back that shies away from contact would be a disappointment, so look for him to lower the boom when needed. But Bush shouldn't be so intent on running defenders over that he forgets to use his elusiveness in the open field when he has the opportunity.

RB Darren McFadden: This will be his first time against NFL competition. McFadden looks fast and explosive in practice, but how will that translate in a game situation? Also, will McFadden line up all over the field or will the Raiders allow him to focus on playing running back?

LT Kwame Harris: He continues to look more comfortable with each practice, but performing in game situations is paramount to Harris' growth. And don't think the 49ers don't know how to beat their former first-round pick.

QB Andrew Walter: The No. 2 quarterback needs to show he is a reliable backup. He's missed practice with what the team is calling a tired arm. If that's a lingering problem, Marques Tuiasosopo better be ready.

All LBs not named Kirk Morrison or Thomas Howard: Kiffin has let it be known everyone other than his two star linebackers better be good on defense and on special teams to make the team. Realistically Ricky Brown and Robert Thomas are probably safe, too. But expect everyone in this group to try to do something to impress.

The DT trio of Tommy Kelly, Terdell Sands and Gerard Warren: Kelly is working himself back into shape after knee surgery while Sands and Warren have been dinged a little bit Conditioning will be the thing to watch with Kelly and Sands, who has been slowed by a knee that had to be drained. Warren missed some time with a thigh injury but has practiced lately. Before a thigh injury last season, Warren was playing well.

--Jason Jones

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About Raiders Blog and Q&A

Matt Kawahara was born in Sacramento and attended McClatchy High School and UC Berkeley, where he wrote for the independent student paper The Daily Californian. He graduated from Cal in 2010 and started at The Sacramento Bee as a summer intern. He joined The Bee's sports staff in fall 2011.

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