Oakland Raiders v Detroit Lions: Key Players to Watch
David Wilson – Aug 22, 2012
The Oakland Raiders will host the Detroit Lions on Saturday for their third pre-season game against with a number of questions still to be answered. Several players really have something to prove against the Lions, whether they are competing for a starting spot, or just a spot on the roster .
Because of the roster chaos of pre-season, where it is tough to say who will be on the field at any time, I am just going to look at the key players until the regular season starts.
So here goes…
Mike Goodson - RB. Despite reports of a good camp, Goodson was shockingly bad in his first game against Arizona, with six carries for five yards including two fumbles. He also left the game with ‘weakness in his shoulder’. Goodson was supposedly a good fit for the zone blocking system and showed some promise in Carolina, but will have to do much better if he wants to show he is a viable backup to Darren McFadden.
In all honesty, Lonyae Miller has looked better on game day. Goodson’s main competition Taiwan Jones is now back from injury and has a chance to show his talent. It might not be Goodson’s chance to backup McFadden his is fighting for, but his roster spot.
Fumbles are game killers for a team, if Goodson can’t hang on to the ball, he won’t be here long.
Lucas Nix – G. Line play often gets missed as the skill players are the stars of the show, but Lucas Nix is definitely worth watching. He has quietly put together two good performances, and expect him once again to see extended playing time on Saturday. Nix was a projected 3rd/4th round pick but went undrafted due to injury concerns. He now seems to have addressed those, having not missed a snap for the Raiders so far.
So the problem for the Raiders is this, if they cut Nix after a good and healthy pre-season, it will be unlikely that they can sign him to the practice squad because another team would probably sign him to an active roster. But Oakland will also struggle to keep four guards on their roster with Mike Brisiel, Tony Bergstrom, and Cooper Carlisle too.
With Bergstrom also playing well, these young lions have a chance to knock Carlisle not just out of a starting spot, but off the roster.
Bergstrom stays for sure, but it could be a choice between Nix and Carlisle, so Nix’s play Saturday will be a key factor in deciding who stays and who goes.
Miles Burris LB. I was, and indeed am, a fan of the Burris pick, and I think he has great potential for Oakland. Right now though, he just looks lost out there. Through two games, I have seen him make only one good play.
He shoots gaps but misses the ball carrier, but much of the time struggles to locate the ball at all. If Burris starts week one with this level of play, it will be an issue and opposing offenses will go after him. He needs to locate the ball better, be better in coverage, and just be more physical. It may be just a matter of time and familiarity, but Burris needs to show more than he has so far in order to be a viable starter.
His play may be the reason that Andre Carter was brought in this week for a try out. Not as an end, but for some insurance at linebacker. If Aaron Curry isn’t ready to go week one, I have say I would be worried to start Burris without some considerable improvement.
Watch Burris on Sunday, I will be.
Lamarr Houston DE. What you are seeing this year is the new, slimmed down version of Lamarr Houston, who has dropped 20lbs this off season to try and bring more speed off the edge. It certainly has worked, and Houston has really brought pressure the last two games.
Although he hasn’t had the numbers in terms of sacks the last two years, in terms of pressure Houston has always been good even amongst a good unit (statistics via www.profootballfocus.com)
This season he will be better, and I truly believe he will have a breakout year. Lions right tackle Gosder Cherilus isn’t the best, and expect him to really struggle against Houston. This is a player on the rise who is going to be a star for Oakland in 2012.
With the continued development of Lamarr Houston, the Raiders have a truly dominant defensive line around which to base Jason Tarver’s new defense.
As we have said since pre-season started, these games might not count but they matter. They will go a long way to determining who is on the roster come opening day.
For real Raider Nation fans, these games are a great insight into the team.
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