This is it, the all-important third preseason game that teams use as a dress rehearsal for the regular season. And for the Raiders, what better challenge for their rebuilt defense than the passing juggernaut that is the Detroit Lions?
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The Raiders, who will have had a full week to gameplan for the Lions after playing Arizona a mere four days after opening their exhibition season against Dallas, will come into the game missing several recognizable names. Receivers Denarius Moore (right hamstring) and Jacoby Ford (left foot) will miss the game, as will linebacker Aaron Curry (knees) and center Stefen Wisniewski (right calf). Backup quarterback Matt Leinart (right index finger), tight ends Richard Gordon (ribs) and Tory Humphrey (hamstring) and defensive tackle Richard Seymour (veteran-itis) will be gametime decisions for the the exhibition, which will be broadcast delayed on KICU Channel 36 at 7 p.m. PT.
Still, tight end Brandon Myers (shoulder) and running back Taiwan Jones (hamstring) will make their preseason debuts, and the Raiders' starters should play into the third quarter. Four questions, then, in the form of downs, facing fans and the Raiders heading into their exhibition game at the Coliseum
First down -- I thought you said DeMarcus Van Dyke had a great camp?
He did, at least early on. Before veteran Ron Bartell's balky hamstring allowed him to practice, DVD was having the best camp of the defensive backs. But two things happened when Bartell returned -- Shawntae Spencer's play improved dramatically, and DVD's play in exhibition games took a turn for the worse, giving up big pass after big pass against Dallas and Arizona.
"I would really like to see him play like he plays out here (in practice), and just play (how) we know he can do," said defensive coordinator Jason Tarver. "And he's heard that from me this week, so that's what I'd like him to do. Play like he plays at practice, because he plays pretty good at practice."
To his credit, Van Dyke agreed. "Ive got to pick it up," said the second-year cornerback. "Im not satisfied with how Ive been playing. I havent been playing like I thought I was supposed to be. But its a process, its game by game, preseason games. So hopefully this game Ill come out and play good."
And this time, he'll have the ultimate measuring stick in Detroit's Calvin Johnson.