The Los Angeles Rams lost their preseason opener in the battle for LA but hope to make it into the win column this Saturday against the Las Vegas Raiders. This will mark the final time the Rams play in front of their home crowd until Week 2 of the regular season.
Much like LA, the Raiders are going through a rebuild although they aren’t willing to admit it. I’ll discuss that along with who to be on the lookout for this Saturday with Matt Holder from SB Nation’s Raiders blog Silver and Black Pride.
Q - Who has been the main standout for the Raiders in training camp so far?
A - The reviews from camp have been pretty positive so far so it’s hard to pick one guy, but former Ram Marcus Peters has looked pretty good. The Raiders defense desperately needed someone who can create turnovers and that’s what Peters has done in practice. It felt like he had one pick every day last week and it seems to be rubbing off on the other defenders as they had six interceptions in a joint practice with the 49ers last week.
One guy that’s worth noting who will be playing on Saturday is defensive tackle, Nesta Jade Silvera. He’s lightning-quick off the ball and can be a disruptive run defender, living in the offense’s backfield. Silvera was a seventh-round pick but he’s been turning heads and Maxx Crosby was signing his praises last week.
Q - On the flip side, who would you consider to be the biggest disappointment in camp?
A - It’s tough because he hasn’t practiced yet but Tyree Wilson. Wilson suffered a foot injury toward the end of his last season at Texas Tech and hasn’t practiced at all. I know they’re just easing him back and trying to play it safe, but it’s not a good feeling when your first-round pick—and a top-10 pick at that—hasn’t even put pads on in mid-August.
Q - Have there been any notable surprises and how has LV’s rookie class fared in practice?
A - Silvera, mentioned above, has definitely been the biggest surprise given his draft status and how well he’s played. Fourth-round pick, quarterback Aidan O’Connell started training camp a little rough but picked it up last week and then was really impressive in the preseason game. He went 15 of 18 in the first half and only one incompletion was his fault, so he’s been really accurate and executing Josh McDaniels’ offense well lately. The Raiders’ other fourth-round pick, cornerback Jakorian Bennett, has also turned some heads and was listed as the third corner on the team’s initial depth chart for what that’s worth.
Q - What would you like to see most out of the Raiders in their second preseason game against the Rams?
A - I’d like to see someone take command of the running back battle. The hope right now is that Josh Jacobs shows up for Week 1 but that’s not a given seeing as he hasn’t reported yet nor signed the franchise tag, so the Raiders’ depth at running back will be tested this season and they don’t have a good second option yet. Zamir White is the most likely option, but he struggled as a rookie last year and didn’t look much better last week.
Q - What are your realistic expectations for the Raiders as they head into Josh McDaniels’ second season at the helm in Vegas?
A - My expectations for them this season are pretty low, six or seven wins. The Raiders won’t outwardly say it, but it’s pretty clear they’re rebuilding this year and trying to get younger, especially on defense. I’m more concerned about how some of their first- and second-year players develop this season than their record.