Rams vs. Raiders: 3 Things to Watch

Not since they were the Los Angeles Raiders have the Silver and Black played in the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. They return there to face the Rams and play there for the first time since 1994 and it will mark the first time Jon Gruden has coached in the historic stadium.

This Saturday afternoon, the Raiders return to their old stomping ground of the L.A. Coliseum, where they’ll take on the Los Angeles Rams. Let’s take a look at the Top 3 things Raider Nation should look for in this Week 2 preseason encounter:

#1: How long will the starters play?

The Raiders and Rams face off again in just three-and-a-half weeks, so it’s a fair assumption both sides will go into this game with vanilla game plans. Neither side is going to want to show their hand, so it’s quite possible the starters get less playing time than usual for the second preseason game. The Raiders want to get recently re-signed Donald Penn plenty of looks at right tackle, so he might get a series or two with the second stringers to build up familiarity at his new position. Rams coach Sean McVay won’t say how long his starters will play, if at all, but that won’t have much bearing on how the Raiders go about their business.

#2: Conley’s return to the gridiron

gareon conley oakland raiders rams

Will Conley see game action against the Rams?

Saturday will mark defensive back Gareon Conley’s first snaps since Week 3 last season. When healthy, coaches and media have praised his performance. He has the potential to be a true No. 1 cover corner, provided he stays healthy. That has proven a big “if” in his short career. In an interesting development, Conley told reporters this week that the Raiders medical staff initially anticipated a four-week recovery period for his latest hip strain, but he recovered in just a fortnight. This suggests that initial reports of a vitamin D deficiency leading to slow recovery were wrong, or that the support they’ve provided to help with the deficiency is working. Either way, getting Conley on the field can only be seen as good news for a team needing talent on the back end of the defense. Now, he just has to play up to his talent.

#3: Competition for roster spots is just getting started

Given the minimal time the starters might play, the second- and third-stringers should get ample time to get snaps on tape — for the benefit of the Raiders and for the other 31 teams in the league that will scan the film in search of a few waiver-wire gems at the final roster cuts. On offense, quarterback Connor Cook will need to return to last Friday night’s form following a poor week on the practice field, while the slot receiver spot is one to watch given Griff Whalen received some first-team reps in practice this week.

On defense, Fadol Brown, Tank Carradine and Shilique Calhoun will push for spots on the defensive line, while Erik Harris and Shalom Luani should receive plenty of snaps with Marcus Gilchrist and Obi Melifonwu out injured. Lastly, Marquel Lee is a player to watch this week. Lee is a stout run defender with questionable cover skills, but if he can show himself to be adequate in the passing game, Derrick Johnson will have a battle on his hands to get on the field in a meaningful way.

Game Info:

Oakland Raiders at Los Angeles Rams

Saturday, 1PM PDT, United Airlines Memorial Coliseum

Television: NFL Network (National), Fox 5 (Las Vegas)

Streaming: fuboTV (Try it free)

Line: Rams, -2 (-125) (William Hill)