Leading up to the Raiders-Lions exhibition game at 4:00 p.m. (which will be broadcast delayed on KICU Channel 36 at 7 p.m. PST), Paul Gutierrez takes a look at four questions, in the form of downs, facing fans and the Raiders...
First Down -- What happened to DeMarcus Van Dyke?
Second Down -- Will Rolando McClain cover Calvin Johnson downfield again?
Third Down -- How different will the offensive playcalling be this time around?
Fourth Down -- With first cuts coming Monday, would the Raiders hide a "bubble guy" to keep teams from scouting him?
Let's let coach Dennis Allen take a crack at this one. "Potentially," he said, "if we feel like we have guys who will fit that category." Honesty. Refreshing and stark.
The Raiders, like 31 other NFL teams, might feel the need to not play fringe roster guys they like but won't keep on the 53-man roster. The thinking is, by playing or even highlighting someone they'll probably cut, they are essentially showcasing said players for other teams scanning the waiver wires. By not playing them and thus, keeping the secret on them to themselves, they are more likely to fall back to the Raiders as a practice squad candidate or remain a free agent until the Raiders truly need them on the final 53-man roster. Get it?
"Were going to try to do everything we can to keep the guys we feel like will be good football players," Allen said. "Well decide those as we go along. We certainly don't want to make available a guy we think might be a good player." See, it's all a chess match.