Four Raiders questions: No. 2 -- Who's affected by signings?

Four Raiders questions: No. 2 -- Who's affected by signings?
August 30, 2012, 7:21 pm
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Editor's note: This is the second of a four-part series posing Insider Paul Gutierrez's four biggest questions facing the Raiders in their final preseason game.

SEATTLE -- If ever there was a preseason game that meant next to nothing, this is it -- the fourth and final exhibition. Just don't tell that to the bubble guys trying to make one last impression before rosters are reduced to 53 players by 6 p.m. PT on Friday. Which begs the question, why would Raiders coach Dennis Allen risk playing his starters more than one series in Seattle, let alone against an eager beaver trying to make Seattle's roster by taking out a name player? It's about reps and cohesion and familiarity for Allen and his new-look Raiders in this game, broadcast now on KICU Channel 36 at 7 p.m. in the Bay Area. Four questions, then, in the form of downs, facing fans and the Raiders heading into their final exhibition game

First down -- Who can make their best case tonight?
Second down -- Who is affected the most by this week's signings of returners Roscoe Parrish and Coye Francies?

Knee-jerk answer -- Eddie McGee, DeMarcus Van Dyke, Chimdi Chekwa and, drum roll please, Jacoby Ford. Wait, what? Hear me out. Parrish was signed to return punts and unless he falls on his face in Seattle -- he's averaged 12.0 yards per punt return in his career and the Raiders are averaging 4.4 yards this preseason -- Parrish makes the squad not only as the team's punt returner, but as its sixth receiver. And McGee did not acquit himself well last week against Detroit with his two slips and the ball that bounced off his hands for an interception.

Francies, meanwhile, is a kick returner and defensive back, so the two second-year DBs in Van Dyke and Chekwa have been put on notice, so to speak. Neither of the youngsters have played particularly well in the preseason, despite Van Dyke having a strong start to camp.

So how does this affect Ford? Well, Ford was supposed to act as both the punt and kick returner this season but his injuring his foot in Arizona in the second preseason game forced the Raiders' hand in trying out others at the gigs. And while Ford, who will not play against the Seahawks, is also Oakland's third receiver, guess who else plays the slot -- Parrish. Just something to chew on while watching the game.