I can only imagine how many “Eagles fans threw snowballs at Santa!” references there will be during a game that takes place on Christmas Day in Philadelphia. I’m already rolling my eyes despite the fact it’s five months away.
Dumb stereotypes shouldn’t distract from what could be a really intriguing inter-conference matchup on Monday Night Football. The Raiders finished with a 12-4 record last season. Young talents such as quarterback Derek Carr and Khalil Mack paved the way for Oakland’s success.
These Raiders aren’t your late era Al Davis Raiders. They’re much more competent and threatening. Oakland should give the Eagles a challenge in this one. Carr versus Carson Wentz has the potential to be a good quarterback battle.
Here’s a more in-depth look at the Raiders from our SB Nation associates over at Silver And Black Pride.
Notable free agent additions:
TE Jared Cook, WR/KR Cordarrelle Patterson, OT Marshall Newhouse, LB Jelani Jenkins, QB EJ Manuel
Notable free agent departures:
OT Menelik Watson, LB Malcolm Smith, DT Stacy McGee, RB Latavius Murray, CB DJ Hayden, TE Mychal Rivera, DT Dan Williams (cut), WR Andre Holmes, QB Matt McGloin, LB Daren Bates, S Brynden Trawick, S Nate Allen
Acquired Marshawn Lynch from Seahawks
Draft picks expected to contribute as rookies:
1st round pick Gareon Conley as slot corner, 2nd round pick Obi Melifonwu as hybrid LB/S, 3rd round pick Eddie Vanderdoes in rotation at DT/DE spot, 5th round pick Marquel Lee at inside linebacker, 7th round pick Shalom Luani on special teams.
Biggest offseason addition:
Marshawn Lynch. As far as free agents are concerned, it’s Jared Cook. He and Lynch are the only who will for sure immediately step into starting role.
Biggest storyline heading into training camp:
It’s always Marshawn Lynch. Mainly because he’s such a strong personality, but also because he’s playing for his hometown team after coming out of retirement and everyone wants to know if he can return to his All Pro form at age 31.
Under-the-radar storyline heading into training camp:
Will the Raiders add another inside linebacker? They still don’t have an answer at the position. Last year’s starter Perry Riley Jr hasn’t been re-signed and hasn’t signed anywhere else, so there is still a chance he could return or they could add another free agent linebacker. They cut two linebackers recently which adds to the possibility.
Notable injuries heading into training camp:
2016 2nd round pick Jihad Ward had offseason foot surgery and will miss part of camp. Austin Howard had offseason shoulder surgery and there’s a chance the team could release him once he passes his physical. If not, he will join the competition at right tackle with Marshall Newhouse who also missed offseason practices with an undisclosed injury. Other notable injuries include reserve center Jon Feliciano and defensive lineman Darius Latham. At this time only Ward is not expected to be ready for the start of camp.