REPORT DATE: July 29th
SITE: Napa Valley Marriott, Napa, CA
CAMP OBJECTIVES: The Raiders will once again have a new voice as they begin their quest to end a streak of nine straight non-winning campaigns and playoff absences, with former Denver defensive coordinator Dennis Allen the team's third head coach in three seasons. His first order of business will be getting increased performance out of a defense that was 29th in the NFL in both yards and points allowed in 2011, as well as instilling better discipline after Oakland led the league in penalties in Hue Jackson's lone year at the helm. The most notable camp competition could take place at running back, where former Panther Mike Goodson and second-year speedster Taiwan Jones will square off for the right to be the new No. 2 option behind injury-prone starter Darren McFadden, though it's not out of the question that the team could still explore a veteran insurance policy such as Cedric Benson or Ryan Grant. With middle linebacker Rolando McClain at risk of jail time and/or a league suspension for an assault conviction, getting backup Travis Goethel prepared for a possible fill-in role will be necessary as well. Two players among the team's rookie class to keep an eye on in the preseason are wideouts Juron Criner, a fifth-round choice in April's draft, and free-agent Rod Streater. Both made good impressions in the OTA sessions and may be able to carve out a role even on a receiving cast that possesses good depth.
PRESEASON SCHEDULE (All Times Eastern):
Aug. 13 - vs. Dallas, 8 p.m. Aug. 17 - at Arizona, 9 p.m. Aug. 25 - vs. Detroit, 7 p.m. Aug. 30 - at Seattle, 10 p.m.