Game Thread: Raiders @ Hawks

So here we are. The final dress rehearsal before the 2008 season officially begins. The most important thing in the final game has absolutely nothing to do with performance or roster spots. It’s all about staying healthy. Luckily, our offensive and defensive MVPs will not be manning their positions, so we should see them in uniform in a week.

Here are the other things I’ll be looking for:

– Red Bryant
It’s his first action since coming back from knee surgery. The guy is supposed to be a difference maker in the interior line. I’ve never seen him even move before, so I’m eager to see what he might turn into. I don’t expect a great showing this close to surgery, but I’d like to get an idea of his game.

– WRs
Who is our slot receiver? Will Jordan Kent continue to be the lone bright spot, even though he projects to have the fewest opportunities in the regular season? This is a stellar set of DBs from the Raiders, so it will be interesting to see if Taylor can get open against these elite, physical CBs. I would LOVE to see Logan Payne standout. I really want a blocking WR in the mix

– TEs
Will we continue to see Holmgren utilize the TE to offset the absence of Engram? Probably. Carlsen and Putzier are consistently contributing in the passing game. I’d like to see that continue.

– Rushing offense
I want to see continuing signs of a renewed rushing attack. I care less about who gets the yards, and more about the way we’re getting the yards.

– Rushing defense
What does our run defense look like without Tatupu? Does DD Lewis fill in ably? I’d love to see David Hawthorne for an extended look.

– Justin Forsett vs. TJ Duckett
I think Forsett needs a big final game to make the roster. I have no love for Duckett, but I have an idea how people like Ruskell work.

– Mare
He still needs to prove he can hit a long FG. Hopefully, the snapping situation is resolved and that will remove any variables from the equation.

When and if Dalton Bell makes an appearance at QB, it’s probably best to avert your eyes. It could get ugly in a hurry.

I’ll be back around game time.