The NFL recently announced that preseason is canceled due to ongoing Covid-19 concerns. While the measure may be a sound safety precaution, it could also hamper teams from making essential adjustments for their upcoming season. In fact, for a team like the Las Vegas Raiders, not playing preseason games could be the difference between a playoff run and being out of the running.
Now, it's safe to say that other teams have a lot less to fix than the Raiders do.
With the season's opening week on the horizon, one must wonder if training camp will be enough. How will Las Vegas handle missteps by the team that could have been taken care of during the preseason?
For example, what if Marcos Mariota, who signed with Las Vegas during the offseason, ends up being a better quarterback than Derek Carr? Not only do the Raiders no longer have a few preseason games to figure out what to do, they also risk immense injury to whoever takes the field due to less than ideal conditioning.
This goes for pretty much every single position on the depth chart and will force the Raiders into a wait-and-see type of situation.
Carr is going to have to step up his passing game and start being more efficient at getting the ball down the field. For Josh Jacobs, it will very much be a game of avoiding the despised sophomore slump. The defense faces the biggest challenge, however, as they will have to learn how to stop blowing key leads without any real-time practice.
Think about it! Although training camps can be a great way to prepare for the regular season, they do not compare to facing off in a four-quarter game of football. They also don't compare to the rigors of being in various real game situations, which will help coaches better determine who to put where when it comes game time.
And lastly, what about team chemistry? How is this team supposed to believe they can move the ball in key situations, something they failed to do in 2019, if they don't have the time to build momentum? Again, training camp and scrimmages could help, but the Raiders still won't have the game-time experience to test their mettle.
In the end, every team will be pretty much in the same boat when the 2020 season gets underway this fall, but the Raiders seem to be at a distinct disadvantage. Unfortunately for Raider nation, that will likely mean a multitude of mistakes in the opening games of the season and maybe even some tough decision making when it comes to the depth chart.