The Las Vegas Raiders have looked impressive so far in the preseason, picking up a pair of wins over the Los Angeles Rams and San Francisco 49ers. Quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo got his first action against the Rams and looked right at home in head coach Josh McDaniels’ offense.
The Raiders have one more preseason game remaining against the Dallas Cowboys, but after what he’s seen so far in the preseason as well as the team’s joint practices, McDaniels sounds as if he doesn’t plan on the main starters taking the field.
In a recent press conference, McDaniels spoke on not risking the potential for injury to the Raiders’ core players, noting how they will finalize the decisions soon, but the main guys likely won’t suit up or play on Saturday, via Myles Simmons of Pro Football Talk:
“I don’t know that we are going to put some guys out there again,” McDaniels said in his Wednesday press conference. “Like I said, the four joint practices really were huge for us because there was a huge chunk of work that those guys got in those practices. It was really revealing to us a lot of things, good and bad, and we’ve been able to gauge a lot off of that and limit the, let’s call it risk to some degree. And we wanted to get out there last week and make sure we got out there and kind of played and looked each other in the eye in the huddle, and I thought that was all done the right way with those guys.
“We’ll sit down tonight and finalize that, but I think there’s going to be some guys that won’t suit up or won’t play. They’ll suit up but they won’t play. Again, we have plenty of things to work through on the roster and at a lot of positions. So, it’s going to be an important day for us but the ultimate decisions on who’s going to finally play and all that, we’re going to get to here shortly.”
It makes sense for McDaniels and the Raiders to do this. The team has avoided injury to any of their major pieces so far and going into the regular season as healthy as possible should be a top priority.
McDaniels has clearly seen what he needs from his main players so this final preseason contest will be about the players on the fringes and potential practice squad guys. This game will still hold plenty of importance to a number of players on the roster.