The Oakland Raiders and Dallas Cowboys are looking at the 2013 season as make or break years and both squads will be looking to get to the postseason by the time it is all said and done and each will get the chance to start off right when Dallas visits the Bay area for its first official preseason game after playing the Miami Dolphins in the Hall of Fame Game in Canton.
The Raiders are heading into the season with mammoth expectations after making some big moves in the offseason, including bringing back franchise star Charles Woodson and now the team has the chance to bounce back after a 4-12 campaign. General manager Reggie McKenzie and head coach Dennis Allen feel that the roster has plenty of talent and while it will be a struggle to make the playoffs, each year in the NFL a different teams goes from worst to first and the Raiders feel that they have a chance to do that now.
McKenzie used his first draft pick on D.J. Hayden after trading back with the Miami Dolphins so that they could pick Dion Jordan and while Hayden has some injury concerns after having heart surgery in college, the team feels that he can develop into an every down starter and contribute heavily to the secondary. The team also signed Tracy Porter and Mike Jenkins in the secondary to bolster the unit and drafted Sio Moore at linebacker after losing Phillip Wheeler. The Raiders also signed Kevin Burnett on defense at linebacker and rookies Menelik Watson, Brice Butler, Nick Kasa, Mychal Rivera and Latavius Murray are all expected to contribute.
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The team took Tyler Wilson with their fourth round selection and brought him in to compete with Terrelle Pryor for the backup position behind Matt Flynn. McKenzie traded for Flynn from the Seattle Seahawks and while he does not have starting experience in the league on a consistent basis, the team felt he was the right answer to move forward with and Allen has been pleased with his progress this summer. The team is going to work all their quarterbacks on Friday night most likely with Wilson, Pryor, Flynn as well as Matt McGloin and the running backs also will get a healthy workout.
The Raiders need Darren McFadden back to form after he was injured last year and since he is in a contract year, this a huge season in his career as well. McFadden has had trouble staying on the field all his career and has never played more than 13 games and has rushed for over 1,000 yards once. The team brought in Murray and Rashad Jennings to help along and depending on how things go, McFadden could walk by the end of the year and McKenzie hopes that he can stay on the field. Allen is putting in a new power running scheme that should help McFadden and the Raiders need more consistency on offense after ranking 28th in the league last season.
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