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5 burning questions entering Las Vegas Raiders training camp

Breven Honda

The Las Vegas Raiders begin training camp on Monday at the Intermountain Healthcare Performance Center in Henderson, Nev., about 10 miles away from Allegiant Stadium.  

The rookies are expected to be at the practice facility on Monday while the rest of team comes to camp by Wednesday.

Some of the rookies to be on hand include defensive lineman Neil Farrell Jr., who was drafted in the fourth round, and offensive lineman Thayer Munford Jr., who was picked in the seventh round.

From Monday, Las Vegas has about two and a half weeks to prepare for their first preseason game against the Jacksonville Jaguars in Canton on Aug. 4.

Here are five questions as the Raiders’ training came kicks off.

Related: Las Vegas Raiders training camp schedule and information

1. How will all the new pieces fit into the Las Vegas Raiders’ puzzle?

las vegas raiders' josh mcdaniels
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There are a lot of new faces within the Raiders’ organization, both from a players and coaching perspective. That includes both sides of the ball.

As a result, these next four games and six weeks will give the Raiders the opportunity to begin building the chemistry and identity of the team before their first game in Los Angeles against the Chargers on Sept. 11.

Building the chemistry is not only for the new players coming to Las Vegas for the first time, but also the returners getting accustomed to the newcomers.

From head coach Josh McDaniels and general manager Dave Ziegler to first-year Raiders in wide receiver Davante Adams and defensive end Chandler Jones, the players will now be able to take what they have learned during meetings and bring it to the practice field over the next month to determine the best 53 players to break camp.

The Raiders get a fourth game on the preseason schedule as a result of competing in the Hall of Fame game against the Jacksonville Jaguars on Aug. 4 at Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium in Canton before their three regularly scheduled preseason games.

Related: Las Vegas Raiders schedule and game-by-game predictions

2. How will the depth at the running backs position shake out?

NFL: AFC Wild Card-Las Vegas Raiders at Cincinnati Bengals
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During the offseason, Las Vegas signed a handful of running backs to fit McDaniels’ system and bolster the depth at the position. This is in addition to holdovers Josh Jacobs and Kenyan Drake.

This is a big year for both of the returning running backs with the Raiders declining Jacobs’ fifth year option and Drake is entering the last season of a two-year deal.

Brandon Bolden, who was with New England previously, signed with the Raiders this year. He’s looking to not only compete for a spot, but to also mentor those who may be unfamiliar with McDaniels’ play style.

A couple of those unfamiliar faces includes Brittain Brown and Zamir White, who were both drafted by Las Vegas in April.

In addition, the team also signed eight-year veteran Ameer Abdullah, who split time between Minnesota and Carolina last season.

Related: Las Vegas Raiders 53-man roster projections leading up to camp

3. What to expect from the offensive line

NFL: Las Vegas Raiders at Los Angeles Chargers
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One of the struggles last season was the offensive line to protect quarterback Derek Carr, especially on the right side.

As last season progressed, the line started to gel with Kolton Miller at left tackle, John Simpson at left guard and Andre James under center. However, on the right side the team had rookie Alex Leatherwood bouncing between right tackle and right guard with Brandon Parker also in the fold.

With Leatherwood entering his second year and playing all 18 games last season, including the playoff game against Cincinnati, the offensive line is looking to be competitive during camp, especially at both guard spots.

In addition, if Denzelle Good is good to go after suffering a torn ACL in the team’s first game last year against Baltimore, he is another piece to the left side.

From the draft, Las Vegas bolstered its offensive line by picking guard Dylan Parham in the third round and Munford Jr. in the seventh round. Parham, who is 6-foot-8 and 311 pounds, was drafted out of Memphis and was a 2021 All-American Athletic Conference guard, playing in 51 games during his four-year career.

The retirement of Richie Incognito last week gives Parham the opportunity to go after a backup role at left guard, along with Good.

4. Secondary to focus on coming together fort the Las Vegas Raiders

Defensively, the secondary will be one of the positions that will be vital on building the chemistry in training camp. That’s led by 2021 Pro Bowl linebacker Denzel Perryman.

The cornerbacks and safeties feature some younger players and new faces. Second-year players Nate Hobbs and Tre’von Moehrig along with Johnathan Abram are looking to elevate their play as they welcome players like Rock Ya-Sin and Anthony Averett on defense.

Playing a fourth preseason game will benefit this group to see 60 more minutes of game film to react and adapt to playing together during training camp.

One of the silver linings of having a player like Adams on the roster is that the cornerbacks and safeties get to go up against one of the top players in the NFL and help prepare them more during camp.

Related: Why Anthony Averett is an X-factor in the Las Vegas Raiders secondary

5. What are the consistencies entering training camp for the Silver and Black?

NFL: AFC Wild Card-Las Vegas Raiders at Cincinnati Bengals
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The two consistencies within the Raiders are the returning pieces on offense and special teams. The quartet of Carr, Jacobs, wide receiver Hunter Renfrow and tight end Darren Waller are in the offensive picture as Adams enters the receiver’s room.

By adding a player like Adams, who will be double-teamed by opposing defenses, it opens up the field for Waller or Renfrow or even Jacobs or Drake in the flat to gain yardage.  

Waller, who is coming off an injury-plagued 2021 campaign where he played in only 11 games, is looking to bounce back and regain his 2020 form where he recorded 107 receptions for 1,196 yards and nine touchdowns.

On special teams, the trio of punter AJ Cole, placekicker Daniel Carlson and long snapper Trent Sieg are here not only for 2022, but for years to come. All three signed contract extensions within the last 12 months ago.  

Carlson was responsible for five game-winning field goals on the season, including one in three of the team’s final four games. The 27-year-old kicker led the league in field goal makes and attempts, knocking down 40 of 43 through the uprights.