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Rams vs Raiders: Week 2 NFL preseason preview

The Los Angeles Rams and Las Vegas Raiders will play in front of fans at SoFi Stadium in Southern California Saturday evening in the second preseason game for both teams. While the Rams will continue to rest their starters, we should see some first-team players for Vegas. Below, we preview this preseason matchup.

Rams vs Raiders: What you need to know

Click here to find out where the Raiders and Rams stand in our most-recent NFL power rankings

Derek Carr against Los Angeles Rams backups

rams vs raiders; derek carr
Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports

By now, it’s known that Rams head coach Sean McVay is against playing his starters in the preseason. This will obviously give the Raiders a upper-hand as their first-team prepares for its initial action of the exhibition slate.

  • The enigma that is Derek Carr: This three-time Pro Bowler has taken a step back in recent seasons and is no longer guaranteed to be the Raiders’ quarterback of the future. In order to win over Jon Gruden, Carr must improve this season. Struggles with the Raiders’ first-team offense against backup Rams defenders will not lead to much confidence in that happening.
  • Depth concerns for the Los Angeles Rams: Having such a top-heavy roster in terms of salaries leads to some major issues when it comes to depth. This is primarily true in the defensive front seven. We’re intrigued to see how youngsters such as Terrell Lewis, Micah Kiser, Greg Gaines and Earnest Brown look in this one.

Los Angeles Rams cornerback competition

NFL: Los Angeles Chargers at Los Angeles Rams
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Jalen Ramsey and Darious Williams are expected to be the Rams’ two starting cornerbacks once Week 1 comes calling.

However, there’s a ton of inexperienced players vying for playing time behind the two during the preseason. How these players perform moving forward in the exhibition slate will be telling.

  • David Long needs to emerge: New Rams defensive coordinator Raheem Morris likes what he sees in this third-year cornerback from Michigan. In fact, the veteran coach has been “ecstatic” about his growth. That now needs to translate to live-game action while going up against the likes of Henry Ruggs this week.
  • Can someone else step up? Rookie Robert Rochell as well as other youngsters such as Kareem Orr and Tyler Hall are all battling for playing time. Rochell should get the start opposite Long against Las Vegas. It’s his chance to prove himself.

Click here to see where the Los Angeles Rams stand in our most-recent NFL defense rankings

Las Vegas Raiders wide receivers vs themselves

rams vs raiders: henry ruggs
Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports

The Raiders need more consistency from their young wide receivers. Even after adding veterans to the mix, Derek Carr’s only real avenue to success is seeing these second-year pass-catchers step up after some major struggles as rookies.

  • Henry Ruggs and Bryan Edwards set for make-or-break sophomore seasons: These two youngsters combined for a mere 37 receptions as rookies. That lack of production clearly played a role in Carr relying too much on Darren Waller. If these two step up, it’s only going to help Waller create more mismatches between the stripes.
  • Some Raiders silver linings: Las Vegas added veterans John Brown and Willie Snead to the mix during the offseason. The team also has a solid slot guy in Hunter Renfrow. We’re talking about a deep group of receivers. Should the two rookies mentioned above fail to step up, others will likely fill in.

Bottom line: The Raiders will more than likely win this game going away. In no way is that going to be indicative of what we’re going to see from the two teams during the regular year. Reality tells us that Sean McVay and Co. couldn’t care less about the preseason. That will play a role here.