The Colts have an off day from training camp today, so we’re finishing up our preview of their 2016 opponents by looking at the Oakland Raiders. The Colts will travel to Oakland for a Christmas Eve matchup, as the two teams will face off on Saturday, December 24 at 4:25 p.m. ET.
It’s a late-season matchup that could have playoff implications, as the Raiders are expected by many to take significant strides forward this year and perhaps be in that playoff picture late in the year - the same situation the Colts will likely be in too. Led by some very good young talent in Derek Carr, Amari Cooper, and Khalil Mack, the Raiders should be a very interesting team in 2016.
SB Nation’s site covering the Raiders, Silver and Black Pride, provided us with an inside look at the team entering the 2016 season:
Notable free agent additions:
OG Kelechi Osemele, LB Bruce Irvin, CB Sean Smith, S Reggie Nelson
Notable free agent departures:
S Charles Woodson (retirement), DE Justin Tuck (retirement), OL J’Marcus Webb
Draft picks expected to contribute as rookies:
S Karl Joseph (D-1), DL Jihad Ward (D-2), LB Shilique Calhoun (D-3), RB DeAndre Washington (D-5)
Biggest offseason addition:
OG Kelechi Osemele - He fills a glaring need the team had at the guard position. They now have one of the best interior offensive lines in the NFL with him, Rodney Hudson, and Gabe Jackson. Osemele can also be the backup left tackle as he was in Baltimore in case 33-year-old Donald Penn wears down as it seemed he was late last season.
Biggest storyline heading into training camp:
Derek Carr has the same coaching staff for the first time as a pro along with the same receivers. I mean everyone is back -- his top four wide receivers as well as his top three tight ends, and even starting running back. That continuity should allow him to take another step forward in his development.
Under-the-radar storyline heading into training camp:
The rebuilt secondary with the addition of Sean Smith and Reggie Nelson along with rookie Karl Joseph. Smith and David Amerson make up a very stout starting cornerback duo, with TJ Carrie and DJ Hayden battling for the nickel job. Nelson is reunited with Jack Del Rio who drafted him in Jacksonville. He led the league in interceptions last year and takes over for Charles Woodson. Nate Allen returned on a one-year deal after heading to IR twice last season, but he isn’t expected to start. Quite a different story for the secondary than last year’s weak group.
Notable injuries heading into training camp:
Those who weren’t seen in offseason practices were Denico Autry, Roy Helu Jr, and Reggie Nelson. Their statuses are uncertain. All others are expected back for camp.