Lions vs Raiders : The 2018 preseason kicks off in Oakland for the Detroit Lions. Matthew Stafford, Darius Slay and the rest of the team face off against Jon Gruden’s Raiders in a late-night affair. Lions vs Raiders: New Oakland Raiders head coach Jon Gruden isn’t the only first-year head coach in the league this season. Detroit Lions head coach Matt Patricia is also in his first season and the two new coaches will meet Friday night (7:30 p.m. PT/10:30 p.m. ET) as both teams open their preseason schedules.
The hiring of Gruden gives Raiders fans hope the team can turn around their fortunes after last year’s turbulent season (6-10 in 2017). Former coach Jack Del Rio was fired and owner Mark Davis finally convinced Gruden to return to his old stomping grounds (Gruden was the Raiders coach from 1991-2001).
Gruden, who has not coached since he was fired by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2008, comes to Oakland with plenty of question marks. Does his in-your-face personality still resonate with today’s players, or will they simply tune him out? The game has changed considerably since 2008 and there is a question of whether his style will work in 2018.
Patricia, the former defensive coordinator under Bill Belichick with the New England Patriots, takes over from Jim Caldwell. Caldwell who was fired after the Lions failed to earn a playoff berth and finished with a 9-7 record in 2017, but he guided the Lions to two playoff berths during his four seasons in Detroit.
The (new) Jon Gruden era begins in Oakland on Friday, as the Raiders host the Detroit Lions to open their preseason. For the Lions, Matt Patricia will be prowling the sideline as a head coach for the first time, as he tries to make the Lions a playoff team again. While the playbooks will, of course, be relatively vanilla, it will be interesting to see the old-school style that Gruden preaches in action once again.
For the Lions, rookie running back Kerryon Johnson out of Auburn will be hitting the preseason field for the first time as a pro. The Raiders, meanwhile, will be getting a very important first look at rookie tackle Kolton Miller. While Donald Penn and the Raiders reportedly stand off in a contract dispute while Penn is injured, Miller’s performance could factor into his playing time this season. Another big Raiders acquisition is wide receiver Jordy Nelson, who could be catching passes from Derek Carr in a preseason game for the first time on Thursday.
Expect to also see quite a bit of Lions quarterback Matt Cassel, as he battles with Jake Rudock for the backup job to Matthew Stafford. This game has a lot of faces in new places, and for that reason alone there’s value to tuning in.