Michael Wagaman: McFadden was named the starter by head coach Tom Cable on Thursday, meaning he will get the bulk of the work against San Diego. He's also the most talented weapon the Raiders have on offense. They'll look to get him the ball 15- 20 times and will also spread him out wide and in the slot. Like LT, McFadden can also throw the ball.
The emphasis is to center the running game around McFadden this year, though expect a heavy dose of Bush, who could start for a lot of teams. Fargas has been nursing a sore hamstring and only returned to practice on Friday, so just how much he'll factor in remains to be seen.
ML: During San Diego's 11-game winning streak over Oakland, the Raiders' biggest downfall has been the inability to protect the QB. Have you seen the team make strides in this department during the offseason? Or will that still be an issue?
RT Cornell Green
The Raiders are starting a second-year player (Mario Henderson) at left tackle; have a major concern at right tackle with Cornell Green; and only recently settled on a starting center, Chris Morris, who didn't even start practicing with the starters until just recently.
I suspect the Chargers won't change their game-plan much and will try to stack the line and blitz heavily and frequently until the Raiders prove they can stop it.
ML: What do you expect from Darrius Heyward-Bey in his professional debut? Regardless of his performance, the Raiders have to feel pretty vindicated for their decision to pass over Michael Crabtree, right?
MW: Heyward-Bey is one of two rookies who will start at wide receiver for the Raiders, the other being fourth-round pick Louis Murphy. DHB had a real rough start to training camp but settled down and at least was making the routine catches, something he had problems with earlier.
DHB didn't play much in the preseason games, so we haven't been able to get a real good read on him, but just in watching him in practice you can see he's very raw. He tends to catch the ball against his body rather than with his hands and he also gets spooked at times when DBs are coming up behind him.
He's got great speed, which is why Al Davis bypassed Crabtree, but his hands are questionable. Nevertheless, he's playing and that's a lot more than can be said for Crabtree.
ML: How much could the addition of Richard Seymour help Oakland slow down LaDainian Tomlinson? Do you think the Raiders gave up too much for a player with only one season left on his contract?
DE Richard Seymour
Given Oakland's recent history with its first-round picks, it's also a good deal because they get a proven player instead of an unknown product. But he hasn't reported to Oakland yet, and with each passing day it becomes more and more unlikely he'll be on the field Monday. If the trade goes through, then I think it's a good one for the Raiders no matter Seymour's contract status. If they don't get him signed to a long-term extension, they can just slap the franchise tag on him.
ML: Who are Oakland's top coverage players on special teams who could make an impact in the third phase of the game?
MW: Ike Ekejiuba has been one of Oakland's best special teams players and will be the centerpiece of the coverage units this season. Long-snapper Jon Condo has also been very solid, surprising given he first has to get the ball to P Shane Lechler.
The Raiders have a tendency to relax at times after they score and opponents have taken momentum away with big kickoff returns. San Diego could exploit that if Oakland isn't careful. Overall, the Raiders' special teams might be the strength of the entire team. Punt returner Johnnie Lee Higgins had three returns for TDs last year, while Lechler is coming off his fourth Pro Bowl season.