Cards to test Oakland in areas it seeks to improve

Exhibition games undeniably do not count in terms of final regular season standings. Nonetheless, the Arizona Cardinals figure to test the Oakland Raiders in a few areas that Oakland is trying to improve on in order to rebound from two seasons of a combined 9-23 record.

"People forget that between mini-camps and OTAs, you get 17, 18 practices," Oakland Raiders head coach Norv Turner said on Wednesday when the team concluded training camp. "The combination of those practices and what we do up here, we've got some things we need to zero in on in terms of game situations."

For starters, the Oakland Raiders defense, which has ranked 32nd and 30th in the last two seasons, will face their most experienced quarterback to date ion the exhibition. Oakland went against Alex Smith, who was the No. 1 overall pick in last April's draft, and David Carr, who is an improving but still developing fourth year player. Against the Cardinals, Oakland will be facing Kurt Warner. The 2001 NFL MVP has not been the same that season but from 1999-2001 Warner was the standard by which quarterbacks were measured.

"Offensively, they're a three wide receiver group," Raiders head coach Norv Turner said. "The quarterback is the most experienced quarterback we've seen. If you let someone run open, he's going to find them. This will be a good test for our four-man front."

The Raiders also hope that free agent running back LaMont Jordan continues to shine. Jordan, who was a backup to Curtis Martin for four years as a New York Jet, continued to impress in a 19-17 loss to Houston, rushing nine times for 62 yards.

"He got 12 touches (rushing attempts and pass receptions) last week," Turner said. "I would expect him to get around that. He might get about 15. I think when he's in there; we're going to play it like a regular game. We'll spell him a little with Zack (Crockett). We'll use him in the passing game."

"They (the Cardinals) played great defense last year. They are a speed defensive group. I remember last year when we played them, they had speed. They've been together for a year on defense."

Vince D'Adamo can be reached at vdad7@yahoo.com


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