OAKLAND -- Study hall is over. It's time for the Raiders to put away the playbooks, get out their No. 2 pencils and see what they've learned.
The Dallas Cowboys visit O.co Coliseum on Friday at 7 p.m., and coach Dennis Allen made it clear that grades in the game carry a lot more weight than evaluations of the 11 practices that preceded it.
"It's no different than when you were in college and you had to take exams," Allen said Thursday. "There's a lot more weight put on exams, and this is one of four exams that we get a chance to take.
"So when the lights come on, and you're doing it for real, that's when the players have to show up. So there will be more emphasis put on performance in the preseason."
It is the first look at the Raiders since a massive overhaul following a 4-12 season. The offensive system was junked along with coordinator Greg Knapp, with new coordinator Greg Olson and line coach Tony Sparano retooling it to take advantage of the current roster, most notably running back Darren McFadden.
McFadden, back in the gap and power blocking running game that he prefers, will play only a quarter and take the rest of the night off, along with most first-team players, Allen said. The game will provide the first look at the Raiders with Matt Flynn as the starting quarterback.
While the new offense has familiar pieces in place, including McFadden, three returning linemen and receivers Denarius Moore and Rod Streater, the defense has undergone a near total makeover in terms of personnel.
With defensive end Lamarr Houston out with an injury, the only returning starter will be strong safety Tyvon Branch.
"We've got a lot of change, a lot of turnover on this football team," Allen said. "We've never been to battle with a lot of these guys, so we want to put them in situations and see how they respond.
Some areas to watch in the exhibition opener:
1. Will Flynn play well enough to stem a pro-Terrelle Pryor fan movement?
Pryor already has his supporters who see him as a Colin Kaepernick-like talent as a runner and passer. Flynn is more efficient than stunningly talented, and that's what Allen wants out of his quarterback. Putting the Raiders in the end zone would be a good start.
There's another battle going on between undrafted free agent Matt McGloin and fourth-round draft pick Tyler Wilson to be the No. 3 quarterback.
2. Who will become the most reliable receivers?
Other than Streater, no one has separated from the pack. Moore has been up and down, Jacoby Ford has missed practice because of injuries. Andre Holmes has had his moments but will miss the first four regular season games on suspension should he make the roster.
Two rookies to watch -- seventh-round pick Brice Butler, who has come on of late, and sixth-round selection Mychal Rivera, the most consistent receiver among the tight ends.
3. Which players are capable of supplying a pass rush?
With Houston out and veteran Andre Carter getting limited snaps, the Raiders can get a look at potential pass rushers. Strong side linebacker Sio Moore, the lone rookie starter, has been touted by Allen as a solid pass rusher.
Seventh-round pick David Bass is an undersized defensive end whose strength is his pass rush. On the interior, sixth-round pick Stacy McGee has shown the ability to collapse the pocket.
4. Which back will emerge as the backup to McFadden?
It's a crucial role given McFadden has never played more than 13 games in a season. Veteran Rashad Jennings has shown he can push the pile, but rookie Latavius Murray, recently recovered from injury, is an intriguing option at 6-foot-2, 234 pounds.
5. Can Marquette King overtake Chris Kluwe to become the successor to Shane Lechler?
King kicks it higher and farther than Kluwe, but he has issues with consistency. Kluwe has a better touch to corners and inside the 20 and gets the ball off as quickly as any punter in the game.
Dallas at Raiders,
7 p.m., NFL Network (joined in progress), 10 p.m. tape delayed KICU