OAKLAND -- When we last saw Maurice Jones-Drew at O.co Coliseum, he was four yards from the goal line and poised to tie the game for the Jacksonville Jaguars.

Charles Woodson made a flying shoulder-high tackle and knocked Jones-Drew out of the game with an ankle injury. The Raiders held the Jaguars to a field goal en route to a 19-9 win last Sept. 15.

In 2012, Jones-Drew carried the ball twice at the Coliseum before a Lisfranc injury sidelined him for the rest of the day and the last nine games of the season. The Raiders won 26-23 in overtime.

Jones-Drew, now a Raider, is back at the Coliseum on Friday when Oakland hosts the Detroit Lions at 7 p.m. He has 12 carries for 33 yards as an NFL player in Oakland and didn't make it to halftime of either game.

Chances are he won't play after halftime in this one either, with coach Dennis Allen focusing on players battling for roster spots rather than a running back who looks to be a key component of the Raiders offense.

As the Raiders were heading to the buses after their final training camp practice in Oxnard on Wednesday, Jones-Drew shrugged off his bad luck in Oakland.

"I got hurt every year, but that's part of football," Jones-Drew said. "It happens. It's one of those things. We'll see how it goes this year."

The former De La Salle High star will have his own cheering section of friends and family.

"It's going to be exciting to have everyone there, people that I grew up with that are Raider fans, season-ticket holders," Jones-Drew said. "I just want to go out there and try to play a perfect game, strive to be perfect."


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Jones-Drew's history at the Coliseum isn't all bad.

In the North Coast Section Division I championship game against San Leandro, Jones-Drew rushed for 142 yards and two touchdowns and set up a touchdown with a 36-yard interception return to the 1-yard line. The Spartans won 42-14.

The running game, with Jones-Drew, Darren McFadden and Latavius Murray faring well, is one of the areas Allen is pleased about as the second preseason game approaches.

Other areas that bear watching against the Lions:

  • The performance of starting quarterback Matt Schaub. Schaub played well in front of a sizable contingent of Raiders fans in Oxnard. Getting off to a good start in front of the home crowd would be a good first step. Raiders fans have seen so many quarterbacks over the years that they often turn on the starter quickly and call for the backup.

  • First-team battles: Sio Moore has held the edge over Miles Burris in terms of first-team reps at weakside linebacker of late. The offensive line has remained constant with left tackle Donald Penn, left guard Khalif Barnes, center Stefen Wisniewski, right guard Austin Howard and left tackle Menelik Watson.

    If there are any changes up front, it likely would be with Gabe Jackson challenging Barnes, who then could become a viable backup at all four line spots except center.

  • Cornerbacks Tarell Brown and Carlos Rogers vs. Detroit's first-team passing game, with quarterback Matt Stafford and wide receiver Calvin Johnson.

    Brown, Rogers and the Raiders' pass defense got off to a slow start against Matt Cassel in a 10-6 loss at Minnesota. The starters were out of the game when the defense tightened up considerably against backups Teddy Bridgewater and Christian Ponder.

    If Chimdi Chekwa is held out because of a sore knee, that means rookie TJ Carrie, like Jones-Drew a De La Salle product, could see time with the first-team nickel defense.

    The pass rush, another area where Allen has seen signs of life, could make life easier for the corners.

  • Who will play tight end? Mychal Rivera is listed as a tight end, but he is more often flexed out wide, put in motion, or occasionally in the backfield. Brian Leonhardt, who played on the practice squad last year as an undrafted rookie from Bemidji State, has an opportunity to be the Raiders' conventional in-line tight end.

    FRIDAY'S exhibition
    Detroit
    at Raiders,
    7 p.m. KTVU