Pivotal day for the Raiders

Returned home from the Oakland Coliseum where for 3 hours life focused on a single event - the 3rd preseason scrimmage btw. Oakland and San Francisco. Impressions from the game follow...

I saw a Raider defensive line that consistently fired out and attacked, gained ground, and rarely lost it.

I saw Linebackers leaving vast areas wide open and misreading play development.

I saw poor tackling, e.g. Wimbley and Ware - not wrapping up. Ware laid the wood on two tackles. Huff and Branch had good hits tonight as did Goethel, Sam Williams and Howard each having at least one memorable stick.      Routt, again, was good in pass coverage. McClain was both really good, pursuing laterally and not letting anyone he touched get away and allowed a running back to come to him, a la Kirk Morrison, instead of rushing to meet him, took himself out of plays  - twice by the same means - filling an empty gap adjacent to, and 2 gaps away from, the gap where the running back shot through into the wide open unprotected middle. 

Our kicokff and punt coverage was horrible. 

Our return team, whether it was Rock, Yamon, Johnny Lee or Jacoby back there, was so-so.  

On the Offense, Jason Campbell led us again to a TD on the opening drive; this one 81 yds in 8 plays hitting along the way DHB for 22j yds and Marcel Reece for 34 yds. Then the offense languished. Next, Mario decided to quit blocking LaBoy who then took a free and brutal shot to Jason's upper back - taking him out of the game (with what I later learned was a stinger). On the line I was most impressed with the performance of our 3rd round draft pick, Jared Veldheer at Center, who moved whatever was in his path forward on runs and, for the most part, provided good pass protection. DHB ended the night with 3 out of 4 to him (I believe) for 46 yds - one one which was between two defenders and required focus and courage.

Gradkowski was very good tonight, especially when considering his being out of it for 9 months due to a series of injuries (knees, pec, groin). Grad came on the field as though he'd spent the past few months with his receivers and line - hitting targets left, right, and center before launching a perfectly thrown pass to Louis on a fly pattern that went 74 yard for a TD. Then Grad hit a few more receivers who managed to actually catch the ball before connecting with sure handed Zach on a 27 yd slant for another TD. The crowd at coliseum was now on its feet and going crazy. Then, with 1:38 in the game, Grad took the offense to mid-field but receivers, such as Watkins, couldn't match Grad's clutchness. The scrimmage ended and I've learned the Bush broke his thumb.

Final note: Nobody liked Hugh Jackson's usage of McFadden - I'm not saying DMC is necessarily a bust because I believe he is being used horribly. He is not an NFL RB. He should be playing as a WR or something else.

fn. Love Janikowski(!) whose 57 yard field goal (off the A's infield dirt) proves again that our Polish cannon is an anchor in any storm and the best deep ball threat this side of New Orleans. Thanks Seabass!

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