The Raiders starters dominated this game. The offense did a solid job of moving the sticks, and in the starting defense one series (Routt, Chris Johnson and Rolando McClain didn't play after the first series) they stifled the Cardinals offense. They only gained yards on two of their six offensive plays in their first series, and those came on a third down 15-yard scramble by Kevin Kolb, and then a harmless four yard run on third and 10.
Jason Campbell was 6-for-9 with 66 yards, and while the running game only averaged just over three yards per carry in the first two series, they were able to smash out some yards when it mattered most.
My favorite moment of this game came mid way through the first quarter. The Raiders defensive line stuffed Arizona on a goalline stand that led to the Cardinals turning over the ball on downs. The Raiders then took the ball in the shadow of their own endzone and smashed it out. Three straight runs picked up 16 yards and gave the Raiders breathing room. That is what building a bully is all about.
The best part about the runs was that Stephon Heyer entered the game at left guard, and I believe two of those runs went in his vicinity. He was getting a nice push off the line. I am now fully expecting Heyer to win this spot.
Overall, I thought the starting offensive line looked much better than I thought they would (with one notable false starting exception). The Cardinals do not pose the most intimidating front seven, but we will take the positive signs where we can get them. Jump over for some exciting bullet points....
- The one thing you don't want to have in a preseason game is injuries. And unfortunately the Raiders could not escape this undesirable outcome. Hiram Eugene may be done for the year with a dislocated hip, and Chaz Schilens has some unspecified knee concerns.
- I came away from this game impressed with the passing offense. All of the Raiders' QBs looked solid, and the receivers showed that they are full of quality depth, which is doubly impressive given that they played this game without the services of Jacoby Ford or Louis Murphy.
- I have no idea what DHB's injury was at the start of camp, but I think it is safe to say he has recovered and is ready to roll. He still does not look like a natural pass catcher, but he is a physical receiver. Once he catches the ball, he does not go down easy. He is still very much a work in progress, but at least there are signs of progress.
- It is clear that what Denarius Moore has been able to do in practice will translate into games. Moore had a drop, but he also had three catches—one of which was a 26 yard gain on a third and 12 play. Moore also had a nice punt return that was called back by a penalty. It is worth noting that he picked it up off the bounce, and the concern with him on punt returns is fielding them on the fly.
- Travis Goethel played a solid game as the backup MLB. I expect that Goethel will slide into Quentin Groves spot as the WLB once the season starts.
- The concern over the cornerback depth was validated in this game. Walter McFadden and DVD showed that they are not ready to receive a lot of snaps in the NFL.
- DVD had a rough game. There is no way around this. He was continually beat in coverage, and he missed a tackle on Beanie Wells that led to a 15-yard run. I am not down on DVD at all. He is supposed to have a rough game. He is a rookie. His struggles weren't that much different than Cardinals high profile rookie corner Patrick Peterson. Remember, these guys did not have OTAs to hone their skills. And the play where Fitzgerald beat him for 43 yards was excellent defense...until the ball got there. DVD had him stride-for-stride. He turned his head around in plenty of time and located the ball. Then he just whiffed on it. I have no idea how he missed it, but at least he was there. He was not as close on other opportunities. Still, there are reasons to be optimistic. I just hope the Raiders aren't going to rely on him too much this season.
- I am still hoping the Raiders will bring in another corner. They gave DVD and Walter McFadden a long look in this game, and they can't feel too confident about the results.
- Sterling Moore was the one young corner that made any plays. Although it was against the scrub of scrubs. I say throw Moore out early next game, and see what we got.
- The Raiders sent a lot of pressure early. They were blitzing corners and safeties and it was very effective. It will be interesting to see if they continue to blitz at this rate as the regular season rolls around. They did not mix in many zone coverages. It was almost exclusively good ol' fashion Raider man-to-man defense.
- Stefen Wisniewski had a decent game. He wasn't getting pushed around, but at the same time he wasn't bowling people over. There was also a botched center/QB exchange with Kyle Boller. This is most definitely an are Wiz II will need to work on.
- Khalif Barnes confirmed my worst fears. I am just not sure that he is mentally prepared for this season, and that showed as he personally killed a drive with three false starts. Someone needs to light a fire under this guys large ass.
- The good news on Khalif Barnes struggle is that Joe Barksdale had a solid outing. He did a fine job in pass blocking and showed good recognition when the Cardinals tried some edge blitzes. The most impressive came when the Cards LB went inside the defensive end and the end went for the edge rush. Barksdale was not confused and picked up and stone walled the end.
- David Ausberry's TD catch was amazing. There are very few TEs that could pull that one in. What an exciting element Ausberry could add to this offense. Especially in the red zone. Which leads me to...
- The Raiders failed in the red zone in this game. If they hadn't they would have won. I am not too concerned about this given that it is the first preseason game and they were without Darren McFadden, Ford and Murphy. Also, Hue Jackson proved last year that he could figure out red zone problems as the season progresses.
- Kyle Boller vs. Trent Edwards for the No. 2 QB spot should be a great battle. I thought both QBs looked rock solid. Edwards TD pass to Ausberry was the throw of the night.
- Derek Hagan and Nick Miller both looked solid. Hagan would have had a touchdown had the ball not been under thrown. If Chaz Schilens can come back from his injury, than this is going to be one of the toughest cuts of camp.