The Raiders preseason opener was a surreal experience for rookie Sio Moore. The young linebacker is a seemingly endless font of energy that began before the first whistle and while most of the other starters had left the game, he was still out there through the entire first half.
The man who changed his Twitter account address the moment he was drafted to @MrOaktown55 has been living the dream since the day he got that phone call from the Raiders. That level of excitement already had Raiders fans feeling better about the number 55.
During training camp he told me he was destined to come to the Raiders. The realization of it all landed shortly before taking the field today.
"I was sitting there talking to Nick Roach before the game and I was like ‘I never saw this coming' you know ever in my life and now that I have the opportunity to do it... God is good, man." Said Moore.
He came out before the game for warm-ups and was seen pumping up the crowd every chance he got. Then when the Raiders won the toss and opted to receive, he was on the field with the return team, still running hot, jumping up and down and pumping his arms to amp up the crowd.
"The first play, I was kind of in a surreal moment," said Moore. "After a while you have to play ball."
Once the Raiders got the ball, a lapse in pass coverage resulted in a sack fumble and gave the Cowboy the ball. It meant, Moore's day on defense would begin sooner than expected and he was ready. On the second play from scrimmage, Tony Romo couldn't find anyone open and Moore kept fighting to get the sack.
"Man, it just helped being able to play, to tell you the honest truth," said Moore. "Mike Jenkins came up to me and was like ‘Alignment. Know your assignment and the rest will happen as it comes.' I was just excited to be out there with the guys."
Offering some pass rush is exactly what the Raiders want from Sio. Dennis Allen said after the game, he intends to use Moore the same way he utilized Von Miller in Denver. That will have him with his hand in the dirt as much as he is upright and in coverage.
The 245 pound linebacker has to do the job of players that are typically at least 20 pounds heavier and face offensive linemen who outweigh him by over 50 pounds.
"Just really fundamentals and technique, man," said Moore of how he deals with the weight mismatch. "I would say having good hands. Being able to play with strong hands, it really makes a difference. But that's something that a lot of older guys - Dre, Lamarr - a lot of the older guys they've been working on with me day in and day out being able to play with strong hands."
Getting a sack on his second play of his first game is a fitting beginning to Sio's career in Oakland. And if he wasn't already fired up, that sack had him spontaneously combust.
"I just think you gotta hit the game with that same pace and you really gotta keep yourself high. I play with a lot of emotion and I really try to lay it out there on the line when I go out there and play. That's the same thing you're gonna get out of me each play. That's how I play the game."
You can't ask for a better first day in an NFL uniform than Sio Moore had today. In front of the home crowd, getting a sack on the second play, and leaving healthy.
"I just, before I left out the stadium, I played my grandmother's favorite song and it just put me in a really good place and I was just happy to be blessed to be in this situation."
I would say he's gonna sleep well tonight, but he'll have to come down from this high first and I'm not sure he's capable of that.