I am finally recovered enough from the 7PM start to write the Oakland Raiders first preseason gamerecap.
Whoever thought of a 7PM start time for a Raider game needs to have their head examined. That is just way too much time for us tailgaters!!!
Before I get into the X's and O's and my observations I have to point out the game will be replayed on the NFL Network tonight at 11 ET and I am eagerly awaiting that.
Now onto the scrimmage/game.
I say it was a scrimmage/game because that is EXACTLY how "Son of Monte" ran it.
It was obvious that he was more into seeing how his players ran certain plays than actually "Just Winning Baby".
AND I LOVED IT!!!
It was a far cry from how Art Shell ran things last year, AND the good guys still won.
Here is the play chart, courtesy of ESPN:
It was obvious that he wanted to get the ball to Porter and the Wide-outs on the first two possessions and then he ran Dominic Rhodes 8 times on the third possession.
On that third possession it was almost comical that everybody in the stands and even on the field knew the ball was going to Rhodes every time they lined up in a run formation.
To me, it was "Son of Monte" saying, "I want to see how we run the ball when everyone is expecting it."
It was also the drive that saw Dominic Rhodes score the first of many, we hope, touchdowns as a Raider when he bulled his way in from one yard out.
He ended it with eight carries for 21 yards, that is a 2.6 yard average for those of you keeping score at home, and one reception for 10 yards.
The star of the first half was definitely NOT Josh McCown as he was outperformed by Andrew Walter, hands down.
Everyone in the stadium, and I am sure on the coaching staff as well, was wondering if he'd look like the "Shell Shocked" quarterback that bowed out of last season.
I must say that he looked like the QB we thought he would be if he were in a healthy offense.
In a sign that "Son of Monte" heard his quarterbacks request for more quick hits in the offense the first three plays that AW ran were quick and short passes. To me, it was another subtle sign that Lane is truly evolving this offense. As I said yesterday, I didn't care if we won the game I wanted to see the team execute a game plan smoothly, and for the most part they did.
Andrew Walter's second drive of the game is where I really started to buy into "Son of Monte's" system.
It was a 71 yard drive that was executed with precision and tact.
The offense balanced the running game with quick hits and middle passes to the tight ends. THANK YOU LANE KIFFIN and COACH CABLE!!!
There, I called him Lane Kiffin. It was great to see a ball control offense that used it's strengths to put six points on the board.
AND WELCOME TO OAKLAND MIKE WILLIAMS!!!
His catch from three yards out showed us exactly what Lane had been lauding about him for. He will be tough for anyone to defend in the red zone.
His ability to put 6 on the board from 20 yards in will open up space for Zach Miller in the red zone as well.
Back to the play of the game.
Williams showed great focus, concentration and hands in hauling in a behind the head grab.
I will find a clip of that catch and post it in the diary section. If you missed it, you will have to see it. Here is a photo:
If you click on the link on this page for video, you can see the play. For some reason I cannot read it on my computer.
It concluded a drive that was 6 minutes and 50 seconds and left Arizona with only 32 first half ticks left.
I haven't really gone into the defense yet, so I'll touch on that now.
Although Quentin Moses did not register a sack or a stop for a loss, his presence was HUGE on two key plays.
The first was on the first play from scrimmage when he put heavy pressure on "Prima Donna", Matt Leinart, and forced him to make a quick and poor throw.
The second play was a game changer. He pushed the O-Lineman right into the QB, Boyd, who then threw the ball directly into Hiram Eugene's hands. He just straight up bullied that O-Lineman.
Jay Richardson also showed why he may be THE sleeper of the draft. He surely did not play like a 5th round draft choice.
I have found it quite amusing that one J-Rich, of Warrior Fame, is out the door, just as the new J-Rich has come to town. I guess "The Town" was not big enough for the both of them. I would equate Jay-Rich's sack of Boyd to a J-Rich Tomahawk Thunder dunks.
Jay Rich came up and over the O-Lineman and wrapped his big paws around Boyd's upper body and slammed him to the ground. He also led all defensive linemen with 3 solo tackles. Jay Richardson may be a serious beast this year and he is already endearing himself to this Raider fan.
Also, not to be overlooked was the tackling of second year player Ricky Brown out of Boston College. He led the team with 8 tackles and with such a thin depth chart at linebacker, he may provide us with insurance should one or two of them go down.
As far as the bad goes, it has to start with Chris Johnson. He got burnt twice on consecutive plays and missed a tackle that led to a touchdown.
Also bad was Hiram Eugene who should see Frampton pass him up on the depth chart.
Many will see that he had a touchdown off a pick and call me crazy, but that was a layup caused by Quentin Moses throwing a lineman into Boyd.
Hiram was invisible for the rest of the game and also blew the deep middle assignment on the same touchdown play that Chris Johnson gave up. It reminded me of AD, giving up that Sharpe touchdown against the Ravens years ago. Ouch, that one still hurts!
Then, there were definitely players such as my favorite underdog, BJ Ward, who are playing their ways into vital roles on special teams and the nickel/dime formations.
It was great to see Robb Ryan and Kirk Morrison pumping up BJ before he went and nearly decapitated an Arizona receiver.
I knew that he was fast and very athletic, but I did NOT know that the kid could lay the wood like that. That was SICK. Again, I will find a video of it and put it in the diary section.
Also his downing of Lechler's punt inside the 3 yard line is going to go a long way toward him making the 53 man roster.
The second half was difficult to track, but Culpepper showed flashes of his A-Game when he led naked bootlegs out to the right and fired the ball on the money to open receivers. He should have had at least 70 more passing yards, but Higgins and Will Buchanon dropped passes that hit them right in the numbers.
After seeing last night's game I can see that Lane will have a tough time choosing which quarterback will be starting against the Lions in 28 days.
The star of the second half has to be "Joe" Echemandu. At one point he carried the ball 6 straight times for 41 yards. He just kept moving the pile to chants of "Joe" from the Black Hole.
He has definitely earned some first team snaps this week.
Well, Raider Nation, it is only one game, but I have seen enough to know that this team is having fun again and the work they have done so far is showing itself on the playing field.
Let's Go Oakland!!!!