The Ballers have been recognized. Now we continue to the second part this week's Ballers & Busters which has the Raiders' poor performances in their 10-6 loss to the Vikings in their preseason opener.
Cordarelle Patterson had his way with Brown. On the opening drive, Patterson caught two long passes on him. The first one he was open for a 17-yard gain. The second catch Brown was tight on him and he still pulled it in for an eight-yard catch on third and seven. The Vikings would drive for a touchdown to open the game. On the next Vikings possession, the Raiders looked to have them stopped with a three and out when Chimdi Chekwa knocked the Matt Cassel pass down incomplete. But Brown was called for holding on the play and the drive was kept alive. The Vikings would drive into scoring position and add a field goal for a 10-0 lead early. That was the end of Brown's day. For what it's worth, he looks better in practice. We'll see how he looks this week in the scrimmage with the Cowboys in Oxnard.
He was in the game for 41 snaps (59%) and had one tackle. That tackle was on a catch he gave up. That catch given up happened on his second play of the game. Later he missed a tackle in a ten-yard catch and run on third and nine. A couple plays later, he was easily blocked out of the way on a run play that set up a third and inches. Later in the third quarter he gave up a 17-yard catch. The Raiders hope they got at least a good special teamer out of him. His defense needs a lot of work.
Before the first snap of the game, things were not looking good. Watson jumped for a false start and the Raiders began in the all too familiar 1st and 15. It took the Raiders nearly the entire first quarter to get their first first down. And right after that, Watson gave up a sack on Schaub. The Raiders just can't have nice things.
Matt Schaub, Andre Holmes, Mychal Rivera
These three just couldn't get on the same page. The first series of the game showcased to miscommunications with Schaub and Holmes. Both passes to him were back shoulder throws, and Holmes didn't come back to the ball either time. The second one ended the first drive. Rivera also had two passes thrown his way and couldn't come up with either one. Both of those incompletions ended the Raiders next two drives. One was a flat out drop by Rivera, the other was behind him from Schaub and he couldn't come up with it. This is the starting quarterback, wide receiver, and tight end for this team. Not a good start.
Speaking of a case of the dropsies; Greg Little. He too had two passes thrown to him and zero receptions. Derek Carr's first pass attempt to a wide receiver was to Little. He had the pass go right through his hands and bounce off his facemask. Doesn't get much more on-target than that. Then in the third quarter, he dropped another one, this time on third down to end a drive. Anyone still wonder why the Browns cut him?
In the competition between him and Kevin Boothe for the backup center/guard position, Bergstrom didn't help his cause in this game. In a short span of time between the third and fourth quarter, Bergstrom was called for a false start, gave up a run stuff, and had another false start, this time on third down.
He is to be the Raiders primary blocking tight end. So, it doesn't speak well that on his first play of the game, he had to grab a defender's facemask to keep from getting beaten. The penalty called back a 7-yard run by Maurice Jones-Drew and the Raiders started their second-straight drive in the hole. And again, couldn't make it up. Later in the first half, he went on a shallow crossing route on third and two but the route was a bit too shallow and he picked up just one yard, forcing a punt. On another play, the Raider went with a bubble screen to the left. Leonhardt went about his route and it was unclear whether he was supposed to be dragging defenders with him or blocking (blocking would have been better). Neither happened and it resulted in a tackle for loss.
Let's just make it a tight end trifecta here. Murphy saw one pass in this game. That one pass should have been a touchdown from Matt McGloin, but Murphy watched it bounce right off his hands. Call it nerves if you will but I call it Buster. He's got to catch those if he is to have any shot of making this team.