It's good to be back with the first Ballers & Busters of 2015. It's now when I remind everyone that B&B was born in the preseason back in 2008 as a way of giving notice to those players who stood out and put together some good tape in their bid to either move up the depth chart or simply make the squad.
The Raiders spaced out the work fairly evenly by quarter for many of the players, giving each unit a good amount of time to show what they could do. With 90 players and nearly all of them hitting the field, this week's B&B is always a bit long. Here are the standouts both in the positive and the negative.
Even in the preseason, he comes out making plays. In just two drives on the field, he made a bigger impact than many players do over four quarters. After the Rams went up 3-0 on their opening drive, they brought the first team back out to try and add to that total. Mack was a major factor in stopping them in their tracks. First he bull rushed the right tackle right into Nick Foles to force and incompletion. Then on third down, he was held on his and still managed to get to the quarterback, though there was an offsetting penalty so the offense got to replay the down. The result was the same, but this time it was Mack with the bull rush which closed down the left side allowing Shelby Harris to shoot in from the right side for the sack. On the final play of the first quarter, Mack's last snap of the game, he stuffed a run for a one yard gain. Presence felt. Have a seat, Mr Mack.
As he is known to do in the preseason, Matt McGloin was dealing. He had a nearly perfect game, completing 10 of 11 passes for 104 yards and a touchdown with no interceptions in just two drives. That gave him a passer rating of 136.4.
'McMoxie' came in the game to begin the third quarter with the Raiders up 9-3 and led the team on a scoring drive. He threw for 57 yards on that drive which included a 17-yard completion to Seth Roberts on third and 9, and a 9-yard pass to Gabe Holmes in which McGloin surveyed the field, stepped up on the pocket and delivered the ball on target across the middle. The drive stalled on a run stuff in short yardage and the Raiders settled for a 39-yard field goal.
His second drive he completed an 18-yard pass to Seth Roberts and three to Brice Butler, the last one for a 16-yard touchdown. McGloin was the only Raiders quarterback to lead the Raiders to scores on both of his drives.
He entered in the second quarter with the second team offense and had a 16-yard catch up the right sideline from Chrisitan Ponder which helped set up the team's first touchdown of the day. Early in the third quarter he caught a pass on a bubble screen and took it for 11 yards as the Raiders drove for a field goal. Then there was the aforementioned three catches for 25 yards including a 16-yard touchdown. It was the Raiders' final points of the game which means Butler contributed to drives for 15 of the team's 18 points on the day. He led the team with 6 catches for 57 yards and a TD.
Dude was everywhere. He entered the game on the first play of the second quarter and made his first tackle on the next play. Later in that same drive, Rams QB Case Keenum was flushed from the pocket and ran out left, but Heeney showcases his speed and chased Keenum down, knocking him out of bounds where Keenum tried unsuccessfully to leap the bench only to do a header. Heeney was credited with the sack at the line and the drive ended on the next play. The defense took the field one more time before the half and the drive stalled when Heeney made the tackle on third down, short of the first down marker.
The next defensive play for the Raiders came early in the third quarter. On that play Heeney teamed up for a tackle for a loss of two on a run. In total he had four tackles on the drive alone and finished the day as the team's leading tackler with 8 (6 solo) with a sack and a QB hurry. Great debut for this young linebacker.
He came into the game in the third quarter. On the first Rams drive there were two tackles for loss and both of them were caused by a pressure from Lumpkin. The first was for a loss of two on a run which Lumpkin disrupted and allowed Larry Asante and Ben Heeney to team up for the stop. Near the end of that same drive, Lumpkin got pressure again to disrupt a run play, and Benson Mayowa swooped in to make the tackle for a one yard loss.
Not only did Mayowa make that tackle for loss in the run game, but on the previous drive, he was the one putting the pressure on quarterback Case Keenum and hit him. Keenum was just able to get the ball away, but it was to no avail as his only option was the running back who was tackled immediately for a five-yard loss.
He made possibly the biggest defensive play of the game. The Rams were in scoring position after their first two plays thanks to a 26-yard catch and run and then a 35-yard bubble screen to Tavon Austin. Then two plays later, on third and 4 from the 13-yard line, Nick Foles went for Jared Cook in the left side of the end zone, and there was Carrie step for step with him, facing the ball to defend it. In reality, Cook pushed off on Carrie two times (uncalled) and Carrie still held his position. On the following drive he has tight coverage to allow pressure on the QB and force an incomplete pass. Carrie gave up just one catch in the game for 8 yards.
Had four passes thrown his way and caught all four of them for 42 yards. He came in with the third team in the third quarter and had the first catch of the drive. Two plays later, in third and nine, he caught a 17-yard pass from Matt McGloin to keep the drive alive which led to a field goal. His next play came on special teams when on the ensuring kickoff, he made the tackle on the return to stop the return man at the 14 yard line. His longest gain came on the final play of the third quarter when he caught a pass from Matt McGloin for an 18-yard gain. It was the longest play on a drive that resulted in the team's final touchdown. On the team's next drive, he caught a pass at the line, made a nifty move to shake a tackler and took it for nine yards.
Seeing action on the first two drives before he and Derek Carr were both pulled in favor of Trent Richardson and Christian Ponder, Murray carried the ball six times for 35 yards for a 5.8 yards per carry average. On his second carry, he took it up the middle for 17 yards. He added an 8-yard run and a 4-yard run on his next drive. At that pace, he would have had about 140 yards over a full game.
Christian Ponder - Ponder drove the Raiders for a touchdown on his first drive, including a perfect pass across the middle to Clive Walford for a 22-yard gain to set up the score which was a 5-yard pitch and catch to Andre Holmes. His day ended with an interception as well as the Raiders were running out of time and he threw one in the air as time expired. The Raiders were up 9-3 heading into the half.
D.J. Hayden - After he and Woodson let the tight end get between them for the first catch of the game, he held his own and was not tested. Jack Del Rio mentioned him after the game as a guy who gets a lot of scrutiny for being a top pick and that he thought he played well.
Justin Ellis - Had a run stuff on the first drive and would have had a sack on the second drive had it not been wiped out by offsetting penalties.
Keith McGill - Didn't give up any catches and had good coverage on an incompletion to end the Rams third drive. Also had a couple tackles.
Rodney Hudson, J'Marcus Webb -- Both played clean games in pass protection and laid key blocks on runs.
Leon Orr - Orr started the Rams first drive of the fourth quarter with a tackle for a loss of 4 yards. A few plays later, on a hard sack by Josh Shirley, it was Orr who was right in the QB's face with his arms up to give him no place to throw.
All of the top three quarterbacks moved the ball down the field well. Carr looked very sharp early on, although he was unable to punch it in the endzone. His first drive ended while trying to force a ball to a covered Michael Crabtree and it was knocked down. The Raiders settled for a field goal on his first drive. His second and final drive ended with an interception in the endzone due to what was called a miscommunication between he and Amari Cooper. Carr finished going 6 for 9 for 43 yards and an interception. He had a QB rating of just 38.0, but as this is preseason, some things can't be graded the same way.
Derek Carr made a point to get Cooper the ball early and often, with all three of his catches coming on the opening drive. It was that fourth pass that was thrown to him that didn't work out so well. Carr and Del Rio said it was a miscommunication and based on Carr's usual "I'm always going to put it on me", that means the miscommunication was Cooper ran the wrong route. At first view it appeared Carr just tried to force the ball in a tight window in double coverage, but upon further review, it appeared as if Cooper was supposed to cut his route inside and didn't. The ball was picked off easily for a touchback and the Raiders' first team was held out of the end zone because of it.
He made two tackles for loss in this game. One came on a screen pass and the other on a run. He also held the edge on a third tackle for loss on a run. He plays up at the line against the run very well. But his coverage skills are considerably lacking. He gave up four catches in the game for a total of 31 yards. He also had a missed tackle that resulted in a 6-yard run.
With just two training camp practices under his belt after missing the first nine days of camp with an injury, Walford looked pretty good. The 22-yard catch from Ponder was his biggest play. It set the Raiders up at the 8-yard line and three plays later, they were in the end zone to take their first lead of the game at 9-3. He also had a 6-yard catch on the same drive. But while his one catch helped lead to a score, his holding penalty negated a 10-yard completion and cost the Raiders a chance to score again before halftime.