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Raiders preseason week 3 Ballers & Busters part two

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Moving on to the Busters for the Raiders in their 30-23 preseason week three loss to the Arizona Cardinals. To see the first part, click here.

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Busters

Austin Howard, J'Marcus Webb, Rodney Hudson, Gabe Jackson, Donald Penn

This was the entire first team offensive line Sunday (Howard replaced Menelik Watson in the first quarter). Don't think for a second I am just throwing a blanket over this group simply because of overall horrible offensive line play by the Raiders. I'm not. Each of these guys on several occasions contributed to the Raiders rushing for a total of one yard in the first half and Derek Carr seeing considerable pressure. Let's just go through it chronologically.

First drive: Webb was late on a pull to give up a tackle for loss, helping to keep the Raiders from capitalizing on a short field after an interception and instead settle for a field goal (a recurring theme).

Second drive: Menelik Watson ruptured his Achilles tendon which gave way to Austin Howard. More on that later.

Third drive: Jackson and Hudson couldn't hold their blocks and Latavius Murray was swarmed behind the line for a two yard loss.

Fourth drive: Webb whiffed on his block to give up a five-yard loss. Next play Webb and Jackson got crossed up to give up another tackle for loss. A few plays later, Howard gave up a pressure resulting in an incomplete pass. They would again settle for a field goal.

Fifth drive: Howard misses his block and Trent Richardson is tackled for a three-yard loss. And another field goal.

Sixth drive: Gabe Jackson misses a block to give up a tackle for loss on Marcel Reece. A few plays later, Howard is late getting over on a pull and Reece is stopped for minimal gain. The next play God only knows what Penn, Jackson, and Hudson were doing. They seemed completely out of sorts on a stunt play by the Cardinals and Murray was tackled in the backfield for a three-yard loss. Aaaaand another field goal.

Sixth drive: The final drive of the first half, which came on a short field after an interception. The Offensive line didn't make any glaring mistakes for once. But they still were stalled and had to settle for a field goal.

Seventh drive: First drive of the second half and Penn and Jackson gave up a run stuff for no gain on Roy Helu Jr. Later in the drive, Rodney Hudson was called for an illegal snap. The next play, Carr looked like the day of poor line play had him rattled and he threw a terrible pass that was returned 81 yards for a touchdown. That was pretty much the first team line's final act of this tragedy. Soon after, the 5 field goals they settled for all day proved not to be enough.

Derek Carr

With the way Carr looked in this game, I almost feel silly having talked recently about how sharp he has looked this training camp and preseason. His second pass of the day sailed over the head of Amari Cooper and out of bounds to go three-and-out to open the game on offense. His next pass was late to Michael Crabtree and was easily defended for another three-and-out. His next pass was well off target of a wide open Lee Smith on third and 12 for a third consecutive three-and-out. That was three of his first four passes that were off target and incomplete.

He finally connected on a pass down the middle to Mychal Rivera late in the first quarter. It was first first down of the game. It went for 18 yards on third and 16. Then the series ended with a high pass to Kenbrell Thompkins which he dropped and the Raiders settled for a field goal.

The next drive, Carr seemed to be putting it together. He threw a nice pass to Marcel Reece who picked up 41 yards and two plays later connected with Rivera for 9 yards. But again, the drive ended on an off target pass that sailed wide out of bounds where Thompkins couldn't quite get ahold of it. And another field goal.

The next drive ended when he threw to a well covered Amari Cooper, the next one ended when he overthrew an open Michael Crabtree in the end zone, and the last one before halftime featured an incompletion to a covered Crabtree, a miscommunication with Cooper, and a throw off his back foot that sailed out the back of the end zone. And we have the fifth field goal of the day.

And last, but absolutely not least, Carr's final drive ended with the first touchdown pass of the day. Unfortunately it was a touchdown pass to the other team. He pump faked low to Butler, who then went to get behind the defense and Carr threw a terrible, off-balance dud right to the defender who had open field to go 81 yards for the score. That's how Carr's day ended. Not an encouraging performance for him. Not. At. All.

Kenbrell Thompkins

This time last week, Thompkins was looking like a shoo in to make the roster. He has worked as the third receiver most of training camp and preseason and showed flashes of ability to be a steady contributor. All of that came crashing down in this game and may have been the deciding factor in his being among the first players cut.

Thompkins was targetd 7 times in this game and had one catch out it. While rarely were Carr's passes to him considered ‘on-target' Thompkins several times got his hands on the pass only to have it fall incomplete.

The first pass his way, he was unable to gain separation and catch up to Carr's pass. His next pass came on third and 6 from the 15-yard line. Carr's pass was a bit high, but Thompkins had it full in his hands only to flat out drop it. That ended the drive. Thompkins' got his hands on one which he couldn't handle to end the next drive too.  Not a flat out drop like the one before, but still it hit his hands. And sometimes a receiver just has to make a play.

Thompkins' only catch came early in the third quarter. It went for 7 yards on third and six and he stretched over the first down marker to get it. Nice play that shows why he was even on the roster. Then he has another flat drop on a Ponder pass early in the third quarter and can't get his hands around a McGloin pass on the goal line. And the coaches had seen enough. Snip, snip.

DJ Hayden

A few drives into this game, I started thinking 'Hm, Hayden seems to be having a decent game'. But that soon changed. Starting early in the second quarter, Hayden was initially flagged for pass interference in the end zone, but the flag was picked up because it was deemed an uncatchable ball. Doesn't change the fact that Hayden interfered, it just means he escaped being penalized for it.

Later in the second quarter, he was called for an illegal block in the back on a punt return. Then on the final drive of the first half, he put his man in a headlock up the right sideline and was called for illegal hands to the face which was declined. His final drive of the game, he gave up an 8-yard catch, a 5-yard catch, and was called for pass interference which put the Cardinals at the 13-yard line. They would score the go ahead touchdown two plays later. In case you weren't counting, that was four flags on Hayden, one which he escaped with a technicality. Not the disciplined football Del Rio is looking for.

Editor's note: I somehow missed Hayden as a Buster initially and therefore am adding him late.

Ray-Ray Armstrong

Armstrong has got to be one of the most aggravating players in football. He's so hot and cold. He has the talent, but all too often shows a complete lack of discipline. The game started off well for Ray Ray. He had a couple of run stuffs, one for a loss. Then things went off the rails.

He missed a tackle on a dump pass that resulted in a 16-yard gain late in the first half. He was called for illegal contact on third and nine late in the third quarter, but it was declined because he also gave up the catch for the first down. Later on that same drive, he missed a tackle for a 5-yard catch on third and two. Two plays later, Curtis Lofton had the stop, but Ray Ray was called for being offsides. The Cardinals would score the go-ahead touchdown on the next play.

Ben Heeney

That go-ahead touchdown came on the first play of the fourth quarter which was the first play of the game for the second team defense. Heeney was completely turned around on the play to give up an easy touchdown on a wheel route to the running back. The second play of the next drive, he was caught up in the wash to give up a 6-yard run. The Raiders were able to answer and tie up the game at 23-23. Then on the Cardinals' final touchdown drive, he missed the key tackle on a big catch and run that went for 16 yards to just get the first down.

Brandian Ross

He had three missed tackles in three drives. The first was on his second play in the game on a run that went for five yards. His second and third missed tackles came on the Cardinals' game-winning touchdown drive. One in which he and Taylor Mays both went for the tackle on the tight end and Ross didn't wrap up, instead bouncing off him to give up a 38-yard catch and run. The other came a few plays later on third and 4 and Ross peeled off the runner for an 11-yard touchdown run.

See the Ballers