Connor Cook, EJ Manuel
Last week Connor Cook came out of nowhere to have a fine performance against the Lions. This week (and his camp practices) make last week look like a fluke. Cook and Manuel switched out by quarter, with Cook playing the first and third and Manuel playing the fourth. And both were so bad, they share this top Buster spot.
Cook’s first quarter was a wreck. He went 4 for 7 for 15 yards. His only completion to a wide receiver was to Johnny Holton for a loss of two. He missed Griff Whalen in the middle of the field on third down for the second three-and-out, then threw two high in short yardage for Keon Hatcher to start out the third three-and-out. On this next series, he missed Ryan Switzer over the middle, then tried to throw with a defender having driven the tackle right into him and fumbled the ball. The fumble ruling was questionable, but it was a terrible decision to step into his lineman and try and throw right into the defender’s arms.
Manuel came in for the second quarter and played only slightly better. He went 5 for 6 for 43 yards. Most of that came on a throw to a wide open Jalen Richard in yardage that picked up 29 yards. He too wasn’t hitting receivers much. His only completion to a receiver was also Holton for four yards. And just like Cook, his quarter ended with a fumble as he tried to squeeze through a gap for a scramble and lost the ball.
Cook’s issues continued in the third. He was nearly intercepted on his first series. Then he threw incomplete behind Saeed Blacknall on a cross. Like Manuel, he had one big completion. It was to a wide open Paul Butler for 24 yards. The Raiders would score on that drive, but it was almost solely on the legs of Chris Warren.
Manuel was back for the fourth quarter and, like Cook, would lead the Raiders to a score. Also, like Cook, that drive was courtesy of Warren. That drive ended with a field goal because Manuel threw behind Marcell Ateman on third and 7.
He got the ball back in scoring range after the Cowser interception. Then he was saved by some nifty moves from Griff Whalen to reach back and make a one-handed grab for the score. The final drive, he made his best throw on a crossing route to Ateman for 25 yards. But it was for nothing because then he overthrew Griff Whalen on a deep ball and then didn’t call out the blitz and was sacked.
As bad as Cook was, Feliciano didn’t do him any favors. The first snap of the game flew over Cook’s head. It was actually only because of a good leap by Cook that the result was just a 10-yard loss. Had he not knocked it down, it may have been a defensive touchdown.
Feliciano was unkind to Manuel as well, giving up a sack up the middle on Manuel in the second quarter. Two plays later Manuel fumbled, still trying to make up the lost yardage.
And finally, when the Raiders did get in the end zone, they went for two and it was doomed from the start because of a botched snap between Feliciano and Cook.
The first time we heard Brown’s name, he was being flagged for holding. It set the Raiders back to start their third drive and led to a third straight three-and-out. The next time we heard his name, he was again being flagged for holding. He also gave up a hit on the running back in the backfield and his one target was a drop.
Perhaps I’m being too hard on Joseph, but when you’re one of the few expected starters in the game and you’re going against all backups, you should be outstanding. And he just wasn’t.
On the third series, Joseph was late stepping up into coverage to give up a 17-yard catch. It was the first first down of the game for either team. A few plays later, in third and four, Joseph gave up a 9-yard catch. It was the first third down conversion for either team. It also put the Rams in field goal range. To his credit, he did have a pass defended. It was on his final play of the game. He played a total of 20 snaps.
Mario Edwards Jr
Edwards is in a competition for playing time, mostly with rookies Maurice Hurst and PJ Hall. And while he had more snaps (23) in the game than either Hurst (19) or Hall (16), he had less impact. In fact, he had basically no impact at all. Edwards didn’t record a single stat. I don’t even recall a time he did something that led to someone else making a play. I just have him getting run by a couple times. Meanwhile Hurst had a sack and a run stop and Hall had a pressure and a tackle. In 38 preseason snaps, Edwards’s only stat is one tackle.
He saw three targets and had no catches. One of those targets could have been a deep touchdown, but he completely misplayed it, slowing down as if it were going to be a back shoulder jump ball only to have the ball sail over his head. Hatcher’s only contribution in the game was a block in the back penalty on a punt return. Ryan Switzer made a nice spin move to escape the oncoming tackler, but it wouldn’t matter. The Raiders would start that drive from their own 6-yard-line.