The day the Raiders have been waiting for was here. The Rams were in the house and they were finally going to test themselves against a world class team. One of the storylines of the first part of Raiders’ camp is how great Tyrell Williams and Derek Carr look.
Then they faced the Rams aaaand not so much.
Right from the first snap, Carr went to the well, sending Williams deep and putting the ball in the air for him. And there was Aqib Talib to pick it off.
Talib knows Carr well. Carr has had to face him at least once per season in his five-year career. The first four were as a member of the rival broncos, which means usually he faced him twice. Last year as a member of the Rams. Carr didn’t fool the All Pro and five-time Pro Bowler.
“The first play I jacked the ball up really to set the tone and you hope to come down with it and they make the play,” said Carr. “That kind of stuff is going to happen. It’s not alarming to anyone in the meeting room but there are stuff that we need to correct off the film and need to do better.”
Needless to say, Carr was not able to set the tone early. Talib snatched away that tone like it was a gold chain around Michael Crabtree’s neck.
As it happens, on the final play of scrimmages, Carr and Williams would try again to hook up on a bomb. This time Williams got behind Nickell Roby-Coleman and Carr found him... but he dropped it.
Those two plays bookended a lackluster day for an offense which is still without top target Antonio Brown and number one tight end Darren Waller.
“We got a couple guys that are out, but that’s next guy up,” Carr said. “When that happens we got to have our best guys be our best guys. That gets tough when people are taking them away in practice and things like that. Definitely that will be a recurring theme in every practice.”
For the defense’s part, there were some positive signs. Though not many.
Rams starting quarterback Jared Goff carved them up for the most part. There were only a handful of passes defensed from the Raiders. One came from Johnathan Abram on a deep shot for tight end Gerald Everett. Another was Gareon Conley who knocked down a deep shot up the right sideline for tight end Tyler Higbee. Defensive backs making plays on tight ends isn’t really a great accomplishment. Even though for the Raiders it might be.
Lamarcus Joyner made a play against his former team. Goff stood in the pocket so long, the play would have been over long before that, so it wouldn’t have counted anyway, but Joyner didn’t give up on it. He stuck with Brandin Cooks the whole way and when Goff tried to connect with his speedy receiver, Joyner knocked it down Then stood and smiled at Cooks as if to say ‘remember me?’
And that was about it for the positives.
Two of the biggest plays of the day for the Rams, the Raiders were so out of position, it was impossible to tell who was supposed to be there. Both resulted in wide open catches and long touchdowns up the left sideline.
Trayvon Mullen gave up a long catch to Michael Thomas, Curtis Riley gave up a touchdown catch at the right pylon to Robert Woods, Karl Joseph gave up a touchdown in the back of the end zone to Gerald Everett — though that was a brilliant throw by Goff —, Gareon Conley gave up a long catch on a slant to Robert Woods, and Nicholas Morrow gave up a long catch and run to tight end Johnny Mundt.
Despite the struggles, Abram thinks they did some good things.
“Pretty much that we can play with anybody,” Abram said of what they showed today. “That’s one thing I’ll say is we can play with anybody. If we can go against one of the best offenses in the league and go out there and compete the way we did, then we can compete with anybody.”
There were plays the Raiders defenders made, but most were with Blake Bortles in at quarterback.
The Raiders secondary is supposed to be much improved this season. Though no one really expects them to be able to go blow for blow with one of the top offenses in the league, you hope they would have made more plays.
One more day to make corrections on both sides of the ball and come out of this feeling better about themselves.
Defensive play of the day
Tahir Whitehead and Erik Harris were both flying around making plays.
Whitehead came up to make the stop on Brandin Cooks for a loss on an end around. Then a few plays later he was there to chase down Malolm Brown on a run that was stretched out wide.
Harris had a play where he came around the edge to make a stop on a run play. Another play he blitzed up the gut and got his hands up to bat down a Bortles pass attempt. And he broke up a pass from Bortles to tight end Gerald Everett in the back left corner of the end zone.
Catch of the day
Not much to report here. The best play probable came on a bubble screen to Hunter Renfrow which he took and streaked up the sideline for about 25 yards.
Antonio Brown (feet), Darren Waller (shoulder), Gabe Wright (knee), Eddie Vanderdoes (concussion). PUP: Denzelle Good (back). NFI: Keith Smith (knee).