Preseason Week 1 is in the books, with the Las Vegas Raiders defeating the Seattle Seahawks 20-7. The Raiders put on an impressive performance for their fans who were able to attend.
Every week, we will dive into the numbers and see what stood out using analytics and other measures. What was interesting from the Raiders victory?
Darius Philon and Clelin Ferrell created pressure.
Clelin Ferrell falling to the second team is one of the main stories out of training camp. Darius Philon, on the other hand, has the coaches buzzing about what he can add to the defensive line. Both players had great performances on Saturday.
Philon and Ferrell created three pressures each on limited pass-rush snaps(12 for Ferrell, 15 for Philon), according to PFF. Philon made his presence felt on the sack of Geno Smith when Nate Hobbs got pressure from the slot.
Ferrell didn’t have many highlights, but accumulated a hit and two hurries on the QB, even if it wasn’t against the starters. The former first-round pick struggling would have been concerning. He instead displayed why he was a starter before in this league by winning his matchups and generating pressure on the quarterback.
Andre James shines in pass protection.
The media has presented the Raiders offensive line as a train wreck before the season starts. Rodney Hudson's pedigree in the league is extremely high, and his trade has everyone worried about the outlook for 2021. Andre James’ performance Saturday might have eased a few of those thoughts.
James was the highest-graded offensive lineman in pass protection, according to PFF. He didn’t allow a single pressure on any of his pass-rush snaps when it seemed like Peterman was under pressure constantly early on. It was clear he has refined his technique with a good base and displayed his athleticism.
While it was the first preseason game, James' performance should have fans optimistic. If he can stack these performances in the regular season, the offensive line might be better than people think.
Young running backs shine.
With Jalen Richard out due to injury and Jon Gruden resting the starters, the younger running backs got a chance to shine. B.J. Emmons and Trey Ragas carried the Raiders offense to victory by dominating running the football.
Trey Regas with the nice gain on the zone lead. Simpson and Jones-Smith opening up the lane for Regas. pic.twitter.com/dpI3doj2sY— Marcus Johnson (@TheMarcJohnNFL) August 15, 2021
Emmons finished with 5.0 yards per carry and a touchdown. According to PFF, the former Alabama running back displayed his elusiveness, forcing four missed tackles on the day. Ragas got the bulk of the carries and finished with 3.3 yards after contact. He made it tough on linebackers in the second level keeping his legs moving and generating extra yards with the ball in his hand. The undrafted rookie fared well in pass protection, helping keep quarterback Nathan Peterman clean.
Emmons and Ragas were fighting for a spot on this team and made their presence clear. Jon Gruden might have a tough decision to make if these players continue to progress throughout the preseason.
Peterman vs. the Blitz
Peterman is one of Gruden’s favorite players and always finds a way to earn a roster spot. With Derek Carr sitting out and Mariota injured, he got the call giving the Raiders 80 snaps of action. He was his usual self in the preseason but put up great numbers versus the blitz.
The Seahawks sent five or more rushers 16 times last Saturday night, according to PFF. Peterman finished 10 for 11 with 106 yards and 9.6 YPA. It displays Peterman’s growth as a quarterback to dissect the field quickly with a young offensive line. He was able to continuously beat them through the air with accurate passes and quick decisions.
Peterman has listened to Gruden’s coaching and responded with good preseason execution. He shouldn’t put any pressure on Mariota for the backup job, but it was still lovely to see Peterman have a good night.