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Final score: Raiders 15, Dolphins 13

An instant review of the 3rd preseason game

Las Vegas Raiders v Miami Dolphins
Jarrett Stidham
Photo by Megan Briggs/Getty Images

The Las Vegas Raiders played their third preseason game, at the Miami Dolphins on Saturday night.

Let’s take a look at the key aspects of the game:

Records: The Raiders are 3-0. The Dolphins are 1-1.

What it means:

Las Vegas coach Josh McDaniels continued to be conservative with several starters being kept back in Nevada including their top stars. Players such as Derek Carr, Davante Adams, Darren Waller, Maxx Crosby and Chandler Jones have not played in the preseason and one would think they won’t play in the final preseason game next week. But the Raiders will practice with the New England Patriots this week before they host them Friday. So, that’s when we will see the Raiders’ frontline players get their pre-regular season work.

You can’t blame McDaniels for the approach. The preseason, for the Raiders, is about the backups and the roster-bubble players.

As has been the case, though, most of the Las Vegas top offensive linemen did play against the Dolphins as it did in the first two preseason games sans left tackle Kolton Miller, who hasn’t played.

The offensive line starting lineup Saturday shows that the competition is still great at both guard spots and at right tackle. Lester Cotton, John Simpson and Dylan Parham are in the mix at guard and Jermaine Eluemunor, Alex Leatherwood, Brandon Parker (who is injured) and Thayer Munford are all in the mix at right tackle. These battles are going to go down to the wire and, of course, the Raiders can always try add a veteran in the coming weeks.

Leatherwood, who played in the second half last week against Minnesota, struggled badly as the starter Saturday. He is clearly struggling in this new system. It’s quite disappointing considering he was the No. 17 overall pick a year ago. The new brass needs to figure out what they have to do with Leatherwood soon.

Simpson, a starter last season, has been starting in the preseason, but he entered in the second quarter against the Dolphins and Parham spelled Andre James. Parham, a third-round pick, has been playing a lot at center and guard this preseason.

Defensively, the Raiders faced a starting quarterback for the first time this summer as Miami’s played Tua Tagovailoa played some. However, most of Miami’s starters didn’t play. Like last week, the Raiders used mostly backups on defense as well.

Fourth-year safety Johnathan Abram continued to play and was moved around a lot. He will be floating a lot this season when he’s on the field.

Jarrett Stidham, who has the backup quarterback job essentially locked up, made some nice plays and Zamir White, who will have a role as a rookie, ran well and scored a touchdown on the Raiders’ first drive. The backup offense has moved the ball consistently this preseason.

Receiver DJ Turner, Keelan Cole and Tyron Johnson all made some plays and the Raiders may end up keeping six receivers on the 53-man roster.

Undrafted rookie linebacker Darien Butler made some nice plays and is making a big push for the 53-man roster along with fellow undrafted linebacker Luke Masterson.

Undrafted rookie cornerback Sam Webb continued to impress and made a big play late in the first half. He has a chance to make the team. Third-year cornerback Amik Robertson struggled some again. While he has been good in practices this summer, it hasn’t translated to games.

Pass-rusher Tashawn Bowers had a good game and he might make the roster.

This was the Raiders’ third straight cleanly played game. They were penalized just twice and have been yellow flagged just 12 times in thee games and Las Vegas has not committed a turnover in three games. They are being very well coached and it is showing up on game day. That’s a great sign.

Turning point:

The Raiders kicked a late field goal and the defense held on to improve McDaniels to 3-0 this preseason.

Injury report:

Newly signed pass-rusher Jordan Jenkins went down in the second quarter, grabbing his knee and he had to be helped off the field. Masterson went down in the second quarter on a special teams play.

What’s next:

The Raiders play their fourth and final preseason game at home against the New England Patriots next Saturday. Kickoff is 5:15 p.m. PT.