What are we able to glean from the Oakland Raiders’ preseason opener?
Final score aside, head coach Jack Del Rio’s merry band of marauders — well, those that played — gave coaches and fans alike plenty to pilfer over.
“The major things I was interested in seeing — I can’t wait to see the film — is what we did at linebacker and what we did on special teams,” Del Rio said postgame. “There’s so many decisions to make to replace guys like Darren Bates and (Brynden) Trawick and Andre Holmes. Those guys were impact players on special teams. We’ll dig this tape and find out guys who can help us.”
Let’s get to the Quick Slants, shall we?
- We must remember: It’s only one preseason game. No need to get exponentially high or low on the performances.
- Defensive tackle Treyvon Hester brought camp performance to in-game setting for two sacks. While linebacker LaTroy Lewis opened eyes with a pair of QB takedowns himself. Rookies need to keep bringing it.
- Safety Karl Joseph didn’t hesitate when he charged the line of scrimmage and stonewalled running backs. Expect more of that as season progresses.
- Defensive tackle Eddie Vanderdoes looks more and more like his early UCLA-self. That’s a great thing for the Raiders. Bad for opponents.
- Linebacker Corey James looks very comfortable at weakside linebacker. Free agent addition and presumed starting WLB Jelani Jenkins needs to get healthy and step up with the quickness.
- Rookie middle linebacker Marquel Lee showed he can cover. While he won’t ever be confused for a stride-for-stride coverage type, he was more nimble than I thought.
- Here’s a thought: Both James and Lee were blitz-type LBs in college. Imagine those two rushing behind Vanderdoes, Justin Ellis, Khalil Mack, et al.
- Rookie safety Shalom Luani had a knack for being around the ball in college. Camp and preseason proving that hasn’t gone away.
- Quarterback E.J. Manuel appears to be in the driver seat to back up Derek Carr. The reclamation QB showed accuracy that evaded him as a Buffalo Bill.
- Cornerback Sean Smith … Quite honestly, what more needs to be sai d that hasn’t already?
Quote of Note:
“There are some things I know we can clean up on the back end. We are working on that. The communication is better. I think there is more technique being played, but this is the first time under the lights in game conditions against an offense that was maybe doing a couple new things, which was perfect for us. It will be a great learning experience for all our guys in the back end, including Sean.” — Jack Del Rio on Raiders secondary’s performance