Football is finally back, Raider Nation, and while yes, it’s just preseason, there’s still plenty to dissect. With that being said, here’s what the team at RaiderRamble.com had to say regarding the action. Enjoy the quick hits.
My biggest takeaway from the first preseason contest was the performance of the Front 7 on defense. This defensive line is legit. PJ Hall and Maurice Hurst will give opposing QBs headaches all season long. The revamped linebacking corps has some upside. Lots of experience between Tahir Whitehead and Derrick Johnson, also Marquel Lee appears to be coming along nicely.
In today’s pass-first NFL, Jon Gruden seemed to implement his classic ground-and-pound offense seamlessly in the Raiders first preseason game against the Lions. I know it was just a brief display of the potential these backs carry but let’s get ready, Raider Nation. Classic, rugged Raider football is back.
Overall the biggest take away was seeing the fluidity in playcalling from Jon Gruden. The concepts were basic but they made sense and flowed together well. That series where the Raiders used the same backfield motion on 3 consecutive plays and had big outcomes on all 3 is a great example.
My initial thought on the 2018 preseason opener was the energy throughout the atmosphere. Both sides of the ball worked soundly most of the night, not to mention Eddy Pinero’s stellar debut. All in all, Gruden’s first time in the black hole in 17 years was a success.
It was encouraging to see Connor Cook step up in the No. 2 spot; hopefully, this continues. For the defense, Antonio Hamilton and Nick Nelson looked superb, while P.J. Hall was a force on the line. Also, I’ve got to give Eddy Pinero a shout out, two field goals from the dirt in his debut!
This revamped Raiders staff showed no restraint with their play calling. Gruden called a mix of bootlegs, play action, and pre-snap motion. Guenther dialed up multiple blitzes and stunts and showed he wasn’t afraid to reveal a few of his tricks. All in all, this looked like a team that was finally ready.
What Raider Nation saw on Friday night from third-year QB Connor Cook is a revelation to many. I boil it down to having coaches Jon Gruden and Greg Olson having the belief and teaching style that meshes well with Cook. That was the first preseason game and consistency will tell us if Cook is indeed on his way to becoming a legit backup.
What was most evident Friday night for the Raiders was how quarterback Connor Cook has progressed, and how safety Shalom Luani should stick to tackling dummies. No way can he expect to be making the team with play like that.
More than anything, Friday was a clear sign of hope from what had been a nervous organization. Gruden and co. had the team looking composed and the young talent seems to have gotten better. The next step is week-to-week growth for a coach and staff with huge expectations and tons of pressure.