The Las Vegas Raiders are back in action for the first time in 2021. The preseason is important for young players and fringe veterans trying to establish their status before the regular season.
There were both shining performances and a few lackluster ones in yesterday’s matchup against the Seattle Seahawks. Here are some winners, and losers, from Saturday’s tilt at Allegiant Stadium.
Despite not playing key starters like Derek Carr, Josh Jacobs, Darren Waller, Henry Ruggs III, and Kolton Miller, the Raiders controlled the game on offense. Jon Gruden’s West Coast Offense was on full display.
Nathan Peterman got the start and ran the offense. The Raiders ran a mix of plays that kept the Seahawks off-balance all night. Trey Ragas and BJ Emmons ran the ball with purpose. It just felt like the Raiders could get whatever they wanted regardless of personnel.
At one point, Peterman had 22 completions to 10 different receivers. They poured on 290 yards of offense in the first half alone.
While it was just preseason, the team showed the same command that led to their top-10 offense in 2020. You can’t help but get excited thinking about Kenyan Drake getting Ragas’ touches. Or, Darren Waller streaking over the middle instead of Dillon Stoner. The Raiders will not lack weapons in 2021.
If Gruden can dial-up plays as he did against Seattle, we may be in for another stint in the upper echelon of offenses in the NFL.
Trey Ragas ran the ball with purpose in the lead-back role. There will be a lot of competition for the third-string running back slot thanks to Jalen Richard’s injury and Theo Riddick’s retirement.
Ragas will get a lot of playing time in place of Josh Jacobs and Kenyan Drake this preseason. So far so good.
Special Mention: Nate Hobbs
The strip-sack of Geno Smith was vicious. It was the kind of play that was sorely missed last year. Hobbs has been turning heads in camp, the hype might just be real.
Red Zone Offense
The more things change, the more they stay the same. The offense was dominant between the 20’s just like last year. They stalled out in the red zone multiple times, just like last year.
Dominik Eberle had two field goals in the first half and the Raiders only cashed in on 1 out of 3 possessions in the red zone. There was a cluster of plays that blew up or had Peterman take a short read and flame out.
This was only one game, however. The coaching staff has talked all offseason bout the emphasis they placed on finishing the job inside the 10-yard line. This will be something to keep an eye on through the three preseason games. If Marcus Mariota’s leg heals up, there may be some more creative packages in store.
This is not to say that Clelin played poorly. He played great with his first-half playing time. He had a sack and made himself at home in the Seahawks’ backfield.
The problem is he was out there in the first place. In a game that saw key starters like Derek Carr, Josh Jacobs, Yanick Ngakoue, and Maxx Crosby held out from play, Ferrell got a lot of playing time.
There were questions in camp about his diminished role with the addition of Ngakoue. We got an early answer. Ferrell was the fourth overall pick. One would certainly like to see him on the sidelines letting the rookies and fringe players get their run.
As much attention as Carr has gotten for his need to perform, Ferrell will face similar pressure to live up to his billing as a top-five defensive pick tasked with leading a full-scale rebuild to a playoff team.
Special Mention: Dallin Leavitt
That was a spectacularly bad missed tackle in space leading to a Seattle touchdown. Arden Key would be proud.
*Top Photo: AP Photos/D. Ross Cameron