The Las Vegas Raiders took home a 17-16 victory over the Los Angeles Rams in the beautiful SoFi Stadium. Celebrating a victory is always fun, but glaring weaknesses need to be addressed and the Raiders should be no different. Here are four key takeaways from Saturday’s game.
It’s important not to get too high on a player during training camp and preseason games. Nevertheless, Hobbs is making it extremely difficult to maintain that disciplined approach. Is there something this man can not do while on a football field?
- Ballhawk âˆš
- Nickel blitz âˆš
- Play in the slot âˆš
- Play out wide âˆš
- Navigates traffic to play the screen âˆš
- Physical âˆš
He hasn’t been confirmed as a starter nor been guaranteed a roster spot, but one would be hard-pressed to find a brighter rookie star of training camp. When the pads came on, Hobbs came ready. While it might be a little early to fit him for a jacket of any color, what he could have left to do to earn the starting spot at a vacant position is beyond most.
Nathan Peterman’s respect
This isn’t about to become a ‘we love Peterman‘ post, but in terms of where he is now, versus what he was, it’s night and day. Working with tragic pass protection and receivers gaining inadequate separation, he has performed reasonably well. Yes, he’s thrown three interceptions this preseason, but two of those were induced by thunderous hits he took in mid-throw. Anyone who viewed the game against the Rams stands in amazement at Peterman’s toughness.
When Peterman’s name gets brought up, it forces one to reminisce on the beating he took as a Buffalo Bill. All of the turnovers he committed. Peterman was once a walking tackling dummy, but three years of head coach Jon Gruden’s tutelage has done wonders. Things have been different since joining the Raiders. Peterman has played nearly every snap this preseason and looked solid. He is learning to play quarterback all over again in a system much better suited to his talents. One where timing and execution are paired with a live arm, quick accurate decisions, and a willingness to run with the football. Peterman can execute this offense efficiently and can run, if necessary.
Offensive line depth
When your backup offensive line isn’t ready for the rigors of competing against NFL starters, things can go bad quickly on offense. The Rams backups blitzed the tackles relentlessly and were getting free runs and crushing hits on the quarterback. It was appalling to see just how cleanly the edge defenders were getting in the backfield and to the quarterback.
John Simpson had some good moments but still doesn’t appear to quite be ready for a major role in the NFL. Being the depth charted backup to Ritchie Incognito, who is already nursing another lower-body injury, make that a huge concern. Nick Martin looked like a fish out of water in this offense, like he’s just not quite suited to the style they play. The Houston Texans were primarily a zone running team under Bill O’Brien, but the Raiders utilize a combination of the two styles. Patrick Omameh simply ain’t it. If multiple starting offensive linemen go down to injury for any reason, it’s going to be a very long season on offense.
Defending mobile quarterbacks
Bryce Perkins tore up the Raiders’ defense no matter who they threw at him. His pocket presence was akin to having spidey senses, and whenever the defense succeeded in laying hands on him he escaped. Extending plays and forcing defenders zones to break down.
Getting guys on the ground was a major problem for the defense last season. While the pass rush has appeared much better against traditional pocket passers. Week 1of the regular season is against the Baltimore Ravens and the 2019 NFL MVP Lamar Jackson.
The Raiders face a plethora of mobile quarterbacks in not only the AFC, but every team in the West has one. If that is going to be a problem now, that doesn’t bode well for later.
*Top Photo: Las Vegas Review-Journal