Welcome back to class!
It’s been a long break off, but there were flashes of brilliance at show during the Oakland Raiders preseason opener versus the Dallas Cowboys.
Mr. Thomas’ report card:
The Raiders had their way with the ball (which we don’t get to say too often anymore) converting 8 of 16 third-down attempts and winning the time of possession. None of the four quarterbacks laid an egg, and undrafted rookie Matt McGloin impressed the most with the two biggest aerial gains for the club both to Brice Butler in the third quarter.
The offensive line stood out in particular with the rebooted power-blocking scheme on display. The unit showed strong leverage when running which second-string running back Rashad Jennings utilized. They also gave up only two sacks and rarely blew blitz assignments. Grade: A-
Nothing to go home and brag about, but considering the atrociousness of the group last season, any progress has to be accepted.
The unit produced only one coverage sack (which is a concern when you’re unable to exploit Dallas’ porous offensive line depth) and allowed the Cowboys to complete half their third-down tries, but the defense stepped up when needed most. At cornerback, ex-half back Taiwan Jones didn’t embarrass himself, and the continually-improving Phillip Adams led the team with four solo tackles. Grade: B-
Sebastian Janikowski was his usual self going 2-2 on field goals, and Eddy Carmona nailed two as well (although his 46-yard miss in the fourth quarter was almost very costly). Oakland’s kickoff and punt coverage was great, and Marquette King booted what looked like an effortless 50-yard punt inside the Dallas 20 that was dropped by B.W. Webb. Somewhere Shane Lechler was proud. Grade: A-
It was the first contest for a roster with the makeup of an expansion franchise, so anything less than a 0-28 loss would’ve been seen as a victory by the coaching staff. The Raiders stuck to a limited playbook and executed it, and most importantly the players had fun. The win was a best-case scenario.
Photo Credit: Raiders.com