Sunday, August 20, 2006
The Battle That Wasn't
We came to the Oakland Coliseum expecting a Bay Area Football Battle. We left after witnessing two Oakland Raiders merciful kneeldowns to end the game in convincing victory.
The Raiders dominated the 49ers in all phases of a 23-7 win. Quarterback Aaron Brooks looked much better in his leadership performance today. He threw to his tight ends and running backs finally and he scrambled more. Quarterback Andrew Walter looked sharper as well. Watching the youngster play makes you want to just fast forward the deveolpment clock and see what he'll accomplish with experience.
Pass protection was improved, however I'm not sold on Lamont Jordan. To me he seems to dance to often when running, which is fine if you can shake defenders, but Lamont tends to get baked more than he shakes. He seems to always run toward defenders instead of around or away from them. He looks like a power runner trying to be a finesse runner. On the other hand I was very very impressed with the second string runners. RB Justin Fargas looked healthy and ran well, but the one that really impressed me was #42 ReShard Lee. Lee ran just the opposite of how Jordan ran. Lee followed his blockers, always moving forward, showed power, speed and finesse and looked like a tackler away from breaking a run wide open. The Raiders would be foolish not to give this newcomer a shot at running with the starting lineup. He might be the one to take over Zack Crockett's position. Sorry Zack, but I'd like seeing Lee and Jordan in the backfield with you relieving one or the other.
Wide Receiver Alvis Whitted and Doug Gabriel were active and looked good. Again, tight ends were effective. Randy Moss and Aaron Brooks haven't quite jelled yet but are getting closer. I saw Jerry Porter sneak onto the field, run a sprint route downfield to runoff his defender, then return back to the sideline. If he did more in the game I was not aware.
The Raider Defense is still playing better than last season. However, they didn't pressure the quarterback as much as I'd like to have seen. Rookie cornerback Michael Huff showed his first round pick skillz with an interception and return that should have gone for a touchdown but for his cleats getting tangled in the arms of a 49er quarterback. Huff will learn how to let his blockers annihilate an opposing quarterback's attempt at tackling during an interception return. Huff will have more chances this season I'm sure.
And so the Oakland Raiders are 3-0 in this 2006 preseason so far. Nothing to get all excited about, but the fact that the team is tasting what victory feels like is "soup for the soul" as they say.
If you missed it, there was a nostalgic video short that spliced in the old Autumn Wind highlight with current players quoting parts of the poem throughout. Good Job Raiders Marketing or whoever's responsible. Mixing the old with the new seems to be this season's theme. Just Win Baby....Now!