Sunday, August 28, 2016

Are Raiders Just Paper Tigers?

Carr & Cooper celebrate touchdown throw and catch

Oh Well, it was only a preseason game.  Seeing the Raiders lose to the Tennessee Titans yesterday was not the 2016 coming out party I expected at the Oakland Coliseum. Where was that upgraded defense I've been reading about? Were they allowed to tackle in training camp, because they sure weren't tackling like professionals yesterday. Is Titans second year first round number two pick, quarterback Marcus Mariota, that good or has the Raiders defense taken a huge step backwards with the retirement of veteran leader Charles Woodson?

I know I'm being hard on the defense but what I saw yesterday made me more cautious than optimistic about the Raiders defense, the silver & black unit most heavily invested in during the off season. The starting unit had a few good stops, but it's those broken plays, out of position misses and beaten d'backs that sit fresh in my mind. CB David Amerson seemed to be the only reliable defensive back on the field for the Raiders. All others were suspect to allowing completed passes on a regular basis. 

#29 David Amerson breaking up a pass

I saw the Raiders defensive line pressure early, with a nice knockdown of Mariota on a completed pass, but the QB always seemed to have oogles of time to pick and choose receivers to throw to. Maybe that's why the Raiders defensive backs had such a bad day, due to the little if any pressure up front. And did Khalil Mack even play? I don't remember seeing the so-called future MVP. How about rookie safety Karl Joseph, didn't see that future monster out their either.

The starting offense showed that they have more than just one weapon and are just itching to let it all out in the regular season. Second year sensation WR Amari Cooper had a dazzling back of the end zone catch for a 29 yd touchdown. Michael Crabtree's lone 41 yd reception confirms he still has the best hands in the business.

There were some coughs & hiccups though by QB Derek Carr and company, but I do believe they were trying out a few new plays and personnel, like rookie RB DeAndre Washington.  Washington proved that he can make plays both running and catching the ball. He scored his first NFL touchdown on a six yard catch and run. Also, later in the game, he showed he could take a hit as a Titans linebacker laid a "welcome to the NFL" smackdown on him, causing a fumbled scoop and score for Tennessee. 

Backup QB Matt McGloin probably should of read the defense better and never thrown the ball on that play, but you gotta hold onto the pigskin rook. Both backup QB's McGloin and Connor Cook threw interceptions in the second half.

Undrafted rookie receiver Johnny Holton continues to make a case for being on the 53 man roster come the regular season (begins September 11th).  Holton showed good hands catching 3 passes for 54 yards, one of them a one-handed behind the defender back catch. K.J. Brent, another aspiring rookie WR, matched Holton's receiving stats, but Holton flashed that electric sprinter type speed on a reverse that gained the Raiders 14 yds and a first down. The kid can hoof it!

Raiders special teams looks improved. Pro Bowl Kicker Sea Bass Janikowski is back for year 17. RB Jalen Richard, wearing #46 and leaving fans asking "who was that guy?" looks to be a force running back kickoffs as well as lining up in the backfield on offense. 

If this, the third preseason game, is any indication of what to expect of the 2016 Raiders season, then I must warn silver & black fans to "fasten your seatbelts. It's gonna be a bumpy ride." I'm ready for some football; win lose or tie!

Final Score
Titans 27
Raiders 14

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