If there’s one word that describes the Raiders’ first preseason game, it would be: Boring. If there’s two: Really Boring. But, really, any synonym of sloppy would perfectly describe the Raiders’ performance against the Dallas Cowboys.
Mediocre? See: “Poor.”
Lackluster? Well, Terrelle Pryor had some nice runs, but Yes! A thousand times, Yes!
Anyway, you get the point. Sure, you can argue that the preseason is meaningless. But keep in mind it is the score that is meaningless, not the play. Though there are handfuls of players who show well in the preseason, only to fade during games that count, there are also those whose preseason performance vaults them into prominence and playing time.
Denarius Moore’s first game included 71 all-purpose yards. Antonio Brown dominated the competition last season. Victor Cruz did so two seasons ago. As did Matt Forte the season prior. So before arguing about the meaninglessness of the Raiders’ performance on Monday night, do acknowledge that individual play matters.
So who faired well?
The first player that comes to mind is Rod Streater. The undrafted rookie out of Temple caught six passes for 66 yards–just 13 less than his total as a senior.
Head coach Dennis Allen has described Streater as “really impressive,” noting Streater’s “caught the ball extremely well. He’s run very good routes. He knows how to get open. He’s been explosive as a receiver.”
Streater certainly showed those traits against Dallas. Of course, the Cowboys have arguably the worst secondary in the league, averaging a DVOA of 14.0% against primary receivers and 53.3% against secondary receivers (Reminder: DVOA means the higher the number, the worse the unit). So Streater could have simply been exploiting a poor defense. But it would be unfair to discount his performance as such. He appeared to be a smooth and fluid receiver, both in routes and in receptions.
The defensive line also showed well. Running back DeMarco Murray was consistently stuffed, and Tommy Kelly and Lamar Houston were able to get good pressure on quarterback Tony Romo. As in Streater’s case, the Dallas offensive line is in shambles, but the Raiders’ line did what they were supposed to do: Dominate the trenches.
I also thought the coaching staff had a good showing as well. Sure, the Raiders performance in general left much to be desired. But it was the first preseason game for a team which has completely revamped its organization, including its offensive and defensive philosophies. Still, despite the players lack of familiarity with the coaching and system, they didn’t have a classic Raiders’ game. Which is to say, the penalties and dumb mistakes were minimal. In fact, the Raiders gave up just 37 penalty yards.
Who didn’t look so well?
The special teams unit was particularly dreadful. In total, the unit missed two field goals and muffed at least two punts.
At wide receiver, Jacoby Ford hardly looked like the game-changer he was at times last season. He muffed a punt and dropped two Carson Palmer passes. Juron Criner, who dropped an easy Matt Leinart pass, had a forgettable game as well.
The second and third string offensive line units looked lost at times, which is surprising given that the offensive line has been a strength for this team in the past.
Demarcus Van Dyke played poorly, despite the stellar camp. I’m still pretty high on Van Dyke given his performance last year in limited chances.
Why East Bay Sports Guy?
For those of you who follow this blog, you’ll notice that my name is changed — in two forms actually.
First, in keeping with the “Sports Guy” theme, I’ve taken the moniker “East Bay Sports Guy.” I just moved to the East Bay — Oakland, to be exact. It’s a quaint area. I guess the locals call the neighborhood I live in: “The Ghetto.” Pretty cute, huh? So, given that the BASG focuses on 49ers, Giants, and Warriors, I have taken it upon myself to focus on the East Bay sports, most notably the Oakland Raiders. I’ll try to stay abreast on the A’s, but the team makes it difficult for locals to follow (that is, they won’t give us media access). We are currently trying to get credentialed for Raiders’ games. It hasn’t been a successful endeavor thus far, but I’m hopeful that we’ll get access. If we do, as with the Giants, Warriors, and 49ers games, we’ll provide video/audio/whatever else we can get our hands on.
Also, I am no longer going by “Scott Warfe.” Since I’ll be teaching at local communities colleges, I thought it best to separate the two. Instead, I’ll go with my first and middle name: “Scott Preston.” If you’d like, you can still call me “Warfe.” It’ll be our little secret.
Questions? Comments? Know a way to get us credentialed by the Raiders? Tweet me @ScottEBSG.